How to Motivate a Team

July 18, 2022
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Motivation is not just a buzzword; it’s key to an organisation’s success. A motivated team has a hugely positive impact on productivity, retention and overall wellbeing. When employee motivation drops, your revenue and output are likely to follow. Despite its importance for business, however, only 21% of employees are reported to feel motivated and engaged at work. 

Whereas in the past employee motivation was widely considered the responsibility of HR, it is now expected to be maintained by managers and is a key part of your role as a leader within your organisation. But how can you achieve this successfully?

In this article, we will expand on the importance of motivation in any organisation and explain the role that a manager plays in motivating their team. We will also provide actionable tips and advice for effectively motivating your employees. 

What is the Importance of Motivation in an Organisation?

Employee motivation refers to the level of commitment, energy and innovation that a company’s staff maintain at work. Prior to the pandemic, workplace motivation and engagement were rising globally, but progress has now stalled. In fact, Europe is now recorded to have the lowest percentage of engaged and motivated employees in the world – at just 14%. Therefore, those in a managerial or leadership role urgently need to work to increase employee motivation.

Employees that are not motivated have little enthusiasm for their role. They are more easily distracted by non-work-related activities, work at a slower pace, avoid tasks or are happy to let others take on more work. This potentially holds the wider organisation back from meeting targets and producing high-quality work. In these circumstances, workplace stress often rises due to tasks not being effectively distributed. 

In contrast, maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce has a multitude of impressive benefits, including:

Increased Productivity

One of the main advantages of a motivated workforce is an increase in productivity, which in turn leads to better revenue outcomes. Highly motivated workforces have been found to achieve a 17% increase in productivity as they are far more likely to focus on their core tasks and complete these efficiently and effectively. This provides them with more time to work on their additional responsibilities or professional development.

Lower Levels of Absenteeism

Motivated team members are also less likely to have repeat absences from work as they’re engaged with their role and therefore willing to commit time to completing their assigned workload. Workplaces with motivated and engaged employees are shown to reduce absenteeism by up to 41%

Increased Staff Retention

As well as displaying lower levels of absenteeism from work, motivated employees are likely to stay with an organisation for longer – rather than searching for new opportunities. A motivated employee is far more likely to be satisfied with their role and therefore have less desire to look for something, or somewhere, better. Not only does a high turnover of staff cause disturbance within the business, it’s also reported to cost employers 33% of an employee’s annual salary due to hiring replacements, and is therefore something worth avoiding. 

Great Company Culture

Employee motivation is an important factor in creating a strong company culture, as well as driving collaboration. When an employee feels a connection to the work they do and are committed to their role and the company, their enthusiasm and work ethic is likely to have a positive impact on other employees. The result of this is a stronger, more connected team, who communicate and collaborate to produce high-quality, innovative products and services.

Why are Managers Vital for Motivating Employees?

Managers play a crucial role in encouraging motivation within their team. In a recent study, it was found that a manager or team leader alone accounts for 70% of variance in team engagement and motivation.

Where a paycheck may once have been enough to keep staff engaged and motivated, employees are now increasingly reported to desire far more from their working life than just a means to pay the bills. In a recent study, when asked about motivating factors at work, the majority of employees cited a good work-life balance. Having no career progression was the highest factor in reducing motivation. 

Therefore, employers shouldn’t assume that their staff are simply thankful for having a job; employees want to learn, progress and be challenged. As a result, it is vital for managers to display strong coaching and mentoring skills to ensure their team finds purpose and meaning, as well as opportunities to develop in their area of work. If a manager fails to set a good example when it comes to positive attitudes and working methods, other employees will soon follow suit and the quality of work the team produces will suffer as a result. 

There are a number of attributes that make a manager effective at motivating their team. These include:

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Consistency and reliability.
  • Showing appreciation and encouragement.
  • Decisiveness.
  • Empathy.
  • Adaptability and flexibility.
  • Conflict resolution.
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How to Motivate Your Team to Improve Performance

Having to keep your team motivated might feel like a big responsibility to uphold, but there’s no need to worry. There are a number of things you can do as a manager to increase and maintain motivation within your team, and therefore improve overall performance. 

