36 Phenomenal Employee Motivation Techniques for 2023!
Do you feel like you could be doing more to motivate your employees but find the lack of employee motivation techniques frustrating?
As a business owner or manager, would you like to inspire your staff to reach—or surpass—your business goals?
Oh boy, have you come to the right place!
The effective use of employee motivation techniques will give a massive boost to your organizational success.
Keep reading, and you will discover a plethora of phenomenal employee motivation strategies, many of which cost you nothing, and you can implement them instantly!
36 Phenomenal Employee Motivation Techniques
1. Recognize exemplary job performance
Employee recognition for a job well done is a massive motivator for elevated engagement and productivity. The more frequently you appreciate your employee’s performance, the more loyalty you will get in return.
Recognizing outstanding job performance creates emotional bonding and leads to higher employee retention.
And don’t think in terms of money. Appreciation can also be simple thank-you gestures, shout-outs, or non-cash rewards like a gift card or movie ticket.
2. Establish goals that push your team
The need to be successful is embedded in the human DNA.
Stretch goals target beyond your team’s current capability and are designed to be challenging to achieve.
However, stretch goals can motivate your team to succeed beyond their perceived limitations when carefully set.
Be mindful here not to over-stretch, though. Guard the fine line between big and too big. You don’t want to burn out your team.
3. Create measurable SMART goals
S.M.A.R.T. is a well-known framework and widely used tool to plan and achieve goals.
It stands for:
- Specific—a specified goal is helpful to visualize the outcome better
- Measurable—a goal needs to be measurable to know whether you achieved it
- Achievable—when a goal is attainable, it avoids driving on the road to failure
- Realistic—match goals with reality to make them more meaningful and possible
- Time-bound—setting a precise time frame is vital for tracking progress on the road to achieving the goals
Click here for a more extensive explanation and ways to implement this employee motivation strategy.
4. Emphasize intrinsic—not extrinsic—motivation
While money is a good motivator for many employees, it’s not a fundamental need for the human psyche.
Employee satisfaction, enjoyment, a sense of worth—intrinsic motivators are what drives most humans.
Employees who feel aligned with the purpose and core values of the organization have an easier time staying motivated because they know and feel they are making an impact.
5. Trust your team with autonomy
Most people don’t like to be micromanaged. Hence, giving them autonomy tends to work very well as a workplace motivator.
Employees with freedom of choice to perform their day-to-day tasks are generally happier and more committed to the overall result.
Setting one’s own schedule gives a sense of appreciation, and it significantly upgrades work-life balance.
6. Just ask them!
Prioritizing your workforce on an individual level may be essential for employee productivity.
Invest in building trust and get closer to finding out what really drives them.
Be genuine, show some vulnerability, and start asking questions. Find out what they like about their job, what their personal goals are, or what they love doing outside the workplace,
Here are some ways to get to know your employees better.
7. Gamify the workplace
Gamification can trigger positive emotions and will increase intrinsic motivation.
Think about gamification techniques such as personalized challenges, badges for hitting milestones, weekly wins, and throw in an incentive here and there.
8. Create a homey atmosphere
Work surroundings highly affect one’s mood and health.
Cold, colorless, meaningless office buildings do not contribute to motivating employees and increasing productivity. Creating a more residential, homey office design is a better choice.
Bring in the sofa’s, plants, soft color walls, and make it a place employees love to spend time in.
Another hit is to get an office dog. Petting a dog releases feel-good hormones and lowers stress. Top ingredients for a motivation boost!
9. Encourage friendly competition
While most humans are competitive at heart, not all appreciate a stress-increasing work element. So keeping it fun and casual will aid in greater employee engagement.
Create an entertaining, friendly competition with little to no chance of conflict. Highlight fair play, reward teams rather than individuals, and remind them it’s just a game.
10. Don’t pit employees against each other
Pitting employees against each other is not the way forward if you want to bring out the best traits in people.
Stop stirring the pot, avoid rivalry and focus on rewarding teams rather than individuals.
11. Share your vision for the company’s future
Sharing the company vision and showing them the bigger picture may ramp up your employees’ drive to reach that overall mutual goal.
Creating a company vision board is a great start. It’s a visual reminder of where the organization as a whole is going.
Invite them to add to the board, make them vision co-creators, and watch employee participation increase.
