Admit it, some days motivating your staff is like pushing rope! It’s that silver bullet of management – keeping your staff motivated on a sustained basis. There are short term fixes like buying them ice creams on a hot day or longer term tricks like reward and recognition schemes. We’ve all seen the survey results about what motivates people to come to work but what gets them to do their work once they get there? The three big motivators can summed up as:

  • The Need to Achieve
  • The Craving to Contribute
  • The Burn to Learn.

If you’re stuck for motivation ideas – try to link back to one of these as you won’t go wrong. We’ve listed seven great ways here to keep your staff motivated:


Do you and your staff have a clear idea of what it is you need to achieve, when you need to achieve it and how? Do you have one goal for the company or do individuals have their individual goals to meet to help achieve the company goals? Is the goal’s progress fed back to the team on a regular and constructive basis? Do they feel like they are an integral part of the organistaion? People want to feel like  they are contributing and that their work is meaningful. Let them know how their efforts impact the big picture.


Catch people doing things right instead of always waiting for them to make a mistake. A simple but powerful statement such as “You did a great job today” or “Thanks for that” go a long way and cost nothing. Everyone likes personal recognition. Do not engage in empty praise. Always make it meaningful.


Are targets set at a realistic and achievable level – high enough to stretch staff to find levels within themselves but not too high or too distant for people to give up? If targets are too easy, staff will not stretch themselves. Find the balance and watch the difference.


What is the balance between staff self-motivation and the drive to get things done and the need to constantly push or punish staff into doing the same things? External motivation is short lived, whereas internal motivation remains – even when you are not there. Do you know, I mean really know what motivates your staff? If not, then take time to find out: it will pay dividends in the long term.


Do not mislead or lie to your staff, people react better to direct honesty. Even if it is a hard call, make it, they will appreciate your honesty. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Never criticise in public.


Do they have the support they need? Do they get the mentoring and coaching they may require to help them when they need it?




Do your staff have crystal clear vision of where the company is going and why? Vision statements on the walls are not enough. Your company vision needs to be constantly in focus – talked about, planned, measured and refocused. If people buy into your vision for themselves, the company will become an exciting place to work.

For more ideas on staff motivation and leadership, check out