How Do You Motivate Staff to Improve Productivity? (18 Strategies on Motivating Your Staff to Improve Productivity)


I have been a long-time Human Resource Manager in a famous multinational company. Hence, it is always my team’s job to come up with strategies which will not only increase employee engagementOpens in a new tab. but will also translate to a boost in work productivity. Years in this field enabled me to perfect the formula when it comes to this area.

Initiatives in improving employee productivity entail implementing a motivation strategy. It comes in many steps starting from studying your employees, researching other possible approaches, creating a proposal for the accounting department, involving the upper management, and asking for feedback. From here, rest assured that you will be able to design the best motivation plan to increase work productivity.

According to research and studies, more than 50 percent of HR Managers worry that most of their employees are not yet performing at their full potential. If you are one of these people, then this is probably the best time for you to implement various strategies which will enable them to perform better. With that, let us explore some of the best motivation factors which will help your staff improve their productivity and don’t forget to check out this article detailing about the productivity measurement formulaOpens in a new tab..

5 Steps To Create a Motivation Strategy

To be able to increase employee productivity, it is crucial to tailor the strategy with the likes and personalities of your workers. It does not mean that what works for a particular group of workers also work for the other group. It is not how a motivation strategyOpens in a new tab. works. So, what is the best way to do it?

Step 1: Study Your Employees

Studying the hobbies, motivations, personalities, likes, and dislikes of your workforce is critical when it comes to designing possible motivation strategies. You can do this by doing interviews, surveys, and other feedback mechanisms – may it be through personal meetings or online forms. It is essential to know the personality of your employees because this is how you can lead them efficiently and this how you will know how to motivate them.

Step 2: Research Possible Strategies

The first thing to do in business is to look for possible strategies other companies adopt. If you study these strategies, there is a significant possibility that some techniques might also be applicable in your workplace. Take into account the willingness of the management to implement the idea and the general attitude of the staff as well.

For example, if your employees are not competitive, then it is not a good idea to implement a technique that will enable them to compete with one another. At the same time, if the big bosses are not willing to spend time with their workers daily, then it is not apt to propose an activity which will force the management to have regular physical sessions.

Step 3: Create a Proposal for the Accounting Department

After you have drafted a motivation strategy, ensure that your company has enough funds to implement this. Bear in mind to only create a project which is within your organization’s needs and budgets. Don’t propose something which will only be a burden to the accounting department. If you feel that the cost will be able to produce more benefit, make sure to create specific project guidelines to be able to get the approval of the accounting department much quicker.

Step 4: Involve the Upper Management

Although it might be too awkward for you to ask for your boss’ time, it is still essential to convince them to take an active role in the project. No matter how useful and promising a plan is, there is a significant chance that it might not be successful if the management is not as involved as the employees are expecting. Everyone should work together to be able to achieve more.

A study in Canada showed that approximately 60 percent of professionals said that the presence of the bosses increases employee engagement.

Step 5: Ask for Feedback

To determine whether your initiative will be successful or not, asking the team for feedback is essential and healthy. Create a questionnaire which will help you analyze the possible improvement points of your proposed project. It will also help you to determine if the potential of your employees in terms of working on a project. It will also allow you to look and see if your employees will be receptive with this initiative.

18 Strategies on Motivating Your Staff to Improve Productivity

1. Introduce the Best Tools

2. Avoid Micromanaging

3. Conduct Skills Training

4. Encourage Taking Regular Breaks

5. Provide a Sense of Security

6. Do Not Lock Down Social Media

7. Share the Bigger Picture

8. Encourage Teamwork

9. Celebrate Results

10. Create a Family-Like Atmosphere

11. Establish Better Communication Within the Company

12. Encourage Self-Care

13. Recruit Better

14. Offer Great Perks

15. Try Out Remote Work

16. Stay Fueled

17. Recognize the Work of Employees

18. Help Your Employees Grow

1. Introduce the Best Tools

To improve their productivity approach, make sure to introduce them with the best productivity tools which will enhance their business performance. There are different types of productivity tools – collaboration tools, communication tools, and time tracking applications. Let us explore each one.

Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools are created to simplify and promote teamwork. They are perfect when employees are working together in a particular project. It is an essential avenue for the workers to be able to work together in real-time. By doing so, ideas come more naturally, and team chemistry improves. Some examples of collaboration tools range from project management apps and file storage and access apps such as Trello, Google Drive, and Basecamp.

Communication Tools

There are some companies which are practicing remote work. In this kind of setup, communication applications are a must. Yes, emails can be a go-to strategy, but individual messages usually get lost within countless of email threads. Hence, the best way to go about this is to use instant messaging applications which will enable you to organize and track all of your messages more conveniently. Most of these digital platforms also allow file sharing to streamline the workflow.

