Employees and pensions

Highly motivated: Tips for successful employee motivation

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Employee motivation is a priority for us - both for staff themselves and for managers. But how do attractive employers motivate their workforce? Why is employee motivation important at all for companies? The following tips are the key to successfully motivating your staff at work over the long term.

Today we live more and more in a knowledge society and are faced with increasing automation in our daily lives. While conveyor belt activities are constantly decreasing, the tasks that employees have to carry out are becoming more complex. The control options of line managers are also decreasing. This means that in industrialized nations, for instance, the number of staff per manager is constantly rising, increasing the importance of teamwork and of independent and capable staff for a company's success.

The development towards complexity and fewer controls has differing effects on people: While some employees are passionate about their work and achieve a great deal, others fall behind in their performance and become lethargic. As a company, it's essential to avoid the latter and encourage the former. Motivation as a driver of performance is therefore become increasingly relevant.

Why is employee motivation so important?

Psychological research has been looking into the effects of employee motivation for years. For example, a study in "How to motivate employees effectively" by Dr. Florian Becker shows that employee motivation is crucial for the success of individual employees. Motivated employees perform more, are more innovative, demonstrate lower levels of incorrect behavior at work, have fewer workplace accidents and lower absenteeism levels.

According to the study, companies also clearly benefit from greater employee motivation, such as from

  • increased productivity,
  • improved profitability,
  • lower staff turnover,
  • faster growth and
  • increased competitiveness.

Motivated employees also have a positive impact on customers, as increased individual employee performance has a direct and positive impact on customer satisfaction and strengthens customer loyalty.

It's clear that companies that promote employee motivation increase the chances of success both for employees and the company.

Practical tips: How do you motivate your staff?

AXA firmly believes that "happy, balanced and worry-free employees achieve the best results." We like to set a good example and offer our employees generous employee benefits, ranging from flexible work models to the broad spectrum of options for improving work-life balance. Valuing our employees in the form of individually customized incentives increases their work motivation and willingness to perform, while at the same time improving our corporate culture over the long term. By doing so, we also establish ourselves as an attractive employer. You can do the same too!

We think that the following tips with practical examples are the key for the sustained motivation of employees at work:

Tip 1: Motivate individually with intrinsic and extrinsic incentives

Comprehensive research data proves that work motivation is linked to employees' characteristics and personality. It's a manager's job to increase the motivation with incentives customized to the individual person:

  • Whoever wishes to have motivated employees can make a significant difference with targeted staff selection at the recruitment stage. Look for employees who respond to the motivational incentives available to you.
  • Mindful employers increasingly build on measures for the inner guidance of employees. Promoting the intrinsic motivation of individual employees works on a long-term basis. Strengthening self-efficacy is particularly effective, i.e. convincing someone that he or she is competent, so give your employees tasks for which they can demonstrate competence.
  • External motivation also works: Effective approaches for extrinsic motivation, such as flexible working time models and fringe benefits, take account of individual differences and preferences,

so take a proactive approach to the individual needs and competencies of your employees. Some are motivated by external influences and incentives, whereas some are motivated to work well through self-motivated intrinsic motivation.

Tip 2: Invest in an open team culture

A team usually comprises a range of personalities. They can differ greatly in their work motivation and reaction to incentives. You can already influence motivation and performance through team composition. Talk to your employees and foster an open and constructive feedback culture in the team. If you're truly interested as well as invested in your employees and their work, you'll be rewarded with excellent performance and a motivated team culture.

Tip 3: Set measurable targets and celebrate success 

Success is very important in the daily work routine. Those who are committed should also achieve and can maybe exceed targets - that increases motivation. Make sure that you show genuine interest in the quality of work achieved by your employees: Set measurable and personal targets, both quantitative and qualitative, for the most important tasks. If the set targets are achieved by the measures taken, celebrate this success and praise your employees.

Tip 4: Give flexibility and scope

Focus on your employees' preferences and needs in terms of workload, working hours and place of work, as sufficient flexibility and scope given by a company helps employees benefit from a good work-life balance and makes them more motivated. This has a positive impact on your employees' work satisfaction, which in turn improves commitment and work quality.

At AXA we offer our employees a range of flexible work models, for instance, through Flexwork. From individually customized management of working hours to additional vacation days and study time for personal development. Find out more about Flexwork and agile working.

