Whatever be the size or type of an organization, one of the biggest and most enduring challenges that  managers face is getting their team to do their best work. Why do people do what they do, and how do you influence them - these are puzzles that can be traced back to centuries. From Aristotle to Abraham Maslow, Sigmund Freud to Adam Smith, many thinkers and psychologists have spent a lifetime of effort in understanding human behavior.

Global Gallup polls confirm that about 70 percent of employees are not “involved, enthusiastic, or committed to their work.

People are happier and productive, and do their best work when the work environment meets their basic emotional drives – to acquire, bond, comprehend and defend. And most of the time, organizations and managers are in a position to satisfy these deep emotional needs.

For example, the drive to acquire can be fulfilled with the help of a good reward and recognition system that values good performance. The drive to bond can be fulfilled by building and encouraging a culture of communication, collaboration and openness. The drive to comprehend can be fulfilled by providing opportunities for employees to learn through challenging projects and meaningful assignments. And finally, the drive to defend can be fulfilled by making processes (for hiring, performance management, project allocation, etc.) fair, transparent and trustworthy.

In this article, we take a deeper look at how you can improve employee motivation in the workplace with simple, practical, yet often overlooked drivers that have a huge impact on organizational growth and harmony.

How to Improve Motivation in the Workplace?

Every team, employee and manager have certain days when they don’t feel motivated. However, understanding how to improve motivation in the workplace is not a herculean task anymore and I have  listed below a few fantastic employee motivation ideas.

Reduce Anonymity

51% of US workers say they get a sense of identity from their job.

Human beings are social collaborators. Employees tend to perform better and be the best version of themselves when they are provided opportunities to collaborate and derive individual identity from their work. Establishing a direct connection between customers and employees enhances the customer-employee relationship, and also motivates employees and increases satisfaction.

Connect employees to a larger purpose

“When you help others feel important, you help yourself feel important too.” – David J. Schwartz, Author and Motivational Speaker

People do their best work when they understand why they are doing something rather than just what they are doing. While most organizations and business leaders spend a considerable amount of time communicating the larger purpose through vision and mission statements and reiterating them in conferences and workshops, they seldom succeed in reinforcing them to the bottom line.

Let your employees know how their role impacts the growth of the organization and how the little things they do every day are significant in the larger scheme of things. Most companies wish to do it, but only a few of them succeed.

Meaningfulness of the job was identified as the third most important employee engagement driver by 76% of respondents to SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report:

Be Transparent and Fair

“I love my job and work extra hard because I am treated poorly at my workplace” – said no one ever.  

A number of organizations spend a lot of time and effort in coming up with creative employee motivation ideas. However, employees are often motivated or demotivated by simple things like fairness, dignity, transparency, and trust. A range of factors like – how they feel about the work they do in the workplace, how they think about their salary and compensation when compared to others in the industry, what they think about the processes in the organization, how respected they feel around their colleagues and managers, etc., influence employees to determine how fair and transparent the organization is.

One thing that all leaders and managers should be mindful of is the fact that employees are constantly comparing their work situations with that of others and it’s very easy for them to feel “this isn’t fair”. That is why it's extremely crucial to set clear expectations, be transparent in their processes, and be fair to all employees.

A platform like Empuls helps organizations set up processes around – employee feedback, surveys, rewards and recognition, etc., driving a strong sense of fairness and transparency amongst employees.

Collect and Share Feedback

Did you know, 4/10 workers are actively disengaged when they receive little or no feedback.

Feedback is an important aspect of employee motivation. While receiving timely and adequate feedback helps employees to understand whether or not they are meeting organizational expectations, sharing regular feedback on various aspects makes them feel like their voice is heard and valued in the organization. Both collecting and sharing feedback are crucial to drive employee motivation.

Implementing a platform like Empuls can help organizations make the feedback process easy and simple.

