Skip to content

How to Build Employee Motivation in Your Business

7 min read
hr management discussing how to build employee motivation

A motivated employee bounces out of bed in the morning, raring to go. They’re excited and enthusiastic, and their energy rubs off on everyone around them. They’re willing to learn, taking on new projects and often, their vision for their own future aligns with your business’s.

On the other hand, a demotivated employee might be late, negative, distant and sometimes absent from work altogether. What’s worse, a demotivated employee isn’t an isolated issue. An individual can often create a hostile atmosphere within a whole team, and where they’re losing productivity, others have to pick up their slack, leading to increased stress.

At its heart, motivation is our reason for acting or behaving a certain way. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind highly motivated employees, bringing the levels of energy, commitment, drive, and creativity they do and look at ways to boost motivation in your business.


Why is Employee Motivation Important?

Not only are motivated employees brimming with energy and enthusiasm, but they also offer immense advantages to your business.

They’re more productive, display higher employee retention rates, and inject positive energy into the team. Highly engaged teams have been reported to be 21% more profitable and 17% more productive. As a result, organisations dedicate considerable time and effort to deciphering the most effective methods of inspiring and motivating their employees.

To do this, we must start by understanding more about what motivates people.

What are the Different Types of Motivation?

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is engaging in an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than seeking external rewards or pressures.

Instead of focusing solely on external outcomes or incentives, it is driven by the enjoyment, challenge, job satisfaction, or fulfilment that the activity provides. Intrinsic motivation stems from an internal desire to explore, learn, and experience personal growth, leading to a deeper and more meaningful engagement with the activity.

Extrinsic Motivation

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is motivation from external factors like meeting specific goals, seeking approval, winning competitions, or receiving rewards or compensation.

It’s driven by the desire to attain external outcomes or incentives associated with the activity. Extrinsic motivation can be effective in driving behaviour. Still, it may not always foster a deep sense of fulfilment or sustained engagement compared to intrinsic motivation, which tends to be more potent because it comes from internal desires and personal satisfaction.

two hiring managers discussing strategies to build employee motivation

How to Measure Motivation


An eNPS score is typically gaged over a month and is calculated by taking the percentage of ‘promoters’ in your workforce and subtracting the number of ‘detractors’. These are determined by asking employees to score how likely they would be to recommend your company as a place to work from 1 to 10. The categories that scorers fall into are as follows:

  • Promoters: Score 9-10
  • Passives: Score 7-8
  • Detractors: Score 0-6

A good eNPS score is considered between 10 and 30, with 30 being excellent.


You can gather more in-depth feedback on employee motivation by conducting regular anonymous surveys on how they feel about the company and their role, as well as questions that will help you understand their motivation better. These can include:

  • How stimulating do you find your day-to-day tasks?
  • How inspired do you feel by your work goals?
  • How well do you think you’re growing in your role?

Text-based answers will allow you to draw insights from across the workforce and gain more understanding of any perceived blockers to employee engagement and motivation.

Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Absenteeism is regularly staying away from work without good reason, and presenteeism is turning up to work without being productive. Both can be signs of low motivation.

Absenteeism is relatively easy to measure with staff attendance data, but presenteeism will be more anecdotal. Keep an eye on both in your team, and if you think they’re increasing, it’s worth considering the cause and how you can better motivate your employees.


Happy, motivated, and fulfilled employees will likely strive to deliver their best which will be reflected in the performance of your teams. Demotivated employees tend to be careless, make mistakes, and miss KPIs and OKRs.

Not all employees fall so rigidly into these camps, however. So, when using performance to measure employee motivation, it’s important not to take data in isolation but instead look at the ongoing trends. Fluctuations in employee performance over time will paint you a clearer picture of changes in motivation.

How to Improve Employee Motivation

Let’s look at some effective employee motivation techniques and strategies you can use to motivate employees in your company.

Foster an Amazing Culture

Company culture is inextricably linked to employee motivation. A culture deeply embedded in how an organisation does things reflects its values, mission, and objectives. It will attract employees whose values align with them, intrinsically motivating them to perform well.

hr holding 1-to-1 meetings to help build employee motivation

But a strong company culture goes beyond that. A culture that drives employee motivation shows appreciation for employees’ achievements, encourages success, and makes them feel supported and valued.

Culture isn’t built overnight. It comes from repeated actions and behaviours over time. If your business has an issue with employee motivation, it could be worth taking a step back to look at your culture more closely. Think about which values could keep employees motivated long-term.

Create a Positive Work Environment

Your organisation’s work environment is also vital if you want to boost employee motivation. A positive environment can boost productivity, whereas a poor environment can lead to distractions.

