Everyone has weeks where you check off everything on your to-do list with pleasure—and weeks where you’d really rather be anywhere but at work. A little daydreaming never hurt anyone.
It’s totally normal for employees to face dips in motivation, but it becomes a problem when your colleagues are consistently disengaged. That’s why we gathered some great tips from experts on how to motivate your employees, day in and day out.
These tips aren’t specific to any industry, and most of them are either low or no cost. They can be applied in small establishments, franchises, startups, and Fortune 500 companies.
Here are 5 Simple Ways to Increase Motivation in the Workplace
1. Recognize great work
One of the most important factors that contribute to employee motivation is how often their hard work gets recognized. 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve massively with increased recognition from managers. After all, if an employee produces exceptional results but their hard work isn’t recognized, why would they continue to be a high-performing employee?
Bonus points: there are other surprising benefits of employee recognition including improved working relationships, employee engagement, retention, and even empathy.
It’s not just important to recognize great work. How you recognize your team’s contributions has a significant impact. Employee recognition shouldn’t just be an annual bonus at the end of the year—it should be meaningfully and frequently given.
2. Set small, measurable goals
We’ve all had projects that just drag on and on, and seem to never end. It can be demoralizing to be stuck in a rut, which is why seeing how you’ve made visible progress feels so good. It’s also a clear indicator that our work is making a difference.
We met with Walter Chen, co-founder of iDoneThis, who shared some great insights into the importance of clear goal-setting and tracking progress. You can check out full the interview here.
Setting clear, achievable goals provides a real boost of motivation each time one is conquered—and it keeps teams on the right track. You can magnify these effects by taking the next step and celebrating those achievements.
3. Celebrate results
Part of what makes setting small and measurable goals so important is that it provides plenty of opportunities to celebrate your team’s hard work.
This doesn’t mean you need to give a standing ovation to every employee who made it to work on time—but it is crucial to let everyone know exactly how (and how much) each of their contributions moves the organization forward.
Be specific in your applause. Don’t just tell Marie “good job.” Don’t even stop at “great job on the new email campaign!” Applaud her success and when you do, tie her to the greater picture. For example: “Great job on that new email campaign—it’s going to really grow our community and nurture our customer pipeline.”
4. Take regular breaks
Banging your head against a problem for three hours is rarely productive. Stepping back and taking a moment to recalibrate isn’t just helpful in staying motivated—it’s also important to your health.
Stepping back and taking a moment to refresh and recalibrate isn’t just helpful in staying motivated, it’s also important to your health.
Sitting all day isn’t good for you, and neither is working nonstop. Taking a short break every hour or two can have a positive effect on both your mind and body, especially for remote workers. Don’t forget to get up from your desk and grab some fresh air!
Get up, stretch your legs, rest your eyes, and come back to work with a refreshed mind and body.
5. Practice and promote mindfulness
Taking time out of your day to slow down and practice mindfulness might sound like it would negatively impact productivity, but in many cases, the opposite is true.
Many of us work in jobs where stress is a matter of course, but as the Harvard Business Review staff explains in their article Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity, “Stress is not a function of events; it’s a function of the view you take of events.”
Embracing mindfulness at work can improve productivity and motivation by providing the perspective we need to see that.
Bravo, you made it through the list!
The truth is, employee recognition doesn’t always have to be top-down in order to be motivating.
When you empower everyone on your team or in your organization to give each other frequent, timely, visible, specific, inclusive, and values-oriented recognition, those sparks of motivation can come from anywhere.