10 Tips for Motivating Employees

Offer Recognition 

Employees can naturally feel unappreciated and burnt out if they’re not recognised or rewarded for their hard work. Giving frequent recognition where it’s due will not only help employees to feel valued – it will encourage them to keep working hard so that they can continue to be rewarded for their efforts. 

Set Ambitious but Achievable Targets

As previously mentioned, employees don’t want to feel as though they’re at a standstill in their career. It’s important for them to feel challenged so that they can continually progress. Therefore, a good manager must be able to set ambitious, individualised targets.

On the other hand, however, it’s important that these targets don’t become unachievable. If an employee has to work extra hours to complete their workload and achieve targets, this will have a negative impact on their motivation. Have frequent conversations with individual team members to evaluate their targets. Ensure they agree with the level of challenge being provided. 

Organise Team Building Activities

Strengthening your team is vital in maintaining motivation and morale. If employees feel as though they’re connected to and valued within their team, they won’t want to let them down. Instead, they’ll have more motivation to play their part in achieving shared goals. Team building activities are an excellent way to increase trust and confidence within teams, as well as improving your overall company culture. 

Create Development Opportunities

A good manager understands that every member of their team has career goals they want to work towards, and it’s therefore important to upskill your staff and provide opportunities for them to enhance their skills. It’s been found that only 29% of employees are ‘very satisfied’ with their available career advancement opportunities, and 41% marked those opportunities as ‘very important’ when it comes to motivation. As a result, ensure your team members have an up-to-date and actionable Personal Development Plan to help them progress towards their personal goals. 

Encouraging your employees to take personal development courses that interest them can be highly beneficial in increasing motivation. Here are our top three recommendations:

Maintain Effective Communication

Do your team members feel as though they can talk openly to you? It’s important for a manager to be approachable. They should encourage employees to communicate any issues they have, so that they can receive the help and support they need. Listen actively to employees and keep them up to date with company matters. This will help them to feel valued and involved. Active listening will also help to dispel any anxieties which could negatively impact motivation levels.

Support Wellbeing

An employee’s wellbeing is intrinsically linked to their motivation and ability to perform at work, and can be the make or break of your business’s long-term success. Therefore, it’s vital for managers to be aware of their employees’ wellbeing. They should work to maintain and enhance positive wellbeing across the business. Consider creating a health and wellbeing programme within your workplace to help staff positively manage or overcome wellbeing challenges.

Reward Creativity

Allow your employees to voice their ideas and try to action their feedback. This will lift your employees to become innovators, rather than those who simply tick boxes. Employees will undoubtedly be more motivated and invested in working on something they inspired, and this motivation will carry through to their other work.

Review Salaries Frequently

Although it’s been shown that money is not the main reason employees feel motivated at work, it does play a part and therefore can’t be ignored. Your team will find it harder to stay motivated if they have any financial worries or are concerned they’re not being paid fairly for what they do. Ensure you review individual salaries regularly in line with living expenses and the changing responsibilities of your team members. This will help to give your employees confidence when discussing fair pay and their value within the company. 

Promote Work-Life Balance

With work-life balance reported to be the factor that motivates employees the most, it’s vital to ensure your staff aren’t struggling to juggle the two. Consider offering programs like flexible schedules, remote working and increased annual leave days. This will allow your team to be more efficient with their time and therefore do more of what matters to them. 

Lead with Vision

Everyone wants to feel as though they’re working towards a bigger goal and a cause that matters. Make sure your employees always understand what the company’s goals are, its next steps and what success will look like. Knowing the destination plays an essential role in providing motivation for the journey. 

Having a motivated team is vital to a company’s overall success, and must therefore be actively maintained. As a manager, your actions have a big impact on your team’s motivation levels, and it’s your responsibility to ensure employees remain motivated. Implementing day-to-day strategies to increase employee motivation will have a vastly positive impact on your team’s overall performance, as well as that of the wider company. 

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