How to Motivate Your Employees

How employees look at their jobs greatly affects their performance in the workplace. Low job satisfaction leads to high turnover which can cost the company up to 150% of an employee’s yearly salary. High job satisfaction can lead to increased productivity and behaviors that exceed the call of duty. By motivating employees in the proper ways, employees are more satisfied in their jobs which is positive for all parties involved.

Meet Employee Needs

It is important for employee retention that their needs are continually met. An employer should assess what an employee’s needs are and try to accommodate them. In relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, an employer should try to help an employee meet their esteem and self-actualization needs. Other needs also include the need for achievement and affiliation. These needs, when met, increase job satisfaction and motivate employees to do better work.

Keep Employees Satisfied

Keeping employees satisfied is based on increasing motivators and decreasing negative factors. By giving employees opportunities for achievement, recognition, stimulating work, responsibility, and advancement, they become satisfied with their work, increasing job satisfaction.

On the flip side, what is potentially even more important is decreasing negative factors that could hinder employee satisfaction. Negative factors such as poor company policies and administration, salary, interpersonal relationships, and working conditions can severely hurt work productivity.

Treat Employees Fairly

Fairness is determined by comparing equity ratios of outcomes to inputs. This can be illustrated in equal pay for equal work and keeping ratios equal. But another factor to keep in mind is it is perceived fairness over what is reality that affects employee performance. Perceptions of unfairness lead to less motivation, anger, and dissatisfaction. Managers should proactively manage employees’ perceptions of equity and fairness. This applies to how resources and rewards are distributed, how procedures make allocation decisions, and the quality of the interpersonal treatment people receive when procedures are implemented.

Manage Employee Expectations

Managing employee expectations comes down to convincing them of the relationship between effort, performance, and outcome. If your employees put in the effort, their performance should increase, therefore, the long-term outcome should be positive. This can take shape in rewarding employees who have been exceeding expectations by putting in the effort and demonstrating strong performance levels.

Help Employees Set SMART Goals

Employees should be encouraged to set goals for themselves that follow the SMART acronym. Goals should be Specific and quantifiable; it should be clear when the goal is met. Goals should be Measurable, meaning progress should be measurable throughout the process. Goals should be Attainable and realistic; make sure they are possible. Goals should have specific Results in mind. Finally, goals should be Time-bound; there needs to be a deadline in order that the employee is always working towards it. These five guidelines help set SMART goals that increase workplace performance.


Employers need to motivate their employees in the proper ways in order to maximize employee potential. By meeting employee needs, keeping employees satisfied, treating employees fairly, managing employee expectations, and helping employees set SMART goals, a manager can encourage exceptional performance and reduce turnover. Everyone benefits when an employer motivates their employees the proper way. By working to follow these motivational guidelines, you can increase your employees’ motivation and create a better working environment for everyone involved.

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