Every small business needs an employee motivation plan. Let’s face it, even as the owner of the business we struggle with motivation from time to time. It’s fair to say even our best employees will too.

There’s a lot of hype out there about employee motivation, and that’s what most of it is … hype.

Let’s take a look at some common sense ways to help our employees with their motivation. Your business success depends on it!

Proven Ideas That Motivate Employees

  • One method that consistently comes up is employee incentives. This can be something as small as providing immediate praise to employees who achieve certain goals or can be something more significant.Offering an employee of the month plaque that comes with a small gift certificate or the use of a prime parking space is a small and inexpensive way to show appreciation to employees.
  • Offering bonuses or other incentives to employees who meet certain long or short term goals is another excellent method to consider when looking at how to motivate employees. It is a way of recognizing all of their hard work helping your business to be successful. Plus, an employee should be rewarded for their contribution to the business.
  • Another excellent motivator is outside praise. If a customer praises a particular employee, share it with them. What a great motivator! Tell them what the customer likes about their service and share it with other employees. Knowing that what they do is appreciated makes your employees want to keep performing well.
  • If your employee is doing something that the other employees appreciate or that benefits them, make it known. Feeling appreciated and that you are making a difference is an excellent motivator for all of us!
  • An important tip on how to motivate employees is simply to learn what they find motivating. Get to know your employees and find out what they respond well to. Perhaps it will be praise, incentives, constructive criticism, or more challenges. Take the time to learn and then take action to provide what is needed.Everyone is different and has different motivations. There is no one answer that will work for your entire organization. Where one employee might be motivated by a desire to get a prime parking space or be mentioned in the company newsletter, another employee might want more responsibility or a chance for a promotion.
  • Another idea that I see employers miss when looking at how to motivate employees is simply listening to their employees. If an employee is complaining about their job, try to find out why. What is the real underlying issue? What action can you take to improve the situation?If an employee seems excited or enjoys some part of what they do, look for ways to create more of those opportunities for them. You are the leader … lead!
  • Another idea is to ask your employees for input. Let them take an active role in the success of your business. Look for their input daily. (Another good time to ask is during an employee performance review.)As a business owner, you likely spend a great deal of time in an office, out on the job, or not performing the same duties as your employees. Find out what they think will improve sales or job performance and consider it.

Your employees are the eyes and ears of your business and have ideas that could greatly improve your business. If you implement these ideas, be sure to credit the employee who thought of them.

Ask for employee input before making large business decisions as well. Employees that play an active role in the company are often your most motivated employees.

Parting Thoughts on How to Motivate Employees

In my years of experience, I have seen many methods of motivating employees. Some have worked and some have not. The most important factor was always that the employer took action. You must take action. It’s not just going to happen and it’s not just the employees problem.

If you really care about the success of your business, you simply must do all you can to build up your employees. If you can find what it is that motivates them to do the best job possible day in and day out, then you have truly found one of the major ingredients in creating a successful business.

Remember that you can’t “order” your employees to be motivated, you must be involved daily. You will be a major factor in developing a motivated workforce.

Following the tips and ideas in this article on how to motivate employees, you can create a positive environment, one that leads to success for your business and your employees!

If you’d like to learn more, get a copy of my eBook on How to Motivate Employees by clicking here. It has over 70 proven tips to guide you.


by Steven Schlagel