12. Remember, you were once an employee, too
Have you ever worked under a manager whose behavior you swore you would never copy?
Be the boss you would love working for!
Make the Golden Rule your work mantra, and never put yourself above your employees. Be kind, be thoughtful, and be human.
Remember where you came from and respect all employees, irrespective of their level on the corporate ladder.
13. Make employees shareholders
Not everyone feels like bending over backward in order only to fill the shareholder’s pockets.
Unless they become the shareholder.
Employee stock ownership gives direct access to the success of the organization. It generates a sense of partnership and the feeling that they will get back what they put in.
It’s a form of extrinsic motivation that can motivate employees and increase productivity.
14. Offer advancement opportunities
“I’m super happy in my dead-end job”—said no one ever.
When employees feel the need to better themselves in their field, be supportive and offer them the opportunity to do so, even with the risk of losing them to better-paid alternatives.
Offering advancement opportunities and empowering employees to pursue career growth prevent job dissatisfaction and demotivation.
15. Switch up mundane tasks
To avoid employee boredom and keep your workforce on their toes, give them new projects that are entirely different from their usual workload.
The brain loves novelty, displayed by the release of dopamine. Getting off the routine train for a while will be highly appreciated, and chances are they will return refreshed to their original task.
Switching up mundane tasks keeps the 9 to 5 inspiring and the employees motivated.
16. Change up the office location
Organizing a company retreat to recharge your employee’s batteries and revive creativity will undoubtedly bring renewed motivation to the work floor.
Whether you go glamping or book an all-inclusive doesn’t matter. It’s not about the destination or luxury, but all about spending time together outside the office cubicle.
And when mixing pleasure with work-related activities, such as brainstorm sessions, you have a win-win!
17. Express gratitude
One can easily mix up recognition and gratitude in a faulty manner.
While recognition puts focus on what people do (performance-based), gratitude is more about who they are as a person. Gratitude and appreciation are (verbal) tokens of affection.
Expressing gratitude builds trust and leads to more engagement and job satisfaction, which leads to increased motivation.
Here are a few ways to show gratitude.
18. Maintain transparency
Lack of transparency doesn’t show much trust and commitment towards your employees.
Leaving your people in the dark, or sugarcoating any current financial position, will not help solidify your long-term relationship.
Trust them with sensitive information and actual revenue figures-including losses.
Scary, yes, as sensitive information may leak out. But the benefits of a motivated employee still outweigh the risks.
19. Don’t let your employees go hangry
Did you notice more and more job openings mention healthy lunches, free drinks & snacks, and freshly ground coffee as part of the deal?
It’s a very popular office perk, not only to help sign up new talent but also to keep the current workforce fed, hydrated, and happy.
20. Send out those good vibes
Your vibes—good or bad—can be picked up by others without question. So be mindful of what you radiate. Any level of positivity will have a significant impact on anyone you meet.
As a manager, practice self-love and self-praise in a humble manner. Your staff will unquestionably pick up your positive vibes and radiation.
Human sunshine in the office brings happiness to the work floor. So lead by example!
21. Encourage micro breaks
Micro breaks to get coffee, a snack, a brisk walk outside, stretch or engage with colleagues all benefit in fighting off fatigue and staying energized.
Don’t pin your workers to their seats with only a few predetermined breaks.
Allow for regularly getting away from their desk as it helps raise energy, improves productivity, and clears the mind.
22. Keep your employees healthy
Sick leave generosity is a greater good.
Don’t make a fuss when employees stay home—the responsible choice—when they’re sick. In fact, you should encourage employees to sit one out.
A generous time-off policy allows for solid recovery and long-term stronger health.
And always keep the option open to discuss flexible scheduling or remote work for those who slowly want to build up their hours.
23. Share clear goals and objectives
In line with sharing the company’s greater vision, it’s equally important to share the smaller goals and objectives as a roadmap to success.
It can help uplift intrinsic motivation when employees understand the purpose of their hard work and how it contributes to the organization’s goals and objectives.
24. Make employees feel secure
Employees need psychological safety in the workplace.
As a manager, create a safe and inclusive work environment where people feel free to display their true selves.
Avoid blaming, put a stop to negativity, and build an atmosphere of trust.
Give your team a secure space to grow, and they will be motivated to reach their full potential.
25. Be mindful of your body language
Body language influences the way we feel. Walking with a straight back and your head held high will dramatically improve positivity not only in you but also in the people around you.
