Motivating employees is the key to getting the maximum use out of their work time. Motivated employees perform well because they want to -- not because they will suffer some sort of pain if they don't. Motivated employees build stronger teams, inject more creativity into their jobs, and are easier to retain once they are fully trained and happy in their jobs.
Recognize and applaud your employees publicly for a job well done. This is free and can be done at any time. It is important to bestow praise on the spot when it is fresh on everyone's mind. You want to congratulate them now, not two months from now. The praise will be meaningful if it comes from any supervisor, but you can add meaning with recognition from a higher ranking executive -- this could amount to one phone call, but it could make a huge difference in an employee's job satisfaction and motivation.
Provide one-on-one coaching -- it may take time, but the results are your reward. Do this in public. When your employees see you working with the team, they know you care and the associate that is getting the one-on-one attention really knows you care. Be sure to give positive feedback as needed!
Training, whether it is performed in-house or through outside seminars, can help keep your employees refreshed and rejuvenated.
Make sure you know what your associates' career goals are and that you help them plan their career path. If you are able to promote within, this sends a powerful message to the employees. It means that you value their hard work and commitment to the company.
Make sure you have a good working environment. This can start with the simplest things, such as making sure all of your employees have a stapler or other work supplies they may need. As yourself this: is the environment a happy and welcoming one?
Give your employees leadership roles, such as a project to manage, so you can reward them for their performance and find out where your talent lies.
Create a team spirit This takes time, but is very rewarding. The goal is to get your employees to work as a group, by any means possible. Team-building exercises don't have to be directly work related. You could engage your employees and get them involved in fun contests or even in creating the contests.
Have theme contests -- this can involve many of your employees in the planning process, which will make them feel apart and it will be fun.
Have group social events where families can be involved. When you have events away from work, it builds the team spirit. You can do picnics or a Halloween Carnival. Some companies even have a softball team.
Use time off as a great motivator. This lets your employees know that their time is valuable and you appreciate them.