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Motivating your Team

Motivating your Team

29 May 2020

There are thousands of books, courses, TED Talks and more dedicated to helping leaders to motivate employees and create a motivational company culture. We could literally go on all day – or all week!

Here is a targeted list of actions you can put in place today to increase the motivation of your employees.


  1. Have Meaningful and Worthwhile Goals in Place

Review your business, team and individual goals to ensure that they are fit for purpose in todays environment. Once they’re in place, communicate them widely and refer back to them often.


  1. Be a Leader Worth Following
  • Trust your team. Set the values, vision, purpose and framework within which employees are expected to do their jobs, and then empower them to do so.
  • Walk the talk. As a leader you must always be setting the tone and values for the company through your own actions. If you set a positive example in everything you do, employees will follow and the entire work culture will become more motivating.
  • Be a respectful, honest, empathetic and supportive manager. Bad management is one of the main reasons employees resign. Respect, honesty, support, and clear communication are fundamental in good leadership.


  1. Acknowledge Achievement and Effort

Often, all an employee wants is some recognition for a job well done. If people feel that their efforts are appreciated, they will feel ‘motivated to continue working hard. Recognition is high on the list of employee needs for motivation. Many supervisors equate reward and recognition with monetary gifts. While employees always appreciate money, they also appreciate praise, a verbal or written thank you and opportunities to lead or be involved in different work or a new project.

  • Write a thank-you note
  • Give verbal praise – either one-on-one or in front of the team
  • Consider a small token of your gratitude. A card, a chocolate bar, a new notebook or pen – whatever you think your employee would appreciate.


  1. Provide Opportunities for Autonomy

Employees gain a lot of motivation from the nature of the work itself – particularly autonomy and independence in how they approach accomplishing their work.

  • Allow employees to self-manage wherever possible
  • Delegate decision making where it makes sense
  • Look for opportunities for employees to contribute to leadership meetings or projects
  • Ask for feedback and contribution when setting goals and priorities
  • Include employees on emails that tell them about what is happening in other parts of the business
  • Look for opportunities to expand the job description to match the employee’s development


  1. Reward High Performance

Rather than try to guess what’s important to employees, sit with them and ask what they value and what would incentivise them. If adding a financial incentive is not possible in todays environment, consider more creative options – for example, offering additional leave for consistently over-achieving on targets.


  1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
  • Team meetings provide one of your best opportunities to set the culture, build motivation and increase engagement. Hold them regularly, keep them short and don’t do all the talking. Ask people to share their challenges and successes, have employees give updates on projects, refer back to company and team goals and give progress updates on them
  • Good communication is a two-way street. Welcome feedback and ideas. Set up channels for this that will work for your team.
  • Be responsive. If an employee raises a concern with you via email, show that you care by replying or responding immediately – even if it is to let them know that you will consider their request/concern and come back to them.
  • Book in regular one-on-one meetings and stick to them. Show your employees you value them by dedicating this time to them. Understand each employee’s career and life goals. Discuss what they need to do to achieve these and help them to create a development plan accordingly.


  1. Team Work makes the Dream Work
  • Be caring and put your people first – expect your employees to do the same
  • Don’t miss an opportunity to encourage team work
  • Acknowledge when an employee helps their colleague out
  • If you know someone is struggling, ask one of their colleagues to help
  • Look for opportunities for some friendly competition – often the combined elements of fun and competition bring people together
  • Celebrate success and make having some fun at work a priority


  1. Don’t forget the Physical Work Environment
  • Make sure that your employees have the right tools to do the job. Struggling with out-of-date technology or damaged equipment can be very demotivating
  • No one feels excited working in a dingy space. Sprucing up your office does not need to cost a lot. A few plants and some comfy chairs/spaces can make a world of difference and bring the comforts of home into your office environment. If the walls need a lick of paint and the carpets could do with an upgrade, consider introducing colours as opposed to the standard office grey.
  • Are good snacks the key to employee motivation? Maybe. After all, nobody works well when they’re hangry. Think about providing some healthy food – it doesn’t need to be expensive or even a regular thing. A fruit bowl now and then or the occasional uber-eats catered learning lunch will always go down well.


Every business is different and, as such, will have different HR needs. Positive People is available to help. Call us on 09 445 1077 or email info@positivepeople.co.nz