Employee engagement is crucial to your organization’s success, but workplace motivation continues to be a challenge for employers. According to Deloitte’s Workplace Burnout Survey, 77% of respondents say they have experienced burnout at their current jobs.
Even the most passionate, motivated employees can face burnout from time to time. The key is to avoid these slumps becoming recurring trends by fostering better employee motivation in the workplace.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll highlight our top 10 favorite strategies for fighting burnout and motivating employees:
- Create an employee recognition program.
- Offer rewards and incentives.
- Help employees set professional goals.
- Facilitate a path to growth.
- Provide training opportunities.
- Involve employees in decision-making.
- Provide flexibility.
- Play to employees’ strengths.
- Offer opportunities for collaboration.
- Foster a culture of positivity.
Fostering employee motivation helps improve multiple aspects of your business, from facilitating new employee recruitment to boosting employee retention. If you’re building your employee motivation plan from scratch, don’t worry about incorporating all of these tips immediately. Choose a handful to start with, find the right tools, and slowly build your program over time. Let’s get started.
1. Create an employee recognition program.
Don’t underestimate the power of showing employees appreciation for a job well done and giving them proper recognition when they go above and beyond the call of duty.
According to a Gallup and Workhuman report, employees that receive frequent recognition are 4 times more likely to be actively engaged at work and 5 times more likely to feel connected to their workplace culture.
Creating a solid employee recognition program is an effective way to increase employee morale. Consider incorporating the following efforts into your employee recognition program:
- Send recognition eCards. Show your appreciation by sending employees a digital eCard when they’ve done an excellent job. A platform like eCardWidget makes it simple to create and send digital eCards without spending too much time on the design process. All you have to do is add your business’s branding to eCardWidget’s design templates and embed your cards into your organization’s internal communications processes to get your eCard program up and running.
- Recognize top employees during meetings. Take a couple of minutes at the start of your team meetings to spotlight the top employees of the week or month. This type of public recognition can make employees feel appreciated and inspire other team members to reach similar accomplishments.
- Create a culture of recognition. Don’t limit recognition to just manager/employee relationships. Encourage employees to show appreciation to each other when they notice someone doing great work. Allow employees to send eCards to each other to recognize their colleagues.
Showing employees that you notice when they’re performing at a high level can motivate them to continue putting in a similar amount of effort. It’s especially effective when you align your recognition messages with your company’s values. For example, check out these eCards from financial technology company Fexco:
These cards express appreciation for specific values like teamwork, professionalism, and reliability. When you’re clear and specific about what employees are doing well, they’ll be motivated to continue excelling in that area.
2. Offer rewards and incentives.
In addition to giving employees praise when they’ve done well, it can also be highly motivational to offer incentives and prizes for higher performance. Consider motivating employees with monetary rewards like:
- Quarterly prizes
- Corporate gifts
Be consistent and equitable with how you distribute incentives. Create a policy for your monetary rewards and apply it uniformly across your organization. Proactively communicate any changes to the policy so employees are fully aware of what type of monetary incentives they can expect.
3. Help employees set professional goals.
Goal-setting is a crucial aspect of increasing employee motivation. When employees have something to work toward that benefits both them and your organization, you can boost their engagement and support your business’s overall success.
For example, you can help employees set goals around:
- Positions they’d like to achieve
- Projects they’d like to help complete
- New skills they’d like to develop
Set goals during performance reviews to give employees big-picture objectives to prioritize. Make sure the goals you set with employees are SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your organization’s overarching objectives, and time-bound.
4. Facilitate a path to growth.
If employees don’t have a clear path to growth, it can be difficult to envision a future with your organization that excites and inspires them.
Highlight growth opportunities based on each employee’s unique goals. For example, you might offer established employees new opportunities like:
- Larger/independently-led projects
- Peer-leadership opportunities
When employees feel excited about future opportunities with your organization, they’ll have a greater drive to perform their best.
5. Provide training opportunities.
Engaging employees in ongoing training doesn’t just help your business run more efficiently. It can also boost employee job satisfaction and retention. 68% of workers surveyed in a University of Phoenix study say they would stay with their employer throughout their careers if the employer helped upskill them.
With that in mind, consider offering professional development opportunities like:
- Coaching and workplace mentoring
- Specialized training courses
- Opportunities to attend conferences
- Sponsoring association membership for your employees
Employees will feel more motivated to perform at the top of their game when they have the skills and knowledge to do so.