Time-Tracking Applications

Time tracking applicationsOpens in a new tab. enable companies to track the team’s hours and productivity rates. The data obtained from this can be used to come up with strategies which will improve workplace efficiency. For example, if you the time tracking application sends data that shows that a particular department is not efficient enough, you can use this to replan and redistribute their work so that they can be more productive.

2. Avoid Micromanaging

“The best way to encourage productivity is to encourage individuals to take ownership of how they manage their time and resources. It is a wonderfully self-correcting process: we want people who are self-starters and can operate independently. Granting workers freedom over when, how, and where they work creates a proof of their work ethic in a way that trying to control them cannot,” shares Robby Slaughter, a famous productivity expert.

According to Slaughter, some employees feel untrusted whenever their manager micromanageOpens in a new tab. them. They think that they have to be overseen overtime since they won’t be able to deliver excellently if not. It is also backed up by several types of research which state that most people are more motivated by autonomy than any financial reward. It says that managers should trust their employees to manage their day-to-day operations rather than doing their tasks for them.

So, how would you know if you are a micromanager? Here are six signs:

1. You keep track of their mini tasks instead of just reviewing their final output.

2. You check up on them hourly.

3. You always remind them to submit on their deadlines.

4. You keep track of their time ins and time outs.

5. You require them to work with you all of the time.

6. You force yourself to do their work.

3. Conduct Skills Training

Training is vital when it comes to improving productivity. If employees receive these series of training, they will feel more valued by the company. A 2013 study by the International Journal Science and Research found that training is significantly beneficial for both employees and employers since this leads to better efficiency and productivity. It is also helpful for new hires since they will be able to be introduced to their work smoothly.

4. Encourage Taking Regular Breaks

Banging your head and forcing yourself for a solution to a problem for five straight hours is rarely productive. What’s more useful is when you take a step back and find time to recalibrate your brain. It is not only helpful in terms of keeping you motivated, but it is also crucial to your health. On the other hand, sitting all day is not suitable for you as well. Having breaks that are too long will only take away the momentum from doing your job.

The best way to go about this is for employers to encourage their employees to take regular breaks. Regular breaks refer to short breaks every hour or two. Stand up from your desk, stretch for a while, and grab some fresh air. It will have a positive effect on both your mind and body.

5. Provide a Sense of Security

Providing a sense of securityOpens in a new tab. does not mean installing many bouncers and security guards at the door. What we’re talking about is the sense of security of the employees wherein they feel secure enough to show their full selves and potential at work. The Psychological Theory can explain this.

The Psychological TheoryOpens in a new tab. states that there is a hierarchy of basic needs that each person needs to address before they are motivated enough to reach their full potential. These five states in order (from the bottom up to the top) are the following:

1st level: Psychological (food, water, sleep, etc.)

2nd level: Safety (physical and economic security)

3rd level: Love and Belonging (friendship, family, and social teams)

4th level: Esteem (respect, achievement, and recognition)

5th level: Self-Actualization (opportunity, learning, and challenge)

(See related video on OSW – Why Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Matters)

As you can see, safety comes after the basic needs of water, food, and sleep. Once the employees feel secure, they are more likely to feel more motivated and confident to reach their full potential.

6. Do Not Lock Down Social Media

Some employers prohibit even ban the use of social media in the office since they feel that this is only a distraction in work, hence lowering employee productivity. However, experts say that this should not be the case.

Employees are known to use social media for different reasons. Some use this when taking a mental break; others drown themselves in this channel to support their professional connections, while others are just there to slack off. But locking down social media is not seen to cause productivity boost but are known to be a morale killer.

Why is it a morale killer? Implementing strict and deadly rules surrounding social media only sends a message that the employers do not trust the employees. At the same time, they see it as employer power abuse instead of just a simple office rule.

A study by Evolv found out that social media ‘power users’ are known to be better multitaskers. They are also known to be good at juggling various tasks which can help accomplish their jobs.

Maybe the best way on how to go about this is to make them know a perfect balance. Highlight the importance of knowing when to use and not use social media. By doing this, you’ll all be able to reap the benefits of this digital era. Just remember, do not lock down social media.

7. Share the Bigger Picture

A huge part in convincing employees that their jobs are for a bigger purpose is by sharing to the larger picture. It is a way to boost their motivation by ensuring that these individuals know and understand how each of their efforts impacts everyone – the organization, the customers, their co-employees, and the community.

