7 key factors that have been proven to motivate employees

According to years of research on motivation advancement, growth in the company together with interesting work are the two most important factors that motivate people to do a good job in the long run. Because people are different, of course there are others besides the ones mentioned. Below we have described 7 of those that have been proven to contribute to better motivation. In addition to each, there are tips on how you can include them in your practice.

1. Show interest in your employees and actively involve them.

As Wiley states, you need to express empathy and understand what motivates your employees. Frequent individual conversations are an effective approach to achieve this. However, especially in larger companies, here is where the problem arises. Due to the large number of employees, these conversations are time-consuming and difficult. As a result, surveys are used for this purpose to gain insight into the preferences of individuals.

Tip: Ask employees what excites them, what their goals and desires are. As human beings, we need a sense of belonging, but at the same time we want others to listen and respect us.

2. Provide all the resources and information employees need to do a good job.

It is important to create a pleasant environment in terms of employee relations, as well as in terms of the general order of the work environment. It can be a nicely decorated, clean office and enough natural light in the room, or for example reliable computer equipment. Moreover, remember to be transparent to your employees and keep them up to date with important information on a regular basis.

Tip: Instead of just telling your employees what problems you are facing in the company and what activities you are carrying out for future improvements, you should show them that. You can present the data graphically. In this way, you can clearly show your employees the current situation and next steps.

3. Emphasize praise and reduce criticism.

Renowned American psychologist Skinner has proven that an animal, which is rewarded for good behavior, learns much faster and also maintains and effectively uses what it has already learned than the animal that has been punished for bad behavior. Subsequent studies have shown that the same evidence can be attributed to humans. When criticisms are reduced and praise is emphasized, the good things people do will intensify even more, while the amount of mistakes they make will lessen just by not focusing on them too much.

Tip: When you notice a good behavior of an employee, sincerely praise this person and avoid unnecessary criticism to foster motivation to continue with the good work.

4. Enable work in which employees see meaning and purpose.

Herzberg’s theory of motivation determines that the most successful method of motivation is to incorporate challenges and opportunities for success into work. People are more happy to do work when they believe it has some meaning and purpose. You can achieve this by giving your employees the feeling that they are contributing to better results. Therefore, ask them for their tips for improvement and if their ideas are good, follow them.

Tip : Allow those who perform predominantly routine work to test themselves in something else. Also, if it is at all possible, afford to digitize and automate routine tasks.

5. Allow independence at work.

Allow employees to make their own decisions about how they can improve their work. In doing so, make sure to avoid direct commands. As Dale Carnegie argues in How to win friends and influence people: “Instead of telling the employee to do something, formulate questions like “What do you think about…?”, or suggestions like “That might be better…”. No one likes to take orders, which is why employees prefer to take on an assignment if they participate in taking it themselves.

Tip: You can consider gradually increasing the powers of employees. If possible, grant them permission to make decisions on their own (without management approval) and encourage them to think independently.

6. Create a positive work environment.

People feel best where positive energy prevails. Therefore, encourage a positive attitude and optimism among employees. It is also important to avoid unnecessary criticism, quarrels and complaints.

Tip: If you have some extra space in the office and it is not too expensive for you, you can for example consider a table tennis table, billiards or other similar games. These would encourage employees to spend time together and relax a bit while working.

7. Help employees develop new skills and give them a chance to grow.

Each of us has a desire to grow and to become better at something. As defined by Alderfer’s Theory of Needs (ERG), growth, with an emphasis on the desire to achieve and develop, is among one of the three key levels of needs. When this need is satisfied, we are proud of ourselves and motivated to achieve even better results.

Tip: Offer employees the type of work that will challenge them. Allow them to attend extra education and let them choose the one that best fits their abilities and desires.

Motivating employees requires time and thoughtful action. We need to be aware that people are very different from each other. Some may be motivated by a harsh word, others by a kind encouragement. Therefore, it is especially important that we approach motivation individually and identify the reasons for the lack of motivation.

With the quantifly tool, you can easily and quickly identify the key reasons why your employees lack motivation. The questionnaires are set up anonymously, so you can rest assured that employees will not want to share all the problems with you.

Carnegie, D. (2005). How to win friends and influence people. Cornerstone Publishing. Retrieved from https://images.kw.com/docs/2/1/2/212345/1285134779158_htwfaip.pdf
Wiley, C. (1997). What motivates employees according to over 40 years of motivation surveys. International Journal of Manpower, 18(3), 263-280. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235270159_What_Motivates_employees_according_to_over_40_years_of_motivation_surveys