Employees and pensions

Employee motivation: The most important dos and don’ts

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How do you promote the motivation of your employees at work? With these dos and don’ts for companies, you will motivate your employees over the long term and create a pleasantly productive company culture. And on top of this, you can even become the favorite boss.

We all know how it is – nothing at work works as it’s supposed to. The computer strikes after the latest update. The major sales meeting doesn’t end in a deal. A customer is not satisfied with the service they received. Despite the greatest effort, the desired results don’t materialize. What helps? Staying calm, focused, and motivated at work. AXA’s motivation offers for SMEs will support you in creating a motivating work environment for your employees.

Dos: How to increase employee motivation

Regardless of how good your product is or how highly regarded your company is in the industry: The main capital you have to differentiate yourself from the competition is your employees. That’s why it is all the more essential that your employees are satisfied and motivated at work. We have put together the most important tips for you for how to increase employee motivation at your SME.

Tip 1: Motivate individually and promote talent

Employees want to be perceived and treated as individuals. The better you know your employees, the easier it will be for you to motivate them personally.

  • Motivate individually and based on the various types of personalities
  • Listen attentively to your employees in employee reviews and meetings
  • Show empathy in how you manage your employees and build an emotional connection with your staff.
  • Show interest in your employees and take their needs and ideas seriously
  • Promote the “personal” talents of your employees at your company
  • Strengthen personal growth at the workplace
  • Gain in innovative strength and motivation thanks to the further development of your employees

Tip 2: Share information and keep your team together

Shared experiences and an open company culture strengthen team cohesion. Create a pleasant atmosphere in the workplace and within the team.

  • Share good news from the company with your team
  • Strengthen the solidarity of the team and management
  • Promote dialog through activities employees can take part in together and creative meetings
  • Connect the interests of the employees and the company
  • Invest in an open team culture and pleasant company culture

Tip 3: Show appreciation for challenges overcome

Ensure that your employees are not bored with their work. And trust them to do a good job. This will also help you to ease strain. Focus on the positive.

  • Your employees should concentrate on the tasks for which they feel successful, appreciated, and challenged
  • Focus the energy and time of your employees on high-potential measures.
  • Motivate employees by transferring competencies and responsibility.
  • Show appreciation by acknowledging good work
  • Celebrate successes with your employees

Tip 4: Set goals and lead by example

Information and clarity help employees through their day-to-day working lives. You can create this through clear objectives and your deliberate function as a role model.

  • Set measurable and realistic goals
  • Define clear guidelines and include your employees
  • Lead your teams with authenticity
  • Actively take on your role model function

Tip 5: Communicate with your employees on an equal footing

Many misunderstandings can be avoided with regular and open communication. Make sure that your employees receive and pass on the necessary information at an early stage.

  • Maintain transparent and proactive communication with your team as much as possible
  • Cultivate respectful interaction with your employees
  • Convey the importance of the activity to be conducted for the company’s success

Tip 6: Use rewards and benefits

The better you know your employees, the easier it will be for you to motivate them in a targeted manner. A reward does not necessarily always have to be monetary.

  • Strengthen your employees with intrinsic incentives and extrinsic motivation
  • Boost employee motivation and increase employee loyalty to the company with extrinsic incentives such as fringe benefits  
  • Pay your employees a fair salary
  • Increase flexibility and scope at the workplace with flexible working hours and remote work
  • Create a family-friendly work structure in your company
  • Improve the mobility of your teams during and after work
  • Offer your employees security with the pension fund

Tip 7: Pay attention to the health of your employees

“Healthy employees are good employees.” Definitely! The wellbeing of your employees has a demonstrably positive influence on their performance and motivation. For this reason, keep an eye on the health of your employees.

  • Be vigilant about a healthy work-life balance for your teams
  • Reduce stress and accident-related absences with targeted solutions to promote health in the workplace
  • Invest in health prevention with your company
  • Increase the wellbeing of your employees over the long term with solutions from corporate health management

Conclusion: Strengthened employee motivation pays off

By implementing these management tips and recommendations, you will increase the trust, commitment, and motivation of your employees at your company. Lead by example and inspire other managers to increase motivation. Your investment in your employees’ motivation will pay dividends through the long-term success of your company.

But can you also achieve a high level of employee motivation with these tips when your employees are working from home? Of course! Because even when employees are working outside of the office and the company, you can motivate them in a targeted manner with specific measures. We have compiled the best tips for increasing employee motivation at home in the AXA blog: “Employee motivation when working from home: Five tips for more motivation.”

Don’ts: Avoid the following obstacles to motivation

Throw outdated ways of thinking and attitudes overboard! Widespread, placative statements on the subject of employee motivation, such as “I can’t motivate anyway” or “The employees are well paid – they should perform” reveal the conviction of many managers and companies. Although these attitude barriers are understandable, they don’t align with the latest research. They hinder the competitiveness of companies and curb measures to increase motivation in the workplace. For effective application of motivation psychology, you must overcome the following obstacles:

Don’t 1: Being inconsistent

For employees, it is important that they can rely on their managers. For this reason, avoid the following:

  • A lack of trust between managers and their employees
  • A lack of onboarding for new employees
  • Accepting unmotivated employees working at the office and from home
  • A lack of clearly defined goals and unclear instructions

Don’t 2: Neglect the development of expertise

It is important to develop knowhow within the company and to be open to new topics. Take the following warning signs of a lack of expertise seriously:

  • A lack of expertise and knowhow in the company in terms of employee motivation
  • Devaluation of intrinsic motivation as non-transparent and complex
  • Lack of self-reflection on the part of managers, for example “How does my behavior affect my individual employees?”
  • Managers who know everything better and who don’t give up anything are a major factor when it comes to demotivation
  • Tight controls during the execution of tasks
  • Allocation of many urgent tasks without providing the means necessary to accomplish them
  • Low acceptance of and flexibility for employees’ own initiative
  • Lack of talent management to support individual employees and increase motivation in the workplace

Don’t 3: Ignoring a negative team atmosphere

Managers who invest in a good team atmosphere make another contribution to the development of employee motivation After all, employees who feel good, both in their team and in their work environment, are more likely to be more motivated and stress resistant in their approach to work. The following actions limit team motivation:

  • Insufficient promotion of internal communication and sense of togetherness
  • Non-transparent and reactive communication between management and the teams
  • Unequal treatment of the individual team members
  • Undervaluing team and employee loyalty as a motivation factor

Don’t 4: Using ineffective motivation incentives

There are various ways to provide motivation incentives. But not all are equally motivating. The following are a few examples of hindrances:

  • Extrinsic motivation and rewards in the form of financial incentives, bonuses, and gifts as the only method of motivating employees
  • Lack of appreciation for employees for results achieved
  • Rarely praise the efforts and achievements of your employees
  • Emphasize worst-case scenarios as a means of applying pressure for more performance
  • And last but not least: Individual awards are not always the right solution to motivate your team. With AXA’s motivation offers for SMEs, everyone will want to do their best.

Highly motivated? How you can measure the motivation of your employees

Motivated, healthy employees and a positive working environment are the basis for your company’s success. AXA’s work climate compass will show you where you stand with the motivation and health of your employees. This health platform can be adapted to your individual company. Get to know the most important starting points for improving the health and motivation of your employees.

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