5 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated at Work

What strategies can managers use to increase their team’s productivity and performance?

Keeping employees motivated is a challenge that all leaders face at some point. It could be a person or a group of people that you have noticed beginning to struggle with their work tasks, submitting lower quality work or falling behind on checkpoints. Although we can feel as though their happiness at work is something caused by a mental bug and that they may need to suck it up and snap out of it, this mindset is counterproductive.

Unlocking the potential of your team is no easy feat. However, there have been many studies conducted on employee motivation and workplace culture that point to practical actions for improving the issue.

Let’s dive straight into them.


The first thing a manager can do is find effective rewards. These are external motivators that suit a short-to-medium term period as an incentive for achieving a goal. For example, you may have a quarterly retreat to celebrate achieving a performance mark or offer to shout lunch for reaching a sales target. Avoid rewards that undermine the goal you’ve reached, as this will undo some of your hard work.


Another tactic to keep employees motivated at work is to break goals into smaller sub-goals. Lack of sustained progress is a common cause of lost motivation. When starting out towards a new goal, people typically have a burst of motivation early, a slump in the middle when things get challenging and push hard again when the end is in sight.

Research has uncovered that “short middles” can counteract this behaviour pattern. For example, having weekly instead of quarterly sales targets means there’s less time to succumb to a slump.


This one uses mind trickery to change the way you think about the progress you’ve achieved. Have you ever noticed when you get close to finishing a task, your effort increases to get it done?

It’s a psychological tendency you can use to promote motivation. When a task gets stuck or stale, remind yourself of how much you’ve already done up to the midpoint and turn your attention to the remaining work left. Research has shown that this shift in perspective can increase motivation.


Everyone we spend time with has an effect on our behaviour and actions. When it comes to work environments, the benefit of having high performing workers extends beyond their individual output — it also has a positive effect on their colleagues. Even sitting next to a high-performing employee can increase productivity.

However, the effect on motivation is more complicated. It can either leave a person inspired to strive harder or demotivate them under the assumption they are not as good. To overcome this, have peers talk to each other about what they are trying to accomplish with their hard work and why they would recommend doing it. Listening to a mentor or role model can help someone discover their own goals and find inspiration.


Our last piece of advice to keep employees motivated at work also harnesses the power of social influence — this time it’s the positive affirmation we gain from teaching someone else a skill or sharing knowledge. Research found that when someone gave advice on a task they were struggling with, they laid out a clear pathway for themselves to follow, thereby spurring action and overcoming motivational deficits.


Keeping employees motivated in the insurance and claims industry can be challenging but persevering is worth the reward. If you can start to implement even one or two of these actions into your management style, you will start to notice positive changes in your organisation’s culture and workplace environment. If this topic interests you, learn more on Remote Recognition: How To Celebrate Employees From A Distance and 5 Tips in 5 Minutes: Building a Mentally Healthy Workplace.

GB’s injury management team can assist you to get the best commercial and human outcomes possible, for your business and for your people. Find out more about us today!

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This publication is not intended to offer legal advice or client-specific risk management advice. General descriptions contained herein do not include complete definitions, terms, and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for claims management interpretation. Actual claims and risk management policies must always be consulted for full coverage details and analysis.


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