November 15, 2023
March 1, 2024

4 Tips to Keep Employees Motivated (Even During Hard Times)

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Keeping employees motivated is a challenge that every business has to tackle, and it’s only getting more difficult. Not because employees are getting lazier—it’s because the world we live in is increasingly full of stressors and issues that distract from work and deteriorate motivation.

External factors such as economic downturns, wars, and diseases are becoming more common, so how do you keep your workforce motivated with so much going on? What can you do to improve your culture and support your people to boost their intrinsic motivation? Here are four employee motivation strategies that you should consider.

1. Help Employees Feel Like Valued Individuals

The best thing you can do to help employees feel motivated and happy at work is to treat them as individual people with personal lives, challenges, and priorities. Here are some specific examples of ways you can do this:

  • Talk to them on an individual level. Ask them about their lives, their hobbies, and their interests. Talk to them about the stresses they may be feeling, and ask what you can do to help them with those. Be understanding if someone is dealing with stress or anxiety and needs special allowances.
  • Recognize them for their individual accomplishments. Nothing will make your employees feel more special than a personalized recognition. To prove this point, 93% of employees who feel valued are motivated to do their best work. Whether you congratulate them on a personal milestone or thank them personally for their part in a work project, that individualized recognition is huge.
  • Offer flexible schedules or work environments. This tip can be anything from offering unlimited PTO to providing a new ergonomic keyboard to an employee who has wrist pain. Be willing to inconvenience the company in order to make employees’ lives better, and employees will respond with greater motivation.

Employees do their best when they feel valued and appreciated. When they know that their managers and leaders care about their wellbeing, they’ll feel more motivated to give the company their highest-caliber work.

2. Set Goals to Give Work Meaning

Did you know that employees with goals are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged than those without goals? These goals should be broken down into at least two types: personal goals and organizational goals.

  • Personal goals. These goals should provide a lot of flexibility because each employee can choose what they want to accomplish.
  • Organizational goals. These are goals that create a connection between your organizational mission and each employee’s work. Around 55% of employees would be more motivated if they felt like they were doing meaningful work. When you tie an employee’s responsibilities into the company’s overall goals, that employee feels like they’re a part of something important (instead of an unimportant add-on).

Make sure that each employee has the chance to set personal goals, and make sure managers collaborate with their employees to create fitting organizational goals as well. Then, schedule regular follow-ups and provide timely feedback on their work. 

Bonus tip: timely, accurate, and specific feedback can be a huge motivator for employees. When you share plenty of positive feedback, and any necessary constructive criticism, in a positive, uplifting, and supporting way, employees will be more committed to improvement.

3. Empower Employees to Learn and Grow

Employees won’t be motivated if they feel like they’re in a dead-end job. This goes along with making your employees feel valued because when you provide professional development opportunities, you show that you care about an employee’s success as a person.

When you provide and support career development, through training opportunities, promotions, or coaching, you can increase employee motivation and productivity, and these opportunities can also work for recruiting and retaining talent. After all, what employee doesn’t want an employer that cares about their professional growth?

4. Reward People for Their Efforts

When you try hard to accomplish something, and then accomplish it, doesn’t it feel good when others notice your efforts and reward you for your hard work? Employee rewards work in the same way. Yes, you already pay your employees and provide them with benefits, but those are expected things.

Rewards are extra icing on the cake, and they are great ways to show your employees how much you appreciate what they do. But you shouldn’t settle for a quarterly bonus program that only rewards a few employees—every employee should get rewarded, even if it’s something small.

(Awardco Pay, otherwise known as Reward Compensation, is a great tool to help you allocate your reward budget in the most effective way possible.)

Create Motivation Protected From Outside Influences

Employees are people with complicated lives, and sometimes their stresses and challenges can affect their at-work motivation. However, with the above strategies to improve employee motivation, we’re confident that you will maximize the efforts you get out of them. Your people will feel happy with your culture, satisfied with their personal growth, and motivated to do their best because you show them that you care.

In today’s world of unprecedented unrest and unpredictable chaos, your business can be a haven of productivity and comfort for all who work there.