14 Essential Tips to Motivate Your Staff

My friend Bob Nelson, one of the world’s leading experts on employee recognition, offers several tips for keeping staff motivated. Bob says many successful managers tell him that employee motivation is today’s key to improving staff productivity. The reasons are that (1) most budgets are under pressure, and (2) many departments have already gained major productivity increases from past investments in technology. The fact is that workers gain much more satisfaction and are more productive when their work is appreciated. This article offers you 14 tips to motivate your staff.

As a result, managers are looking to lift productivity through the greater efforts of their staff. One manager described the challenge this way: “Our goal is to improve ourselves as a unit without spending more money during these tough pandemic times.”

This view might sound manipulative, and we can’t discount the possibility that some managers exploit it cynically. Still, research has proven that workers usually gain more satisfaction from better recognition than from a rise in salary. You can read more about this in my article, “Employee recognition creates better workplace performance: Here’s detailed proof.

14 tips to motivate your staff

Here’s how you can lift morale in your department by motivating with employee recognition activities. You can do these things if you are the manager or supervisor of your area. In general, these measures connect staff morale to department successes. As a result, they return something to staff members who work better, faster and smarter. What’s more, Gallup experts say in 2021 that managers should add team praise to their employee recognition toolkit.

  1. Morale is the spirit your staff show as they work in your department. When there is high morale, staff find continuing satisfaction in their jobs.
  2. Managers must work hard to establish morale and then maintain it within their departments. Leaders establish morale by helping their people find pride and self-esteem in the job. This is one of the effective tips to motivate staff.
  3. Morale rises when managers personally thank the staff for doing a good job. Morale is highest when this recognition is given promptly, often, and sincerely. You can read how to recognize employees for good work and effort above the normal in my article, “Employee recognition is important: here’s how to do it well.
  4. Morale suffers if managers praise staff for doing a good job when the work is actually mediocre. This dilutes the impact and meaning of earning recognition. It is not authentic and genuine.
  5. Morale is strong in departments when managers willingly take time to meet with employees and listen. To staff, an open-door policy means their ideas for improving the department get a hearing. This is a genuine acknowledgement of staff importance.
  6. Morale is strong when leaders provide specific feedback to employees about their own performance and their role in contributing to the department’s success. The fact that their boss makes an effort to give them feedback recognizes the value to their team and adds tips to motivate staff.
  7. Morale is high when employees feel they will be rewarded for developing new ideas or showing initiative. This shifts them away from the routine performance of their jobs and makes them feel engaged in their work and recognized for their contribution.
  8. Morale is strong when managers involve staff in decisions, especially the decisions that affect their jobs and careers. In the best case, this gives staffers the sense they can make themselves more effective and valuable – recognising their value to the team.
  9. Morale gets a lift if employees get the benefit of the doubt when mistakes occur. This eliminates most pressure to hide problems and lets managers show they want to work with staff to help them do a good job. This action recognizes the ability of staff.
  10. Morale is strong if you have high expectations of your employees’ abilities. If you believe your employees can be outstanding and praise them for this, soon they will believe it, too. This is one of the important tips to motivate your staff.
  11. Morale is high if you catch your employees doing things right. This way to reinforce the behaviors you want.
  12. Morale is high if managers use positive reinforcement. This both increases the frequency of the desired behavior and creates good feelings among employees. Negative reinforcement, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily produce the desired behavior, although it may decrease the frequency of the undesired behavior.
  13. Morale is high when leaders talk about the good little things. Reason: Most jobs offer little opportunity for dazzling success. Instead, most staffers must succeed in work primarily made of routine daily activities, which are supposed to be performed without fanfare.
  14. Morale is high when managers reward staffers for their small successes. Remember: Praising progress toward a goal is as important as reaching an important goal which stretches the entire department. This is one of the key tips to motivate your staff.

Here’s how to recognize and praise employees

This article gives you some great guidelines on “How to give practical recognition to an employee for work well done.

Photo by Pam Sharpe on Unsplash.

Kim Harrison

Kim J. Harrison has authored, edited, coordinated, produced and published the material in the articles and ebooks on this website. He brings his experience in professional communication and business management to provide helpful insights to readers around the world. As he has progressed through his wide-ranging career, his roles have included corporate affairs management; PR consulting; authoring many articles, books and ebooks; running a university PR course; and business management. Kim has received several international media relations awards and a website award. He has been quoted in The New York Times and various other news media, and has held elected positions with his State and National PR Institutes.

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