How to Motivate Employees at Work

Sometimes, motivating employees involves knowing what carrot to dangle.
Sometimes, motivating employees involves knowing what carrot to dangle. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Good managers know that the best way to get employees to perform well at work is to motivate them. While money can be a powerful motivator, keep in mind that not everyone wants or expects you to dangle a financial carrot. Some employees like a challenge or respond well to recognition of a job well done. Pay attention to your staff so you can determine what it will take to motivate your employees to ensure a happier, and therefore more productive, workplace.

Stay positive, enthusiastic and excited yourself. Your employees take cues from you, and they can pick up on whether you are frustrated, angry, worried or depressed. It is important to get people excited about success, and your employees should know you believe in them and the company.

Listen to your staff and invite input to find out what motivates each employee. Some employees might simply want to feel as though they are making a valuable contribution. Others might be interested in getting a raise or promotion or in having more of a say in how their department operates.

Recognize a job well done. In many instances, recognition is just as important as financial reward to an employee who spends so many hours of their life on the job. Some examples: Mention to the employee how much you appreciated his effort on a project, post an announcement in the company newsletter praising an employee or department, hold a special lunch out or celebration for a group that accomplished a particular goal.

Give a cash bonus or time off as a reward for accomplishing a goal. You could establish a standard quarterly or annual bonus for achieving certain performance metrics. Holding an occasional contest or competition can be a fun way to get your employees excited about producing again.

Provide training to help employees improve their skills or master new tasks. These boost confidence in your employees and can help motivate them to strive to achieve more in their jobs.

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