Unser Blog

15. October 2021

How to successfully motivate employees

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
This quote from Aristotle describes quite well why it is so important that we are happy and satisfied with what we do. And this is not only our responsibility, but also that of our employers. Because the way we manage our employees has a big impact on their motivation. And let’s be honest, employees who enjoy their work and always give 100% are a dream for all managers, right?

But what exactly is behind the term “employee motivation”? On the one hand, this is understood to mean extrinsic motivation, incentives that come from outside. These can be rewards, bonuses or even the prospect of a promotion. On the other hand, there is intrinsic motivation, which is much more important. Here, the motivation comes from the employee him/herself, as he/she either enjoys the job or is motivated and encouraged by their superiors.

The trick is that employee motivation can be improved quite easily with a few measures. Of course, extrinsic stimuli such as salary increases or promotions work to achieve a certain level of motivation. But a long-term retention effect is only achieved through intrinsic motivation.

Leadership style and communication
The right communication is the most important thing when it comes to motivating employees. If something goes wrong, it is usually due to misunderstandings caused by unclear communication. And this also has an impact on motivation: Employees then leave discussions with different expectations and goals and are demotivated when they realize that they have worked in vain. On the other hand, a mixture of different leadership styles is beneficial: sometimes willing to engage in dialog, sometimes assertive – but always communicative. A good leader should be part of the team and take the needs, ideas and questions of colleagues seriously. In other words: make clear statements, summarize what has been said to avoid misunderstandings, and always treat employees as equals.

Praise and appreciation
Who doesn’t like to be praised and appreciated by their manager or colleagues after a project? Positive encouragement is one of the best ways to motivate employees and boost their self-confidence. However, the decisive factor here is how and when praise is given. If employees constantly receive effusive pats on the back without cause, they will eventually stop taking it seriously. Much more important is genuine praise and spontaneous appreciation of a specific achievement or success. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in person, through a brief phone call in between or in the form of a small note. Just as important as praise is, of course, constructive criticism and feedback on work in general. This motivates employees to work on their performance and improve.

Responsibility and trust
If employees are given the confidence to do something and are given tasks with more responsibility, this increases their self-esteem and thus also their motivation. This also includes independent projects in which they can prove their expertise. Employees should also be free to plan their own work schedules. Flexible working models, such as flextime or remote work, help here. In this way, employees can decide for themselves how they work best and are most motivated.

Fun factor
The most important factor for motivation: having fun at work! It’s usually much easier to work when the atmosphere is relaxed and easy-going, isn’t it? In addition, better results can be achieved when everyone pulls together, and shared laughter also brings people together. The same goes for celebrating successes together. Because that strengthens team cohesion and motivates for the next project.

Here’s also how to do it….
We have listed here only a small part of all possible measures that can help to increase employee motivation. The general rule is: get creative! What suits your company? What would your employees be particularly happy about? And what would motivate you the most? We particularly liked these two examples:

  • At Business First in Louisville, Kentucky, the advertising department sends everyone a motivational voice message every day – it could be a joke or a success story, something that helps the team stay in a good mood during the workday.
  • When Southwest Airlines ranked first in on-time performance and baggage handling for the fifth year in a row, as well as having the fewest complaints per customer, it dedicated a plane to its 25,000 employees by putting their names on the overhead bins above the seats.

    Do you have further questions about employee motivation, or are you looking for qualified developers? Then get in touch with us. We will be happy to advise you and connect you with the candidates who really fit your needs!