Motivation in HR - How to Motivate Employees

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How can HR motivate employees?

Motivating your employees is a challenge for all managers and HR professionals. Each staff team is unique, so no motivation or morale technique is going to be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ for every team or every employee. Maintaining employee engagement and motivation needs to be a process that is constantly reviewed and altered to maximise productivity and workplace morale.

Employee motivation goes much further than a motivational quote on the office wall – making sure your staff feel that their work is appreciated and their skills are valued on a day-to-day basis is crucial to motivate teams and individuals in the long term.

Employee morale can make-or-break a company’s ability to hit targets and milestones as your workers are the driving force of your business. It’s important that employee motivation isn’t the sole responsibility of line managers and sales targets. HR managers should be actively contributing to employee motivation to create a cohesive employee engagement model in the workplace.

What is the role of HR in employee motivation?

HR can play a fundamental role in encouraging employee morale and motivation. Having a motivated workforce is something that every employer wants and offering clear reward policies, development plans and progression paths is a proven way of motivating employees in the long-term. There are also many simple ways for HR to boost motivation of staff teams in the short-term, track changes in productivity and motivate team members at critical moments.

Rather than thinking solely in terms of extrinsic rewards like staff incentives, HR can motivate employees by providing the opportunities to voice feedback, work flexibly, track their performance and more. In a company-wide perspective, HR can promote the right work environment in-office and a productive company culture to ensure staff teams are encouraged to get the job done effectively and efficiently.

Striking the balance of employee motivation and employee morale can be tricky for HR managers. As HR professionals usually don’t see the progress of employees as closely as sales managers or line managers, effective communication should be in place between departments to ensure that the strategies and policies HR build are effective. Trying and testing different employee engagement, motivation and morale strategies is key!

It is also important to always bear in mind that what works for one staff member may not work for the rest of their team, so motivation and morale strategies must be adaptable to different circumstances. Team building activities are a great way to motivate teams and can build rapport between co-workers, making it easier to discern how strategies will work for different individuals.

What are the benefits of HR teams contributing to employee motivation strategies?

Motivating a company culture which values employee morale has a positive impact on every member of an organisation.

Encouraging leadership and high morale creates a greater sense of purpose and belonging for your employees in the workplace. From this, your staff are more likely to bring enthusiasm and innovation into their work, improving productivity and the ability to hit targets and meet deadlines.

Encouraging employee motivation and positive employee morale has the additional benefit of reducing business bottom line costs as motivated teams tend to have a decreased turnover rate, reduced cases of absenteeism and an improved employee retention.

What are the best methods and practices HR can put in place to motivate employees?

HR can provide effective ways to improve the satisfaction, motivation and productivity of your workers. From short term-reward strategies to long-term self-development plans, try and test the following policies and methods to motivate your workforce to optimise their performance and improve their skills.

HR Open-Door Policy

Whether your open-door is in-office or remote, offering your employees the opportunity to communicate with HR teams about their experience in the workplace is a key element to sustainable employee morale, motivation and satisfaction. Employees that feel valued and heard in their workplace are more likely to have an increased sense of loyalty to their managers and employers, leading to an increase in productivity and an improved attitude to their work.

Low employee morale can occur if team members do not feel that their concerns are being heard clearly. Communication is the best way to ensure your employees feel valued and that their feedback is being listened to. Encouraging a company culture where employees can approach HR with concerns and issues that they may have aids clear communication and an attitude of transparency between employees, managers and HR.

Effective communication boosts intrinsic motivation in the workplace due to an improved sense of employee satisfaction. Once your workers feel purpose in their work, their intrinsic motivation improves their overall performance and attitude, a win-win for employers and HR managers. Open-door communication can also be useful to manage employee expectations in their roles as your people can understand exactly how to progress in their position, leading to more happy employees and realistic goals.

Many employees may feel that they cannot voice an issue remotely as a ‘Google Meet’ or ‘Teams’ call can seem more formal than popping into an office. Be sure to make your staff are aware that your HR teams’ open-door policy is still available even whilst remote working and working from home.

Offer Clear Development Plans

Satisfaction and motivation in an employee’s work often comes from a sense of development, progression and purpose in the workplace. Recent studies indicate that development in an employees work is a key factor to encourage organisational commitment.

Career development is not only beneficial for the individual, but it is one of the most effective employee motivation strategies to implement. Employers and HR managers should show their employees how they can progress and grow in their job to improve employee experience and motivate their people to work towards achievable goals and benchmarks.

