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What can you do to motivate employees?

Motivated staff are more profitable for businesses. They're happier and more satisfied in their roles, and are able to come up with innovative ideas, connect with clients, and be more productive.

Motivated employees are also key to retaining talent. Employee experience is everything in the age of The Great Resignation. Motivation is the incentive we all need to get ready for work every day. It’s normal for workers to have dips in motivation, but it becomes a problem when staff are consistently disengaged.

Nowadays, employers need to recognise employee motivators to get the best work out of them and decrease staff turnover.

What is motivation?

Former U.S President Einsenhower explained motivation as, “the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”

Abraham Maslow founded the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ in 1943, and it is often applied to the workplace to identify how to motivate staff and ensure their needs are met.

  • A new starter, or recent graduate may focus on physiological needs such as income.
  • Once these needs are met, the employee will move on to social needs before moving on to growth needs.

 Revisiting Maslow’s theory of motivation can be helpful as workplaces continue to adapt and adjust in a post-Covid19 world.

Do you know what motivates your employees?

You can't truly motivate your teams unless you understand their core values and drivers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee motivation. People are individuals, and they are not all motivated by the same needs. It requires conversation and investment of time by line managers.

Organisations can understand what broadly drives employees through surveys, polls, quizzes, and company workshops. Data can then help to form the basis of reward and recognition schemes.

Motivational challenges

There is a lot of variability among employee motivations. Motivations vary by generational gaps, genders, cultural differences, career path and other influencers. Managers need to consider employees as individuals but HR departments and businesses can identify key workplace motivators.  

Main motivators

Capitalising on the main motivators will enable staff to be motivated, passionate and loyal to the business. These include:


Companies with poor employee communications suffer low levels of employee motivation and engagement. Employees who are not informed are difficult to motivate.


Salary for an employee is often a validation of their status and qualifications, together with work they have put into their previous roles. Glassdoor research (prior to the recent increase in the cost of living) shows that 79% of employees would prefer additional benefits as opposed to a pay increase.


A healthy company culture aids motivation and creates a sense of belonging. Does your company promote collaboration, teamwork and transparency?

Diversity and Inclusion

An inclusive company is important for making everyone feel comfortable being their true, authentic selves. The more diverse and inclusive your business is, the less afraid your employees will be to share their perspectives.

Learning and development (L&D)

By upskilling staff, you’re showing them that they matter to the company, that you see their potential and that there is room for career progression. Research from LinkedIn in 2019 showed that 94% of employees said they would stay at their companies longer if their employers took an active role in their L&D.

Meaningful work

If you want staff to be self-motivated, offer them more responsibility with meaningful work.

This is important to keep motivation high as meaningful work alleviates boredom and repetitiveness.


Teamwork can empower employees to share opinions and innovative ideas. Teamwork can improve employee retention as employees enjoy a sense of belonging to the organisation they work for. Good work friendships aid motivation and retention. A Gallup poll in 2018 revealed that 63% of women who had a work friend were over twice as likely to be engaged during work.

Reward and recognition

A business should promote or give recognition to workers based on their performance. Rewards and recognition programmes should be based on something an employee values.

A simple thank you

It seems obvious, but praising employees for their achievements is one of the best motivators.

Hybrid and remote worker challenges

With hybrid and remote work now the norm in many businesses, HR departments and managers need to be mindful that some employees can feel isolated and lack motivation. This can even hit those who have opted to work this way. How do you keep employees who are working away from the office motivated?

The opportunity for new starters

Once a new hire has joined, your efforts to keep them engaged are vital. This includes:

  • Providing structured training programmes to ensure skills are constantly developing
  • Undertaking regular performance reviews (these can be annual, bi-annual or more frequent)
  • Give clarity around career progression
  • Set an opportunity to review remuneration.

Without this type of platform that gives greater visibility to an employee’s career path or earnings, it can drive individuals to other companies and even competitors with more defined frameworks in place.

Recognise the varied motivations of your employees

We all know that everyone has different motivations for working and will join or leave a business for a variety of reasons. A company that can understand this and avoid treating everyone in the same way will have higher tenures than others.

If you’re looking to recruit and need guidance or advice on areas such as salary, benefits, reward and recognition, speak to us at Meraki Talent.

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