Being transparent is also a part of this initiative. Every relationship, including work relationships, should use trust as a foundation. Transparency includes revealing what lies ahead in this bigger picture. For example, is the organization on track in reaching their specific goals, or are there challenges that the business is facing, which might be a hindrance in the growth of the company? Knowing this will enable your employees to plan their career path.

8. Encourage Teamwork

Teamwork is one of the most useful motivators in the work setting. It is a great deal and a marvelous feeling for you to know that your colleagues are your cheerleader and that they will have your back. At times when your motivation is at its all-time low, you can always ask help from your teammates.

In the recent Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture ReportOpens in a new tab. of the TINYpulse team, they found out that the number one reason for employees to go the extra mile in their career is through the help of the peers. It also shows that employee happiness and the kind of peer relationships at work, rather than the working relationship with direct managers or supervisors, have a positive correlation.

To be able to maximize this opportunity as business owners, make sure to structure a work environment which encourages teamwork. Not being able to provide a team working atmosphere will only discourage your workers from getting up the ladder and reach for more.

9. Celebrate Results

The reason for establishing measurable goals is for the employees to have opportunities to celebrate all of their hard work. Rejoicing does not entail an extravagant party or expensive buffet meal; it is enough to give a shout out, recognize the hard work, place celebratory posts in the office, or prepare a small gift basket.

When giving out your applause to a particular worker, make sure to be as specific as possible. Do not just tell them that they have done an excellent job. It is also not enough to give them recognition for a great job in conducting their email campaign strategy. The best way to deal with this is to tell them that they have not only done a great job on the email campaign, but they have also contributed to the improvement and better efficiency of their customer pipeline.

Remember, applaud the specific success and the impact it has done both to themselves, the business, and the customers.

10. Create a Family-Like Atmosphere

Having a family-like atmosphere does not necessarily mean that you have to treat the workers the same way you would approach and treat your parents and siblings. It is more similar to how you treat your extended family members such as your cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, and aunts.

Yes, there are instances that you cannot stand your family members. There are even times that you talk ill about them. However, you are still willing to protect them whenever other people speak negatively about them. This approach should also be the same way with how you treat other staff members. It is crucial that your workers know that you will always have their back, no matter what you feel about them.

If your employees feel that the company is willing to fight for their rights, they will most likely be motivated to work for the business in return.

11. Establish Better Communication Within the Company

Your employees won’t be motivated with their work if they only know your name and face through emails or newsletters. What matters is that you keep an open line of communication which will enable you to be able to have a more personalized and emotional relationship with your workers. It will also ensure that it will be more comfortable for them to talk to you in person.

Once they believe that you are open to criticism, feedback, or constant updates, they will feel more valued as employees of the company. It can also be an avenue for you to show your appreciation for their hard work and ask for their input regarding work. Having excellent communication between you and your employees will not only empower them but also improve their performance and increase their productivity.

12. Encourage Self-Care

For the past years, the number of employees who calls in sick to work because of stress increased by three times. The American Institute of Stress defines this work stressOpens in a new tab. as “occupational work pressures and fears.”

When your team is stressed, whether it is physically, emotionally, or mentally, everybody loses since the employees are less productive. Hence, the role of employers is to encourage their team without having to spoon feed them. It means doing all the things that are critical when it comes to fostering communicative and a healthy company culture. Some of which are the following:

  • – You should find time to listen to your employees. The way to do this is to set aside at least one or two days per week where you can meet with particular members of the team to ask how they are doing. You should also ensure them that your door is always open if they are in need.

  • – You should also always offer them constructive feedback. Make sure to inform them of how they are doing in terms of their submitted deliverables. They should also receive evaluations on how they are performing when it comes to their soft skills.

  • – You should also try giving the employees challenging yet meaningful work. Researches say that the employees get more stressed if they are doing repetitive and routinized work – work which does not require that much thinking. To be able to feel their value and growth in the company, they should start trying out challenging jobs.

  • – You should also help them set both their personal and professional goals. They should be able to establish clear parameters in reaching these goals. It has to be measurable as well so that they’ll feel more fulfilled with their work.

13. Recruit Better

Employee productivity goes hand in hand with company culture. If people are not fit with the ins and outs of the culture of the organization, the tendency is that they will not be able to deliver. Focusing on cultural fit before the employees log their first working hour can save money and time down the road.

For example, a company called ZapposOpens in a new tab. revealed that instead of approaching hiring as a typical recruitment process, they treat it more like a courtship. Alongside measuring their soft and hard skills, they are also screen applicants depending on how well they fit in with the company’s norm and family core values.

“While on the surface, the cultural fit may not seem like a critical factor in the hiring process, it is arguably one of the most important selection criteria. Conversely, nabbing an employee that does fit your company culture is likely to energize other employees. This results in increased motivation and productivity,” says Keith Tatley, the Founding Manager of Zappos.

14. Offer Great Perks

Technological giants such as Google and Facebook understand the role of great perks, so pay attention. These companies are known to provide an unusual kind of office setup. They place massage rooms, complimentary haircut rooms, and nap pods. A bit too much for you? I don’t think so.

A recent Glassdoor survey reveals four out of five workers prefer more perks than experiencing a pay raise. Remember, you don’t have to be a multinational company to be able to afford these perks. If you’re still doubtful about how to go about this, here are some examples of the perks which are offered by some companies to their best employees:

  • – Burton gives out free ski passes.

  • – NutraClick subsidizes memberships in selected gyms.

  • – REI provides two full days off to do the things their employees are passionate with.

  • – eMarketer gives out rare business books for free.

  • – Twillo gives out Kindle tablets and monthly stipends for them to use for their books.

  • – Tesla gives discounts up to 35 percent on movie tickets.

15. Try Out Remote Work

Remote workOpens in a new tab. refers to work done outside the usual office environment. Workers do their duties either at the comfort of their homes or in coffee shops or anywhere the employee wants. According to studies, this setup enables more workers to log more hours, perform better, take less sick leaves, be more engaged, and in general are more productive at work.

Aside from this, the side effects of remote work lead to lower costs and higher savings for businesses. For one, they don’t need to pay for additional rent since the employees do not have to stay at the office all the time. At the same time, the increased productivity of the employees leads to more profits for the company.

Surprisingly, companies are catching on to this trend. From 2014 to 2018, Gallup reports that the number of employees who are working remotely spiked from 35 percent to a whopping 53 percent. The Global Workplace Analytics survey backed this by saying that there is a 103 percent growth among non-self-employed telecommuters in the world over the last ten years.

16. Stay Fueled

It is difficult to work productively and stay focused whenever a particular person is hungry or thirsty. That’s why there is a need for employers to keep all of their employees well fed, hydrated, and in some instances, caffeinated.

Unfortunately, there are times that some workers forget to take their meals since they are so engrossed with their work. They feel that squeezing their lunch into their timetable will only delay them from finishing their work. In reality, however, this is not great for their health, and it’s even worse for their work productivity.

Keeping healthy snacks around the workplace can be one strategy in helping the team maintain their energy levels for a more productive day. At the same time, some offices even have a rule wherein at a particular time of the day, and workers are not allowed to do any work. Instead, they have to take a break and have lunch.

17. Recognize the Work of Employees

One of the most vital factors in employee motivation is the frequency of the top management in recognizing their work. Seventy percent of workers say that the increased recognition of managers to them would improve both their motivation and morale massively.

It is not something surprising. After all, if an employee places a lot of effort into a project to be able to deliver exceptional results but turns out that their hard work won’t be recognized, what’s the point of continuing their high performance? It is also not enough to laud excellent output; make sure to commend the growth and improvement a particular individual has achieved.

“Money is appropriate much of the time, but it is not the only – or even the most effective – motivator. Treat employees as valued team members, not as numbers,” shares Meghan M. BiroOpens in a new tab. to a TalentCulture post.

18. Help Your Employees Grow

Most employees do not want to do the same thing and stay in their positions forever. As a leader, it is crucial to promote career advancement opportunities to the people within the organization. To be able to do this, you have to analyze their goals and ambitions to know which strategy to help them with.

It is also crucial to assure your current employees that once higher positions open up in the company, they are the priority to hire before looking elsewhere.

Identifying the best motivation strategies which fit your company culture will not only attract and maintain the best talent, but it will also increase employee productivity within your company. Hence, to be as useful as possible, make sure to design a proposal which will benefit your current employees.

Related Questions

Why is increasing employee productivity crucial? It is essential to increase work productivity since companies suffer from these inefficiencies. A study suggests that disengaged and unproductive employees cost U.S. companies approximately $483 to $605 billion each year. To scale it per company, lost productivity costs are around 10 percent of the individual company costs. It is a considerable amount in the billing.

Is having happy employees helpful in boosting productivity? According to studies, there is a competitive advantage into having happy employees. The research revealed that happiness increases business productivity by approximately 31 percent. It also raises the company sales by around 37 to 40 percent per year. To prove, Shawn Anchor, a famous psychologist, shared the following, “A simple shift in bias towards positivity and happiness can have an immediate impact on your work experience and relationships, which are major factors in success, motivation, engagement, and productivity.”

Recent Posts