One-on-ones with your teams can help to identify weekly goals and quarterly goals for individuals. Long-term development strategies can also boost employee motivation by demonstrating that they have job security. Workplace stability improves job satisfaction as employees are not worried about their financial wellbeing and can focus on performing their jobs to the best of their ability.

Development plans motivate employees to commit to their work, encouraging leadership and team motivation, as your people can focus on self-development as a priority and motivate themselves to progress in your organisation. xcd offer a learning and development software solution for HR managers to design and implement development plans to motivate employees.

Make the effort to show your appreciation

Employees that go above and beyond for their employers should be rewarded effectively.

Offering incentives for employees is a great motivator for productivity, and who can blame them? Everyone loves a reward for a job well done. Though extrinsic rewards aren’t the be-all-and-end-all for employee satisfaction, especially in the long run, but they can make a difference in a particularly tough month or a busy period.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort or grand gestures to show appreciation, even a ‘thank you’ when you meet face-to-face or a shout out on the company group chat can motivate employees to keep up their good work. Employee recognition is fundamental for HR to show appreciation for their workforce and should be consistently practiced to maintain positive relationships in an organisation.

Of course, when we think of rewards, we automatically thing of tangibles. Motivational rewards such as additional holiday, salary raises, bonuses or even dinner vouchers can be useful for both long-term and short-term motivation. When motivation levels hit a lull, offer a short-term team incentive to boost individual and team morale. However, be wary that rewards schemes don’t turn into carrot-and-stick motivational tactics for your team. While rewards can be a quick-fix for low morale in work teams, long-term development strategies are better tools for HR to implement in an organisation.

xcd’s HT payroll software enables managers to work with HR to provide a clear and transparent rewards system for all employees and reduce instances of bias.

employee engagement pie chart

Performance reviews

Whether an employee is underperforming or achieving, performance reviews can be an invaluable tool to give your people a sense of their own development and where to improve. Performance reviews are important tools to consistently motivate your staff members. By embedding performance management into your company’s day-to-day processes, employees can monitor their own productivity and results and ensure they do not disengage with the wider benefits of being motivated in their work.

Performance management is a win-win for HR and employers, as employees motivate themselves to achieve their goals, morale sees consistent improvement. One-to-one goal-setting between employees and HR allows HR managers to monitor individual staff performance within an agreed time frame.

xcd’s performance management software is an invaluable tool for HR teams to track individual achievements in staff teams and reward hard work. Each team member’s hard work can be seen clearly using an intuitive self-service platform which enables employees and managers collaborative access to manage the performance management process.

Be flexible

Don’t fear- we’re not asking you to join a gymnastics class! Offering flexible working patterns for your employees shows your workforce that you trust them to get the job done.

COVID-19 has normalised flexible and remote working in most industries, but keeping up staff morale when you’re working with a remote team can be challenging. Consistent and effective communication with managers is crucial for HR to encourage and maintain a productive work environment throughout remote work. An important factor of this communication is to ensure employees working remotely do not feel micro-managed or demotivated away from the office.

Flexible working can be a great motivator for employees as they can benefit from balancing their work-life commitments. One employee may have family commitments, where another may be taking a remote class at a specific time each week. Offering flexible working to your teams provides your staff with more autonomy to strike the right work-life balance to benefit their well-being and make them more productive in their working hours.

xcd’s Time and Expenses Management software simplifies the process of time tracking and accounting for flexible working patterns in your workforce using 14 pre-loaded standard work cycles to provide complete flexibility for your employees.

Value your employee’s input

Involving your employees in consistent feedback can improve employee morale, provide new ideas and innovative methods to benefit your organisation. When employees see that their feedback is being heard and actioned in their workplace, it can motivate loyalty to the organisation in the workforce. With improved loyalty and satisfaction, a business can see increased productivity and morale in their workforce as well as a decrease in turnover.

Employee feedback is valuable resource for business insights as your workers can highlight where day-to-day operations can be streamlined. Using regular employee feedback to motivate innovative business operations can future-proof productivity and morale as it enables policies to be consistently reviewed in line with different events which may occur. This method of consistent feedback is especially useful in a small business where each employee plays a fundamental role in the running of the business.

Another method of implementing employee feedback as a factor of HR strategy to motivate staff teams is to offer peer-to-peer reviews between co-workers. Having peer-to-peer reviews allows your workforce to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their co-workers, improving future teamwork and motivating a company culture which promotes reflection on performance.

69% of business leaders agree that reward and recognition is the most important area of employee experience. xcd Appreciation software enables peer-to-peer recognition, completely customisable to the organisation and providing key data and insights. Learn more below: