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Employee Motivation: 5 Strategies to Boost Productivity

staff engagement session at a business for employee motivation

Employee motivation is an issue that business owners and managers continually face. To say it’s been difficult to stay productive since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is an understatement. With COVID-19 having forced many of us to work from home, trying to work out how to improve staff motivation and engagement to increase productivity is now more crucial than ever.

1. Be positive to foster employee motivation

With our work life and personal life so heavily entwined, we find ourselves under more stress than usual, making us prone to distraction and fatigue. So how can we improve employee motivation, along with staff retention and productivity under these challenges? Here are five tips on how to engage and motivate staff in your workplace.

It might be easier said than done, but a little positivity can make a big difference, whether you’re at home or in the office. Some of the ways you can boost employee motivation include:

  • Making employees feel motivated by creating a company culture that’s supportive yet driven 
  • Creating a mission statement to remind everyone of their deeper purpose and commitment to their roles
  • Encouraging an organised workspace and taking short breaks throughout the day
  • Engaging in regular one-on-one conversations 
  • Letting staff members know when they’re doing a good job
  • Sharing customer success stories and showing how staff played a role in them.

Implementing new ways to motivate employees and help them feel engaged will result in fewer performance problems and better staff retention.

2. Keep lines of communication open for improved employee engagement

Communication is vital when it comes to how to motivate staff to increase productivity. Schedule regular meetings with employees so they can share their ideas, opinions or personal issues. Set up a company email address for feedback and suggestions. Let employees have more input on how things are run, so that they feel like a valued team member.

Proper conflict resolution in a work environment also relies heavily on open communication. When tension in the workplace goes unresolved, it can severely impact our ability to work, and if handled poorly, it can lead to plenty of stress and discomfort among colleagues which can result in underperforming employees. 

But with the right tools, we can carefully examine our emotions and the effect they have on our colleagues. Once we identify the problem, we can then begin to tackle it in a calm and rational manner by setting ground rules, finding commonalities between one another or by reaching a fair compromise.

Providing incentives is also a good idea when thinking of ways to motivate underperforming staff, which gives them something to strive for and helps foster healthy competition. Be sure to offer praise for good work to boost employee morale and motivation.

3. Create team-building exercises to enhance staff engagement and motivation

Team building exercises can also be the key to increased productivity in the workplace. Through such exercises, employees can develop new skills and unlock their hidden potential. They get to enjoy new experiences, build up their confidence and learn how to resolve conflict using effective communication skills. They can also help maximise your business’ profits and improve on existing services, and even help you develop new ones.

Collaboration is essential for staff motivation. When employees have to rely on one another during a team building exercise, they combine all their efforts and individual strengths, and feel a greater sense of accomplishment when they complete it together. Team building also helps remind employees why their contributions to your business are so important, as well as gives them a renewed sense of purpose in contributing to business outcomes. Increased employee engagement goes a long way in developing high-performing teams. 

If you are stuck for ideas on team building for staff engagement, here are 35 team-building activities to promote an engaged workforce.

4. Offer training and development to improve employee motivation and performance

Training and development are strong drivers of employee engagement. Encouraging employees to build on their skills can also increase staff engagement and  motivation. It can help to reaffirm long term goals, strive towards new ones, and uncover any performance issues they might need to work on. They’re also likely to achieve more if it means there’s a chance for career advancement sometime in the future.

Draw up a training and development plan to keep employees motivated, which can be a great cost-effective measure to keep staff highly engaged and avoid a high turnover rate. Create opportunities for employees to prove themselves by giving them a project management task. Help them gain further knowledge and qualifications through team meetings, workshops, seminars and online courses.

5. Allow for flexibility to boost employee retention

One survey revealed that 70 per cent of managers and 80 per cent of employees believed they were more productive with flexible working arrangements. In another study, call centre employees allowed to work from home had a 13 per increase in productivity. They also took fewer sick days. In another example, Deloitte saved $41.5 million in employee turnover costs worldwide by implementing flexible working arrangements, as they improved staff retention by offering this benefit. 

Implementing a flexible work schedule, if possible, can also be a great way to motivate your team. It can help promote teamwork, instil loyalty, improve employee retention rates and reduce the risk of tardiness and burnout. It can also give employees some much-needed time to relax and to take care of other responsibilities, so they’re able to return to work fully rejuvenated with higher morale and greater level of engagement. 

Reap the benefits of increased employee motivation

While you might not be able to take all the steps above, gradually improving employee motivation and engagement will help you achieve goals and motivate employees to work harder. One study revealed that highly engaged teams increased profitability by 21 per cent. So consider even taking small steps when you can to boost engagement in your business.


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