Lead by example and take on a power pose.
If you don’t see positive postures, change yours, to begin with, and watch your staff’s mirror neurons get to work.
26. Promote teamwork and collaboration
Two massive teamwork benefits are higher employee productivity and peak performance.
When you invest in fostering peer relationships on the work floor and colleagues become friends, it helps raise overall employee morale.
It’s like a support system where colleagues can share the job’s pleasures and difficulties and support each other when things get tough.
27. Make work-life balance a priority
Stress or even a burn-out never helped anyone in the workplace. A healthy work-life balance is a crucial element for a motivated workforce.
Millennials, in particular, prioritize a career path that supports a lifestyle outside the office.
Be flexible, promote taking vacations and paid time off, encourage remote working, and support the chance to control their own time.
28. Spend quality one-on-one time
You’re probably all for one-on-one time if you have children, right?
The same principles and advantages also apply to your employees. Scheduling quality time lets them know they’re valued and appreciated.
Genuinely listen to their words, suggestions, concerns, and problems.
Find out what they’re watching on Netflix or upcoming vacation plans. Ask about their pets.
You get the idea.
29. Get on board with wellness programs
Implementing a workplace wellness program is an investment with a good ROI.
A solid corporate wellness strategy can prevent sickness, fatigue, stress, and employee burnout.
Facilitate gym memberships, offer preventative health screenings, and implement a stress management program.
30. Make onboarding seamless
Give new employees a warm welcome by implementing an extensive and smooth onboarding process.
Here are a few ways to help your employees settle in:
- Send a welcome email
- Identify their needs and wishes
- Set up their workplace
- Assign a buddy on their first day or week
- Schedule a “meet-the-team” event
- Check-in regularly for at least the first few months
A warm welcome gives a sense of caring and appreciation. Vital for peak performance!
31. Matching swag-yes, go there
Don’t underestimate the power of matching branded swag.
Matching swag creates a sense of belonging and boosts team spirit. That feeling of camaraderie is powerful for workplace motivation.
Check out some more benefits here.
Think about t-shirts with their name, hoodies, hats, coffee mugs, etc.
It may sound silly, but try it out and watch the motivation-magic unfold.
32. Bring all your teams together
Let go of any strict decision-making hierarchy and bring in the power of cross-functional teaming.
This means that you bring together people with different functional expertise from other departments rather than separately working on the common goal.
Interdisciplinary teams can draw information from various sources, sharing ideas and information quickly and effectively, which leads to increased productivity and sales.
The benefits of this cross-team collaboration include a more motivated and engaged staff, improved problem-solving, and a sense of unity.
33. Make sure employees have resources
Good leadership is geared towards empowering your staff, presenting them the opportunity to grow in their job and beyond.
- Training opportunities—to strengthen their expertise and knowledge or gain new skills in other areas
- Employee development—ensure they grow personally and achieve more in the workplace with renewed motivation
- Mentoring programs—in this learning partnership, knowledge and skills transfer from a senior employee to newer or less experienced staff
34. Skip those yearly evaluations.
Pre-arranged evaluations on set intervals are time-consuming, not spontaneous, and relatively meaningless for day-to-day employee performance.
Switching to continuous feedback gives you the option to suggest improvements regularly and help them move forward more consistently.
Positive feedback leads to better communication, high employee engagement, plus you can review goals on a real-time basis.
35. Don’t forget about your remote workers
There’s a good chance these days that a part—if not all—of your staff works remotely, which means that team collaborations happen virtually.
By creating virtual support, you counteract remote isolation and give your remote employees a feeling of connection and appreciation.
36. All work and no play (you know how that ends)
Celebrating wins is a compelling motivator for both teams and individuals. It reinforces the meaning behind all the hard work done.
And it doesn’t have to be all fancy.
Simple gestures include organizing a team lunch, a weekly workday breakfast, or a Friday happy hour (woot woot!).
The next level could be taking the team to a conference in another city or state.
The bottom line is, take time out to have some fun and watch work motivation shoot through the roof.
Ready to Master Employee Motivation Techniques?
All of the above employee motivation techniques are designed to change behavior, progress competencies, and boost employee engagement.
Effectively motivating your employees may even give your business a competitive advantage.
Be the boss and mentor your employees rave about and motivate them to new heights of success—right now!