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The Employee Experience: 10 Tips to Motivate Your Team


The start of a new year brings new resolutions. While your team may already be motivated to reach new health and wellness goals, finally start reading again, or dedicate some time to their art, why not bring that motivation into the workplace too? Here are 10 tips we’ve curated, based on our expertise, to motivate your team in the new year and ensure an even better employee experience!


1. Pay attention to their Language of Appreciation

Thanks to the research of behavioral psychologist Dr. Gary Chapman, we know that effectively showing appreciation to your employees can increase employee retention and engagement. Make a point to learn each of your employees’ Languages of Appreciation and communicate with them in that language. Need a quick refresher on the Languages of Appreciation? Check out our blog post.


2. Coordinate off-site activities

We spend almost a quarter of our adult lives at work. Cultivating friendships with your coworkers may not seem like a necessity, but according to research from Harvard Business Review and Gallup, individuals who have a close friend at work are more engaged in their jobs and perform better. Happy hours on a Friday afternoon or taking a long lunch to go bowling, or another team building activity, help to turn coworkers into friends. By setting up events out of the office, you are setting up your employees for success.


3. Reward them with a sweet treat

Who doesn’t love a donuts, cookies, etc? Food remains one of the best motivators, and having a delicious reward to look forward to will keep motivation high. Try to use this as a prize – if your team completes a customer service goal by Friday, managers will bring in donuts for their team. Just remember to make it a challenging but attainable goal! Unachievable goals are de-motivating.


4. Give the gift of time

Time may be the most precious resource we have, so why not give the gift of it to your valued employees? Whether it is a few hours off on a Friday afternoon or giving an additional day of PTO around the holidays, the extra time they spend with friends and family will be a cherished bonus.


5. Provide verbal recognition and feedback

While each employee’s language of appreciation will differ (check out tip #1), verbal recognition is one way to recognize employees that spans almost every personality. As a manager, make sure you are providing positive verbal feedback at least once a month to keep your employees motivated and engaged. Try to incorporate some of the following phrases into your regular dialog with employees:

  • “Excellent work on that project – I am glad to have you on the team.”
  • “Thank you for your contribution – we couldn’t have done it without you.”
  • “I appreciate all you are doing to help things go smoothly.”


6. Send a virtual badge of recognition

As social recognition becomes an integral part of the employee experience, sending virtual badges of recognition is necessary. These badges not only help your direct report to feel valued individually, but also publicly send and displays messages of thanks to a company-wide newsfeed. This helps to extend those moments of recognition to the whole team. Better yet, that recognition moment can live on in your employee’s Trophy Case to be remembered forever! Check out MTM’s Carousel for a social recognition platform that can do it all.


7. Weekly one-on-ones with each team member 

Planning individual meetings with your direct reports helps for multiple reasons. First, it creates a window for open communication. Ask them about what projects are going well, which projects might be stalled and why, and what they may need guidance on. Second, one-on-ones provide time for the employee to ask questions in a private setting when they have your undivided attention. Finally, they allow an opportunity for you as manager to provide recognition and words of praise to your direct report. Employees who feel recognized and appreciated are more motivated!


8. Acknowledge the smaller moments, like non-milestone service anniversaries

One of the most common recognition mishaps we see is not recognizing at all during non-milestone years and birthdays. Sadly, these are often passed by without so much as a “congrats” or “happy birthday.” While it is vital to employee engagement that you recognize for milestone years of service, recognizing for smaller moments can be just as important! Make a list of your employees’ service anniversaries and birthdays, or better yet, incorporate a software like MTM’s Moments that sends email reminders to managers reminding them of an upcoming birthday or service anniversary on the team.


9. Add a little friendly competition with a leaderboard

Looking to motivate your employees to go above and beyond? Incorporate a leaderboard into your office to add some gamification to your daily routine. You could have a leaderboard for sales numbers, for most recognition badges sent, or even most cupcakes eaten – the possibilities are endless! MTM’s social recognition platform, Carousel, can help with this too by inspiring your team to not only earn the most recognition, but also recognize their coworkers the most!


10. Learn what makes your employees tick 

What is your employee’s favorite project to work on? Do they work best in a team or on their own? Do they enjoy what they do? By making sure you know the answers to these questions, you can turn a job into a career and create an employee experience they will love. With meaningful work being a top motivator for Millennials, who are now the largest generation in the workforce (1 in 3 US workers to be exact*), this is something to pay particular interest to. There is a direct correlation between a positive employee experience and increased productivity. Working on projects they enjoy with a team they like will not only keep them engaged in the work, but motivated to work harder and further you company’s mission.


Bonus Tip: To foster a great employee experience, make sure you are recognizing your employees at least 6 times a year to keep them engaged!

*Source: Pew Research

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