What’s Motivating Employees Now?

A construction teams sits together and discusses motivation.
| 06.23.22
Sarah Prais

To retain your best employees, you have to understand what motivates them now. What is keeping employees at your company? Advancement within your company, higher wages, and feeling appreciated are highly important. We talk about that and more!

How To Motivate Your Employees

Go beyond company BBQs and retreats. It has been proven that a core reason for employees to stay at a company is the opportunity for advancement. If an employee’s position is stagnant and there is no room for increases in pay or a promotion, an employee will not be motivated to perform. And a BBQ is not going to fix that.

Wouldn’t you find it difficult to wake up each day and have to relive the same mundane tasks and schedule with no hope for change? If asked ‘how are you doing’ and they reply sarcastically ‘living the dream’ and then shuffle away, it is time to take note and realize that your employee is not satisfied with their current role. It is necessary to meet to discuss how to improve their situation. It could save their presence in the company and save you the headache of replacing them.

Be flexible. Life is undoubtedly becoming more complicated over time, and people’s needs change. Aim to be supportive in the ways you can. Employees highly regard remote work, and if you can offer it, you will retain employees and attract new talent. If that’s a step you can’t take, you can consider a hybrid working model where employees are on location two or three days per week. If not that, then flexible hours are possible for many businesses. Flexible hours allow employees to manage their lives more easily, giving them more headspace for their job.

Pay well. Yes, money talks. If an employee comes to you with a concern about their pay level, don’t dismiss their concerns! Do some research for yourself. What are other people in the same role making in different companies in your area? That should be your baseline. If you can go beyond what other companies are paying, it will serve you and your company well in the long run. Being open to change is especially important when a high-performing employee raises a concern.

Communicate successfully. It is so important to really listen to what your employee is telling you. Confirm the best method of communication for the employee. Do they prefer the phone? Or maybe they are just fine checking in via email or Microsoft Teams. Remember to keep any lines of communication open and be as transparent as possible.

Hybrid employees and in-office employees deserve the same attention levels and to feel they are heard. An essential motivation tactic is creating an environment where all employees feel important in the company. Keep your door open to concerns and ideas, including virtually.

Have a system to address issues. Make sure that there are systems in place to alleviate any employee concerns. If their systems are not working correctly, for example, this can lead to undue stress and set them back from deadlines. Can they quickly get this resolved in your company? The answer could be having access to systems that allow quick chats to flow freely between employees and the IT team. Setting up a system that allows help tickets is also a great way to track any issues, keep them in the queue until resolved, and the steps are also recorded to maybe even prevent the same problem from occurring in the future.

Provide constructive feedback. There is a difference between calling someone out for an error in front of an entire office and privately letting them know that an error occurred, and here is how you can improve next time. An employee that is constantly told how horrible they are at their job will not be motivated to improve their skill set. An employee who experiences constructive feedback or criticism should understand the steps they need to take to improve the outcome for next time. Since they were treated with respect and made to feel important, they are motivated to stay, improve their skill set, and thrive in their role!

Counsel your employees. Emotional and mental health is vital to the success of your business overall. The best way to motivate employees is to allow proper access to mental health practitioners. There are factors in their personal lives they may not feel comfortable sharing with their colleagues or even with you as their manager. This is where access to proper mental health care facilities can make all the difference in the world. Access can include needing time off to attend appointments and meetings.

Say thank you. It’s simple, really. Saying thank you or sending a simple thank you email or message can mean the world to an employee that has had a difficult week, has worked extremely hard, and just needs to hear their effort matters. People remember it, and it helps employees feel appreciated. Feeling appreciated is potentially the greatest employee motivator.

Consider other benefits. While strong benefits like health insurance are important, smaller benefits can make a big difference, too. Help employees feel connected by hosting activities like laser tag, a scavenger hunt, or bowling, or bringing in lunches. Give extra time off when possible—nothing beats a free afternoon if your employee is all caught up. When the holidays arrive, why not provide your employees with a bonus or their favorite gift card? 

You may think each suggestion is either too great of an effort or not big enough. Regardless, it is important to realize how the working world has changed and continues to shift. While many outside factors can contribute to an employee leaving your company, there are also many ways to motivate them to stay!

About the Author

Sarah Prais is a content creator who enjoys blogging on a myriad of topics both professionally and personally. She loves spending time with her crazy dog, and watching anything on Shudder with her fellow horror fan—aka boyfriend.