Welcome New Ideas

“In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” ~ Charles Darwin

No one knows a workplace better than the people who work there. When looking for fresh, creative ideas to improve the organization, the place to look for is within. When you seek ideas from your employees, they feel invested and it automatically drives motivation.

It is important to create an environment where employees feel safe and comfortable to share their thoughts and ideas. And that is where Empuls can help. A platform like Empuls lets you create interest groups and discussion forums on the social intranet platform, which can be used to collect employee ideas from across the organization. Empuls helps organizations build a knowledge base that helps create a better workplace.

Provide Learning Opportunities

Did you know, a long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from a 4,300 worker sample, 74% felt that they weren't achieving their full potential at work due to the lack of development opportunities.

Learning and development are the most important drivers of employee engagement and motivation. Employees thrive when provided with learning opportunities to keep up with the swift, demanding and dynamic business environment and stay up to date with their skills.

While it’s important to encourage employees to learn new skills, it’s also equally important to motivate them by providing opportunities to apply what they have learnt through challenging projects and work assignments.

Encourage Workplace Friendships

A research by Harvard Business Review, showed that employees who have workplace friends are 7 times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.

Having friends at work not only aids in your personal happiness, but also plays a huge role in advancing one’s career. A survey by job site Comparably found that from over 33,000 workers across the tech industry, more than half of them report having best friends at work. But why are workplace friendships so important?

Human beings thrive on social bonding and relationships. Work friendships make employees feel safe no matter the situation at work, and helps them perform better in their jobs. Happiness expert and Fortune 500 adviser Annie McKee says “Connecting with people boosts our mood and our morale, and friendships provide us with the emotional and psychological strength to deal with whatever comes our way — whether it's an exciting opportunity, a challenge or a crisis,”

Empuls’ powerful social intranet helps employees across the organization connect, collaborate, engage and celebrate with one another – providing employees with a strong platform to build workplace friendships. The platform lets you hang-out with your workplace buddies by creating groups and forums to discuss and collaborate on similar interests. Not just that, the social media like interactions with a host of emojis helps make conversations and the whole experience fun.

Reward, Recognize and Celebrate Good Work

When you look for employee motivation ideas on the web or elsewhere, rewards and recognition are the terms that you will probably find as a part of every list. That is because of how important it is to motivate employees.

According to a Psychometrics study, when employees were asked what leaders could do more to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “give recognition.”

There are several ways of recognizing and rewarding an employee’s hardwork and efforts – and there are some that are more effective than others. While most organizations give away annual bonuses, incentives and awards, they fail to create an impact. What works best for today’s workforce is smaller, more frequent and instant gratification through rewards that consistently keeps them motivated.

A platform like Empuls lets you instantly recognise and reward employees for their great work and keep them motivated. Additionally, the platform lets you announce and celebrate an employee’s achievements – big and small – across the organization, boosting the their morale. With Empuls, the rewards are not just top-down, but it can be bottom-up or peer-to-peer, engaging everyone in the organization.

Keep it Simple, Make it Fun

Don’t make your workplace too serious to handle. After all, we all know that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Try to lighten up the workplace with some fun activities, outings, contests, fun polls, etc. Let your employees enjoy the time at work which in turn boosts their morale and productivity.

In Conclusion

Although these are some of the most common and widely applied ways to improve employee motivation, it is important for every organization to analyze their engagement and motivation drivers that stem from unique organizational cultures. Implementing employee motivation software can help design and build motivation strategies that are true to your organization's DNA and drivers.

Empuls, #1 Employee Motivation Software

Empuls is one of the best employee motivation software that is built to suit organizations of all sizes. The all-in-one platform offers a number of features that satisfy all the basic motivational drivers (acquire, bond, comprehend & depend) like Rewards & Recognition, Pulse Surveys, eNPS surveys, 1-on-1 Feedback, Social Intranet and People Analytics in one powerful solution. Trusted by 1000+ brands across the globe, Empuls helps organizations build high-performing teams that are aligned to organizational culture and values.