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Encourage employee motivation

Is the influence on employees to encourage them to maintain, develop or change their performance and/or performance results.

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Encourage employee motivation: your way to motivated, high-performing employees

The news is full of it: numerous jobs remain vacant, trainees are desperately needed, there is a shortage of skilled workers. At the same time, there is growing fatigue amongst employees – employee motivation seems to be dwindling, many people are thinking about changing jobs. Find out here what you can do to motivate your employees and increase loyalty to your company.

Managers in meetings with colleagues - promoting employee motivation
  • Increase employee motivation
  • Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • Specific methods to motivate employees
  • Easy to implement methods and evaluation by Humanoo

What exactly does employee motivation mean?

“Motivation“ is defined differently depending on the context. For example, in the context of employee motivation, the term can mean the energy a person invests to achieve a specific goal – in this case, one related to work. Motivation also affects behavior: Motivated employees are committed, enjoy their work, and do what is necessary to achieve their goals.

It is logical and has been proven many times that employee motivation is directly related to the productivity of the respective team members. This, in turn, helps employees find fulfilment in their work, feel validated, and enjoy doing their work. As a result, their willingness to get involved in the company increases, and with it their emotional bond with the company. Thus, employee motivation and employee retention are closely related and mutually dependent.

One detail is obvious: If you want to make a company more successful, you should, among other things, improve the motivation of your employees. Traditionally, this has often been done through the authority of managers, either through the threat of negative consequences, but also with the help of rewards, such as bonus payments or opportunities for career progression. That is no longer sufficient today: Most people do not work for money alone. So new approaches are needed to motivate employees without financial incentives. We’ll look at these in a moment, but first let’s take a look at the current status of employee motivation in Germany.

The current situation: most employees have pre-empted their resignation already

The market research and consulting company Gallup regularly conducts surveys for the so-called Gallup Engagement Index, which measures employee motivation, among other things. In 2021, the investigation found, among other things:

  • About every fourth respondent sees themself in a different job in a year.
  • About one in four of these people is already looking for a new job.
  • 38% of participants reported feeling stressed or burned out in the last 30 days.
  • Employee loyalty is also low: Only 17% of those surveyed feel an emotional connection to the company – the remaining 83% are therefore susceptible to poaching.

In addition, a 2019 study by ManpowerGroup shows that it is particularly difficult to find qualified specialists in the manual trades, IT and engineering sectors – a combination that underscores the importance of employee motivation.

If it is not possible to motivate employees, it is unlikely that they will put much effort into achieving the company’s goals. High levels of sick leave and employee fluctuation can be the result. It is almost even worse when demotivated employees remain at work: Such people can quickly poison the working atmosphere, speak badly about the company in front of customers or cause small groups to form in the team. There can also be derogatory statements about the employer – a heavy blow to the laboriously built employer branding.

Let’s look at which motivating factors inspire employees and can reverse such a trend.

Motivating employees: here is what you can do

In order to increase employee motivation it is sensible to understand intrinsic and extrinsic motivation first.

Woman happy and smiling - promote employee motivation
  • Intrinsic motivation: This motivation comes from within, for example when employees enjoy their work, find fulfilment in it or enjoy taking on a new challenge. Intrinsic motivation can generate true dedication to a cause.
  • Extrinsic motivation: The extrinsic motivation is caused from the outside, for example by positive or negative incentives (rewards, penalties, deadlines, recognition, pressure, etc.). This type of employee motivation alone is often not enough to achieve long-term goals.

What is interesting is that extrinsic motivation can be used to increase intrinsic motivation. An example: A team member takes on new additional tasks because he was promised a promotion (extrinsic motivation). However, the person soon finds that they enjoy the new challenge and thus develops an intrinsic motivation to do a good job.

Furthermore, there are other interesting factors that motivate employees, according to a survey the ManpowerGroup conducted in 2019: The top factors were a good working relationship with colleagues and supervisors, flexible working hours and a good relationship with team members – also outside of work. Free drinks and good coffee also made it into the top 5. Teamwork and workplace health promotion also came in next.

The following results also show that it is important to motivate employees with non-financial methods: 77% of those surveyed agreed with the statement “I would not like to have a well-paid job that bores or stresses me”. 64% agreed with the statement “Nice colleagues and the content of my work are more important to me than a bulging account at the end of the month”. However, a full 55% agreed with the statement “I only work because I get paid for it” – so it would be a mistake to neglect salary as a motivation for employees.

Specific measures for improved employee motivation

Ideally, employee motivation measures combine intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In order to be able to use intrinsic motivation, you must first find out what is important to your employees, for example through surveys or discussions. Feedback that is obtained regularly can also help to assess how motivated the employees are and what they may be missing.

Extrinsic motivation can be created by external incentives, typically money. But development opportunities, flexible working time models or opportunities for an improved work-life balance (home office, etc.) are also suitable. Above all, it depends on the situation of the person in question: anyone who tries to combine family and work benefits more from flexible working hours than from a bonus payment, for example.

Tip: Bonus payments have proven to be good motivating factors for employees when they are directly and evidently linked to the employees’ performance – so that they can work out their rewards in a targeted manner.

Works meeting - promoting employee motivation

Other sensible methods for employee motivation are:

  • Praise and recognition: Even small projects and successes deserve recognition. This does not always have to be monetary. Even a phone call, a short message or a flower at work show appreciation and cost little in terms of time and money.
  • Strengthen a sense of community: Those who have the feeling of doing important work are also more motivated to work. Is the company committed to sustainability or does it support other people? Then it can be a method for employee motivation and create an emotional bond.
  • Incentivise: Incentives refer to bonuses that employees receive for their work. Subsidies for a ticket or day care centre, a company mobile phone or car, a company laptop and similar measures show appreciation and increase the motivation of the employees. The importance of incentives can be great, but some creativity is required – as mentioned before, money is not the sole factor for high motivation.
  • Educating executives: The motivation of employees through their managers is also an important point. Executives can act as good role models, impart knowledge, ensure respectful communication, and support individuals – if they have been taught how to do it.

Gamification: motivational games for employees

The term gamification is derived from the English “game” and refers to mechanisms that can increase employee motivation in a playful way. High scores, collecting experience points, level ups, awards or challenges are among the methods of employee motivation used by large companies such as Amazon, Audi, or SAP. Even simple visual feedback, for example with green ticks or “Well done!” messages, can increase motivation – and is very well suited for onboarding processes, among other things.

Gamification, incentives, and motivation with Humanoo

Humanoo supports you in increasing the motivation of your employees. Over 3,000 personalized coaching programs are available to your teams. Furthermore, they contribute to workplace health promotion. Playful elements and motivating challenges bring in the gamification aspect, and with the help of uncomplicated tools you can easily conduct surveys among your employees and evaluate the results of your measures. Do you want to know more? Find out here how Humanoo works!