Tip 5: Create a family-friendly work structure

Combining a job and a family is anything but easy. Family-friendly work structures, offers and advisory services give your team precious added value and motivational incentive for a long-term employment relationship. Here are a few measures to motivate employees with families:

  • Paid maternity leave exceeding the statutory minimum Company family allowance
  • Free information and advice on child care
  • Free information and advice on the support/care of elderly, sick, or disabled relatives (elder care)

Tip 6: Promote your team's mobility

Whether at work or at home - are your employees safely underway? Support your team's mobility with benefits such as refund of half-fare card or season tickets, Reka checks (Swiss Travel Fund vouchers) or first-class offers for business trips. If employees travel in comfort, they are also more likely to check up on their business emails. Mobility offers are also some of the most popular employee incentives.

Tip 7: Offer security with the pension fund

A pension fund is not just a pension fund. By choosing a good OPA solution, you not only take your employees into a secure future, but also position yourself as an attractive employer.

It's important for you to communicate these advantages effectively. Try and find a good pension fund or have the benefits of the existing solution explained, passing on the information to your existing or potential employees. Although the subject of OPA can seem complicated at first glance and therefore unattractive, it may quickly become your top motivational incentive with benefits such as 20% more retirement pension. 

Tip 8: Pay attention to the health of your team

You have a crucial impact on your team's wellbeing with a range of health-promoting measures. Whether sports courses, seminars on stress prevention and relaxation, rest rooms or ergonomic workplace design - employers that pay attention to the health of their employees take their social responsibility seriously and will be rewarded with sustained performance and motivation.

Tip 9: Connect the interests of the employees and the company

Try to reduce conflicts of aims between your company and employees with motivational approaches. In doing so, try and find the greatest possible coverage of common interests and goals. 

Tip 10: Gain the power of innovation through professional development

Today's fast-living environment requires a high degree of flexibility and professional development. Whether at work, while interacting with colleagues or as part of a training program: Take the opportunity for top performance and motivation through the power of innovation. If you link personal development opportunities to performance targets, you'll manage employee motivation. For example, AXA promotes its staff personal development by actively filling vacancies with existing AXA employees and by using team workshops for exchanging ideas and knowledge or through instructive online training courses. More on this.

Conclusion: Focus on individuality and fringe benefits 

True appreciation and constructive feedback provide motivation and help create a positive work environment. With personally customized fringe benefits, you offer your employees additional added value. From flexible working time models to generous insurance benefits and monetary supplementary benefits such as vouchers and benefit programs: Focus on your employees' individual needs as well as you can. Because if you personally motivate employees, you'll gain in the long term - in areas such as motivation, appeal and quality.

  • Teaser Image
    What are the advantages of fringe benefits?

    Whether to increase employee motivation, strengthen company loyalty or for use as a recruitment incentive: Skillfully applied, fringe benefits are a guarantee of success. They motivate your team with individually customized benefits and establish your company as an attractive employer.

    More on fringe benefits

Not this way: Avoid these obstacles to motivation

Widely used bold statements such as "You can't motivate!" or "Employees are well paid - they should perform!" illustrate what many managers think. These barriers are easy to understand, but they are inconsistent with current research. Outdated ways of thinking hinder the competitiveness of companies and curb measures to increase staff motivation.

Other practical barriers for effective application of motivational psychology:

  • Intrinsic employee motivation is complex but not transparent, which is why it is difficult to measure.
  • The emotional attachment of employees as a motivational driver is underestimated.
  • A lack of expertise and know-how in the company in terms of employee motivation.
  • Lack of self-reflection on the part of managers, for example “How does my behavior affect my individual employees?”

For discussion: How does your company deal with employee motivation?

The issue of employee motivation raises questions. We've prepared questions for you to encourage you to think about this area: 

  • How important is employee motivation in your company? How important will work motivation be in future?
  • What do you offer your employees in practical terms? Is it the ideal benefit mix? Does it fit in with your employees' needs? How do you and your workforce increase work motivation together?
  • Are there obstacles standing in the way of effectively motivating your workforce? How do you as a company and your team deal with these barriers?
  • Do you communicate the advantages of working for your company openly to existing and potential employees? Are employees aware of the advantages and measures offered (such as better working conditions, optimized goals and incentives)? 
  • How competently does your company deal with employee motivation? Are your motivation approaches consistent with current research - or do you rely on habits, intuition, experience and individual convictions?

As part of constructive feedback: Discuss these points openly in the management team and with your employees - ideally establish the most important factors and tasks for long-term appreciation and motivation of your workforce. Have fun and lots of success!

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