6. Involve employees in decision-making.
According to Slack’s Future of Work study, 80% of workers want to know more about how decisions are made in their organization and 87% want their future company to be transparent.
Give employees a greater stake in your organization’s success by engaging them in decision-making and setting business priorities.
Use these strategies to provide more transparency and involve employees in decision-making:
- Work with employees to set business goals and priorities. Involve employees in the goal-setting process and give everyone their own role in working toward business priorities.
- Ask for employee feedback and ideas regularly. Incorporate their ideas when possible and provide an explanation for why you might not move forward with certain suggestions.
- Providing context for business decisions. When you have to make a decision that may go against many employees’ wishes, provide context for why the choice was made. This can help reduce any confusion or misunderstandings.
Employees may not agree with every decision your leaders make, but they should at least be given the opportunity to understand why the choices were made and make their voices heard in the decision-making process.
7. Provide flexibility.
The prevalence of remote and hybrid work has skyrocketed, with 74% of U.S. companies using or planning to implement a permanent hybrid work model. Nowadays, flexible work policies aren’t just nice-to-have benefits—for many employees and job seekers, they’re a must-have job component.
Here are a few ideas for flexible work policies to incorporate at your business:
- Flexible work location policy. If possible, offer hybrid or even fully remote working options. 68% of Americans say they would prefer to be fully remote, so consider if remote work is a possibility for your business.
- Flexibility in how employees can manage their projects/workflow. If your business’s structure allows for it, provide opportunities for employees to work on their tasks in the order that best suits their working style.
- Flexible working hours. Employees might have other commitments that mean that they won’t be able to work from 8 to 5 every day. Allow for flexibility in workday start and end times so employees can take care of their personal priorities.
Flexible work arrangements help employees manage burnout and maintain a better work-life balance, which can boost their motivation during working hours.
8. Play to employees’ strengths.
Even if an employee is working in their dream job, there are probably aspects of the role that they aren’t as enthusiastic about.
Ask employees about the aspects of their job that feel draining or that they’d like to do less of. Make an effort to help reduce blockers in this area or adjust employees’ workloads so that they don’t have to do as many of these tasks.
On the flip side, be sure to also ask employees about the aspects of their roles that give them energy or make them feel more fulfilled, and provide more opportunities for them to participate in tasks that play to their strengths.
9. Offer opportunities for collaboration.
Teamwork is scientifically proven to boost productivity and team member satisfaction. Offering opportunities for teamwork at your workplace allows employees to:
- Emotionally support each other
- Gain better listening skills
- Come up with innovative ways to solve problems
- Generate creative ideas
Plus, when your team works well together and gets along, employees will feel motivated to do their best in order to support their colleagues.
10. Foster a culture of positivity.
Along with facilitating teamwork, developing a positive workplace culture makes employees feel energized about their roles.
Promote camaraderie in your workplace by:
- Maintaining a positive outlook. Ensure your leaders promote values like positivity, empathy, and respect. Treat mistakes graciously, maintain healthy boundaries, and deal with interpersonal issues fairly and equitably.
- Planning employee engagement and socialization opportunities. Your employees may not all be best friends, but social opportunities can be great icebreakers that improve team harmony. For example, you can plan team-bonding events like an escape room or host a quarterly dinner out at a local restaurant.
- Offering fun work perks like snacks at the office or catered lunches. If employees work on-site at your office, offer a few in-office perks like free coffee, tea, snacks, and catered lunches.
- Providing employees with time off for mental health days. Let employees recharge by encouraging taking time off for mental health when needed.
By fostering an engaging, easygoing workplace, you can help employees fight burnout and feel more comfortable at your organization.
Hopefully, some of these tips resonate with you as potentially effective ways to help boost employee morale and motivation at your workplace. Even starting with something as simple as recognizing employees with digital eCards can lift your team’s spirits.
Looking for more tips on how to boost employee engagement and retention? Start with these resources:
- Employee Gifts: A Complete Guide + Top 10 Gift Ideas. Looking for more employee recognition ideas? These 10 gift ideas can be a great way to boost employee morale.
- A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement + Top 10 Ideas. Increasing employee motivation and retention relies on your organization’s ability to engage with employees and foster a positive experience. Read this guide to learn more.
- Employee Retention: Best Practices & 7 Key Steps. Employee retention is a comprehensive process that starts as early as new employee recruitment and onboarding. Learn about the best ways to retain your employees with this guide.