10 Essential Principles for Keeping Employees Motivated and Engaged

10 Simple Workplace motivation tips

Keeping employees motivated and engaged takes work - there's plenty of commitment and attention required. Employers who really want to get the best out of their people really can't afford to take their eye off the ball.

That said, it doesn't always need grand gestures and lots of effort. There are plenty of remarkably simple ways for employers to keep staff motivated and engaged - are you neglecting any of these basics?


Keep your employees updated on developments, goals and targets through regular team and town hall meetings; but at the same time, don't have your employees drowning in meeting requests!

Constant communication through a variety of channels is essential to employee motivation. If face-to-face meetings are tricky to coordinate, make use of other channels, such as your intranet or internal magazine to get the word out on what's happening.

People who feel out of the loop about what's going on will struggle to really engage with the workplace - it's easy to feel like you're not all that respected if you're not told about what's going on. And without knowing what you're working towards, it can be tough to stay on task.

2. Rally team members to help fellow employees

If an employee is stuck on a particular problem, rally your team members to help them solve the issue. Take an hour and spend some time brainstorming ideas - several fresh pairs of eyes may help come up with new ideas or ways of implementing previously dismissed suggestions.

It's the mark of a more negative workplace culture if people feel like they can't go to other people for help out of fear of looking bad - or if pleas for help fall on deaf ears. Encouraging collaboration and teamwork is essential for a great workplace culture.

3. Emphasise the importance of looking after themselves

Stress, whether caused by the job or outside of the job, has a significant impact on your employees’ motivation levels. Encourage your employees to look after themselves through exercise and nutrition by organising healthy, active events and laying on healthy food and bottled water, rather than fizzy drinks and cakes in meetings.

If your employee benefit programme offers health and wellness benefits then make sure these are properly communicated and promoted. It's also important to take ill health - including mental health - seriously, and be accepting when staff need time off work. 

4. Give regular one-on-one feedback

When your employees doubt their abilities, they can easily become demotivated. And when employees loose their motivation, they're more inclined to leave. So, it’s important to give regular one-on-one feedback that lets them know how well they're doing, and what they need to do to improve. A key part of a workplace that's engaging and motivating is one that gives people access to their managers and senior leaders for feedback such as this - feeling like you're being kept at arms length isn't good for anyone.


It’s well known that a single approach to reward won’t appeal with everyone, so spend some time getting to know your employees. If you’re looking for motivation and reward ideas, then use a motivation survey -  or simply ask questions such as “What motivates you to work for this company?” or “What type of incentives would you choose as a reward?” over a coffee.

It's often the case that larger companies only really get to know what motivates and engages employees once they decide to leave. Sure, an exit interview will give you invaluable insights into what it's really like to work for a business, but why wait until then?

Staff social events - whether they involve a work element or are simply to unwind - are also a fantastic way to get to know people better, forming stronger bonds between employees and leaders across all levels of the company.

Everyone's different, after all - and everyone will have different needs for what will motivate them best.

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6. Say thank you

Nothing can beat a simple, personal thank you when your employee has put in extra effort on a project, or to achieve a mutually agreed goal. Immediate and specific acknowledgement of what your employee did, and why it was appreciated, can be a great motivator.

You can also follow up by acknowledging your employee in a staff meeting, or through a formal employee recognition scheme, as these are also great ways to show your appreciation for a job well done. But the everyday thank yous are essential for keeping people motivated and engaged on a day-to-day basis, and for creating a culture that celebrates success in all its forms.

7. Flexible work schedules

Flexible work schedules help your employees achieve a better work/life balance, and can reduce stress and time off for illness as a result. You don’t need to offer shifts, but allowing some flexibility - such as starting and finishing 15 minutes later to accommodate the school run, or allowing annual leave purchase - can mean a lot to your employees.

8. Peer-to-peer nominations

If you have an employee recognition scheme, make sure that you include peer nominations.

Peer nominations are often seen to have more value to employees as they come from colleagues who have seen first-hand the contribution your employee has made.They also mean that recognition goes further than when it just comes from management - after all, even the best manager in the world can't keep on top of everything each member of their team does well every single day. Ask the nominator to explain what their colleague did as part of their nomination to showcase best practice.

9. Recognise staff

Recognising staff for a specific achievement or ongoing contribution can increase motivation and boost productivity. Rewards don’t have to be expensive - they can be as simple as leaving a note on your employee’s desk, or a voucher for coffee and a cake.

Take us here at Sodexo for example; we offer a coveted, pride of place car parking space as part of our in house scheme! Daft as it may sound, small, often slightly silly things can make a big difference!

10. Encourage participation

Involve your staff in team decisions where appropriate. Involving your team members in the decision-making process gives them a sense of control over their own destiny and a say in how the team can reach its goals and targets - essential for keeping people motivated to see the company succeed.

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