Proven Motivational Techniques

Keeping your employees motivated and empowered is often an ongoing duty of any manager. The effort it may take at time is typically worth it, with highly motivated employees contributing to greater productivity, higher levels of morale, and

Even the very best employee will need an extra boost of encouragement at some point during their employment. Taking last week’s post on determining what motivates your “stuck” employees one step further, it is important for managers to be familiar with the countless proven motivational techniques that help to not only encourage them to not only pull themselves out of the occasional rut, but maintain a certain level of engagement and productivity.

Allow Employees to Exert Control Over Their Work

Often a manager’s great fear is losing control, but employees feel more respected when they are given an opportunity to call some of the shots relating to their job. Managers need to learn how to delegate responsibility. The more responsibility you can successfully give to an employee, the more loyal and motivated that employee will become.

Track or Measure Employee Performance

Let your employees know what you will be tracking or inspecting and always follow through. If you fail to inspect, you will lose the respect of the employees by delivering false promises. Most managers are not aware that they are being carefully scrutinized by their employees and need to constantly reinforce exactly what message they want to send to their employees.

Praise Excellence Publicly and Privately

Recognition is free. If you will salute genuinely good work, employees will be motivated to repeat the excellence. It is almost impossible to overdo praise, as long as it is genuine and the work praised was indeed outstanding.

Respond Promptly to an Employee’s Valid Complaints and Make Sensible Proposals

Nothing discourages feedback or communication quicker than failing to promptly respond to legitimate complaints and sensible ideas. If you want to motivate employees to come up with ideas for improving the workplace, then you will need to respond in a timely and respectful manner and let them know that you appreciate any information given.

Provide Opportunities to Learn and Grow Both Personally and Professionally

Many employees will respond well to an opportunity to obtain training. Use training and other learning opportunities as incentives for fine work. Select your most diligent or outstanding employees to attend outside seminars and conferences where they can pick up new job skills and spend time mentoring a dedicated employee for an hour or two a week as a reward for excellent performance.

Demonstrate How an Employee’s Performance Impacts the Company’s Profitability

Often employees are motivated by seeing how their specific job impacts the profits of the organization. The more you can demystify the innards of your business and help your employees to track the way profits are made, the more they will tie their job to the bottom line performance.

Appeal to an Employee’s Pride

When pay, praise, and promises don’t work, sometimes it is necessary to appeal to the pride of an employee. Many employees take great pride in their personal work and how what they produce benefits the company. If you make them feel truly valued and indispensable, they’ll continue to produce high quality work that is worthwhile and important.

Motivating “Unmotivatables”

We’ve all had to deal with them, the “Unmotivatables.” Those employees who do the absolute minimum and are unenthusiastic about their job and duties. Dealing with Unmotivatables is bound to happen at some point, and as a manager it is imperative to learn what makes your “stuck” employees tick to determine what encourages them to do a good job. Every employee is different. Here are some factors that may be the key in making your unmotivated employees encouraged and engaged.


Some employees are goal-oriented and enjoy challenges that will sharpen their skills. You can often load these people with several short and long-term goals simultaneously. Motivate them by constantly introducing new tasks that build upon the ones they are currently working on.


These employees want influence and control, need to feel important, and like being in the spotlight.  They express an interest in leadership roles and are highly motivated by special privileges or perks. Treat these employees like in-house experts and frequently ask them for advice (within reason). They will instantly be motivated because they savor the chance to offer information.


Easily motivated, this group wants to feel a sense of camaraderie. Allow them to build rapport with their coworkers. Create meetings where they can collaborate and share ideas, rather than just sit and listen to a lecture. If you satisfy their need for affiliation, they will give you a solid effort.


If you attempt to manage an employee who seeks autonomy and strongly values their independence too closely, you’ll kill their desire to excel. The best way to connect with what motivates these freedom seekers is to give them overriding goals and let them find the best way to get the results.


Some some employees simply want a little respect. If you listen to them, they’ll feel more motivated.  You need to give them full attention while listening, or they will feel disrespected. They love to hear praise and feedback on their performance and have a deep need for esteem. Give it to them and they will be motivated.


Everyone likes a fair, unbiased boss, but some individuals see the world as either black or white. They weigh and measure everything to make sure everyone is treated the same. They will pick up on inconsistencies and decisions that appear to vary from previous occasions. Approach them as if you were a lawyer and give them objective evidence to prove that you are fair and equitable.

Managerial Motivational Commitment

Last week we discussed the plethora of benefits in having highly motivated employees, including company loyalty, higher levels of productivity, and strong morale within your team. What can you as a manager do to ensure that your employees are highly motivated, possessing the drive to not only meet the standard expectations of their job, but the determination to truly excel in the workplace?

The most critical of managerial skills pertaining to motivation is the need to provide your employees with regular feedback rather than waiting for periodic employee reviews and evaluations. Employees need to hear from their manager frequently. A high percentage of morale problems, disciplinary actions, and employee turnovers could be eliminated just by providing a continual, informal feedback process.  If you don’t talk to your employees, they will begin to believe that you don’t like them or you are unhappy with their performance.

Never ask your employees to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself. Successful managers should be willing to do the same work as their subordinates, leading by example and proving to them that no task is beneath them. This builds a sense of camaraderie amongst your employees that is vital in establishing relationships built on mutual respect. Proving through actions that you’re willing to work in the trenches when it is crunch time will motivate them to do the same.

Finally, encourage your employees to talk with you about the good and bad aspects of their job. If they complain on occasion, don’t label them as malcontents and dismiss their comments. Listen and understand what bothers them before you judge. Your chance to shine as a manager will usually be preceded by a conversation that reveals problems that you are empowered to take positive action upon.  Be glad these employees are willing to share this with you and use these conversations as opportunities to encourage your employees to grow and excel.

What if your employees don’t want to excel and come to work unmotivated and only willing to do the bare minimum to skate by? Read along next week as we discuss how to pinpoint what motivates your “stuck” employees to determine what you can do to inspire them to do a good job.

Why Motivate?

Having motivated employees, employees who want to show up to work every day prepared to do their job to the very best of their abilities, is a primary goal of every manager and every organization. Unfortunately, this working situation is not always the case, and we are often left to deal with employees who perform mediocre work, don’t meet expectations, and seem to lack the ideal level of commitment to the organization.

There are many benefits to having highly motivated employees. Truly motivated employees are typically more loyal to their organization, possess higher levels of morale, and have improved overall relations and interactions with coworkers, vendors, clients and customers.

Additionally, organizations with highly motivated employees have lower turnover rates, lower levels of absenteeism, higher production rates, produce a higher quality of work, and contribute to the building and maintenance of a strong business reputation.

As a manager, ensuring the job satisfaction of your employees should always be one of the essential functions of your job. Now that you know some of the benefits of having highly motivated versus unmotivated employees, how do you get your employees engaged and excited to do their job?

Follow us this month as we discuss a variety of factors pertaining to motivation, including: Management Commitment (what you as a manager should be doing to keep your employees motivated and engaged), Dealing with “Unmotivatables” (learn what makes your “stuck” employees tick and determine what encourages them to do a good job), and Proven Motivational Techniques (learn ways to keep your employees motivated and empowered).