4 things that don’t motivate employees—and 6 things that do

Make the little things count.

Motivating employees isn’t simply a generous and sociable thing to do. A demotivated and disengaged employee can cost the company a hefty sum, so it is imperative that your employees remain motivated and therefore enterprising.

Contrary to popular belief, some of the most typically “motivating” factors in the job setting do very little to motivate your employees. The four things that certainly don’t work—or work very little—in the motivation department are the following:


1. Money

Salary and bonus are important factors for getting employees to work harder and better, but they don’t serve the company’s purpose in the long run. More than using money as an incentive (which, really, most other companies can use as a foolproof bait), it is a good idea to focus on getting the employee to appreciate and engage with the vision of the company and to enable him/her to play a significant part in its growth story.


Related: 5 things that make good employees quit


2. Using common motivational techniques

Trying to motivating everyone in the same way is a failed experiment. Every employee is a different person with different needs and aspirations. Each person will want something different out of the same role. Instead of expecting to motivate all your employees in the same way, get to know the individual and see what works to motivate him/her.


3. Generating competition

Several companies exploit invariable human tendencies and believe that creating competition among employees will motivate each one to outperform the rest. However, this proves to be detrimental in the long run as employees begin to resent their colleagues.


Related: Is Your Employer Branding Affecting Your Recruitment Process?


4. Believing that just having a job is motivation enough

Again, drawing a salary at the end of every month cannot suffice as a motivating factor. A job has to be more than just the sum of responsibilities and monetary compensation for the same. Make sure that you understand your employees as individuals and enable them to share the company’s vision.


Related: How Companies Can Attract and Retain Top Talent


Here are a few things that you can do to motivate your employees:


1. Praise generously: Nothing works as well as a generous dose of praise for an employee. For every improvement that you see—big or small—make sure to drop in a word of appreciation. It goes a long way in keeping the employee motivated.


2. Never point out mistakes: Just as praise works as a motivator for literally everyone, criticism is a sure shot de-motivator. You don’t want to point fingers at anyone, even when someone’s clearly at fault. Instead, find subtler ways to address the issue with the employee to prevent mistakes from being repeated.


3. Allow people to share ideas: Letting employees put forth their ideas and opinions makes them feel important and motivates them to work harder. Of course, some of these can be very valuable inputs you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Getting your employees to think that their ideas are working for the company is a huge source of motivation.


Related: Why Employee Engagement Should Be Your Company’s Top Priority


4. Make them feel included: Keep your employees in the loop. Share important news with them. Whether it is the successes, the failures or plans for the future, make sure your employees feel like they know what’s going on in the company.


5. Rewards and recognition: These don’t necessarily have to be monetary. Giving an employee due recognition can be as simple as praising him/her during a meeting or in front of other employees. Of course, small tangible rewards work just as well.


6. Celebrations: Celebrating together and celebrating often—company events, activities and parties—is the icing on the cake. It generates the feeling of oneness goodness and unites employees to work for the company.


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