Essentially, you need to create a space people want to be in and make them physically comfortable when working. Here are some ways to improve your physical work environment:

  • Get comfortable furniture.
  • Introduce indoor plants.
  • Consider the lighting.
  • Reduce background noise.
  • Think about the temperature.
  • Spruce up your interior design.

Remember, how your teams and employees feel most about their work environment might differ depending on the individual. For example, women prefer slightly warmer temperatures, while men favour a cooler environment; pregnant women and women going through menopause will also have different needs. While it’s challenging to satisfy everyone, you can ensure you have some fans and heaters for those who need them.

Considering your team’s work-life balance also falls into this area. Balancing work and personal life is essential for maintaining employee motivation. A work environment that promotes work-life balance helps your teams stay well-rested, healthy, positive, and happy, and motivated employees can cope better with adversity and stress.


Encourage Teamwork

One of the key ways to make employees feel motivated is by promoting teamwork. When employees work together towards common goals, it fosters a sense of unity, collaboration, and shared purpose.

Contrary to popular belief, teamwork actually starts with well-defined responsibilities for individuals. People can function much better in a team when they understand their role within it, and it also reduces the potential for people to step on each other’s toes and create unhealthy competition.

Once everyone knows their place within a team, it takes a healthy dose of trust, clear and frequent communication, and a supportive environment that recognises everyone’s value. Don’t forget trust needs to be built outside the team as well as within it. For it to be most successful, your team members must have autonomy and be able to make decisions and learn from mistakes.

Develop a Culture of Innovation and Creativity.

A culture that encourages innovation and creativity will increase employee motivation, and employee motivation will help maintain your culture of innovation and creativity. It’s a chicken or egg scenario in this case. Luckily, there are some steps you and your business can take to build the bedrock where these things can thrive in your organisation.

We’ll discuss recognition and reward in more depth later on, but this is a powerful tool to help you positively reinforce the behaviour you want to see from your teams. Encourage, recognise and reward thinking outside the box, new ideas, and different ways of doing things, while also creating an environment where their challenged and discussed. Actively listen, be genuinely interested in opinions and ideas and provide constructive feedback.

You might also want to try teaching innovation to your teams. We often think of innovation as something that strikes a lucky few out of nowhere โ€“ a burst of creativity that hits when we least expect it โ€“ but true innovation is surprisingly process driven and very teachable. Take a look at Adobe’s Kickbox Methodology, one of the most popular and successful innovation frameworks.

employees at a startup feeling motivated by the creative culture at work

Provide Training and Learning Opportunities

Employees looking to develop themselves want to do their jobs better. Once they have gone through their training, the idea is that they’ll be able to apply that learning to their role, improving their job performance and feeling more satisfied and motivated by their work. This kind of development should be the building block of progression towards promotion and financial reward.

A successful employee development programme will be unique to your business and the goal and objectives you want to achieve. However, if you want your training opportunities to build motivation amongst your teams, your programme needs to meet the needs of your employees too.

Recognise and Reward Great Work

Implementing a system of recognition and reward in your business doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated and can be a great tool to help boost self-esteem, confidence and willingness to take on new challenges in your teams. It’s also been shown to impact motivation directly; a study by Officevibe found that up to 69% of employees have higher motivation if their efforts are recognised at their workplace.

Recognition should go beyond congratulating day-to-day tasks well done. It should also focus on acknowledging members of your team who go above and beyond for your company culture, championing teamwork, or upholding the values of the business. Recognition helps individuals feel valued by their employer and appreciated for their contributions to the business’s success.

Similarly, rewarding employees helps to maintain motivation. It’s essential to recognise that while rewards don’t have to be financial, they do have to be seen as worth the effort. Any rewards programme also needs to be transparent and consistent to be successful.

Ask for Feedback

We all need feedback to understand if we’re achieving our objectives or if the methodology needs improving, and the same is true if you’re working on improving your employees’ motivation. Seek feedback, learn from it and refine your strategy to improve it as you go along โ€“ you’ll be pleased you did!

Employee Motivation with Factorial

With Factorial, we can help you track the KPIs of motivation among your employees all in one place.

Our all-in-one software provides various tools, including the ones we’ve spoken about in this article such as eNPS surveys, 360 performance management software, attendance monitoring and various employee feedback mechanisms that can paint a complete picture of your team’s motivation over time.

Jessie is an experienced content creator and copywriter specialising in technology and telecommunications. She comes to the HR technology space keen to exercise a passion for people and the human resources industry.

Related posts