I’m not going to cite another statistic about employee engagement. I’ve heard depressing numbers too many times, and I want change. A happy and productive workplace for everyone should be the rule, not the exception, but how do we make that happen?

A recent post about ascertaining motivation from Fast Company got me thinking on what real motivation is for an employee. An employee who starts and finishes a task because he or she truly cares about it, not because of the consequences of not finishing, not for the fear of management, but for a reason that comes from within. Is this a pipedream of an idealist manager? Maybe not, here are three ways we can start growing buy-in:

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower


Recognize The Good

The starting point for change comes from a place of control. Traditionally, managers have had the burden and the blessing of holding and dolling out appreciation, but in today’s environment of microfeedback and online recognition, every employee has the option to praise and recognize a fellow employee’s contributions. 86% of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job but only 47% of employees did not feel appreciated or felt only somewhat appreciated at work. Are you letting your employees know when a good job has been accomplished? Are you building a culture of recognition and appreciation by modeling what great work looks like?

“In order for work to have meaning beyond just making money, the employee’s contribution needs to be seen as valuable by others in the company, especially the direct manager.” – Lydia Dishman


More than Money

Ever hear the home-improvement phrase of “don’t throw money at the problem, fix it?” Same with people. A raise won’t fix an intrinsic problem like motivation. Of those who had ever received a past pay raise, 40% said it improved their motivation or general feelings of appreciation for six months or less, making day-to-day acts of gratitude and appreciation in the workplace that much more important. A restructured department or a new title can be the pump up employees need to feel valued. Aligning employees’ motivations toward team goals can be effective. The inability to prove yourself in a higher role is one of the biggest reasons employees leave.


What's your move, a raise or a new title to increase employee motivation? Click To Tweet


Talk the Talk

Blindsided by an employee’s departure? Maybe you didn’t know what was truly going on beneath the surface of polite niceties. Learn what’s happening below the hood and if there is anything you can change right away. 97% of employees and executives surveyed believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project. Is everyone on board? Take the time to implement bi-monthly reviews where you cut through procedure and really listen to what they have to say.


97% of employees believe lack of team alignment directly impacts project outcome. Do you? Click To Tweet


Work is About People

Working, in itself, is inorganic: tasks, deadlines, computers, data and results. But the way work ‘talks’ and means something is because it is filtered and understood by organic, subject to influence humans. Is a simple pat on the back going to motivate an employee for weeks on end? Probably not. But following the steps to better management may take the burden off your back. To understanding the way people and teams work together to find their intrinsic motivators, we created Vitru. See what Vitru can do for you!


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Ryan Mead

CEO / Partner

Dad, Chief Enthusiasm Officer, Coach, Tech-nut.