How to Motivate Your Employees and Keep Them Engaged

How to Motivate Your Employees and Keep Them Engaged
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Many organizations struggle with a disengaged workforce. But instead of looking for faults in your employees, start asking yourself what you can do as a business leader to create an engaging work environment that people are happy to be a part of.

The Importance of Employee Engagement

Countless studies have shown it pays off when managers and leaders invest in their employees' engagement and overall satisfaction.

It's your employees that keep the gears of your company running smoothly. But unhappy or unmotivated employees can drag down operations and negatively impact your organization's performance.

Employees engaged and motivated planning around a table.
Photo by Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement describes how invested employees are in their work. Those who are highly engaged are enthusiastic and motivated to contribute to the organization because they get a sense of satisfaction from doing so.

A new term has emerged in the last few years: quiet quitting. Employees who practice quiet quitting are disengaged from their work; they do only the bare minimum. This practice is harmful to productivity and the overall workplace environment. However, it's almost always the result of employees not feeling valued and respected.

The Benefits of Employee Engagement

The benefits of employee engagement are multifold for your organization. Having engaged and satisfied employees will:

  • Reduce turnover
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase profitability
  • Foster a better work culture
  • Increase innovation

Engaged employees are also more likely to talk positively about your company to their friends and family in person and online. Potential customers or clients usually hold an employee's insights and opinions in high regard. If your employees speak in favor of your company, it can attract more clients and new talent — and boost your brand image.

Motivating Factors

If you want to learn how to motivate and engage your employees, it's essential to understand their needs.

Work set-up for motivated worker, including a laptop, phone, coffee and notepad.
Photo by Andrew Neel / Unsplash

How Can I Motivate My Employees to Work Effectively?

The best way to motivate your employees to work effectively is to show them that you understand and can meet their needs.

As a business leader, your relationship with employees cannot be one-way; you must build a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship if you want your employees to engage and give their full effort.


A big part of what drives employee engagement is money. People want to feel like they are being fairly compensated for their efforts and labor. If you undervalue your employees' work, they are more likely to disengage or jump ship.


Most people agree it feels good to have your work recognized. According to a report by Aptitude Research Partners, organizations using social recognition have 40% higher employee productivity than organizations not using it.


Giving employees additional responsibilities can help encourage personal growth and development.

Of course, you shouldn't overload your employees or expect them to do twice as much work for the same pay. While assigning more responsibilities can engage employees who are bored at work, unrealistic expectations will negatively impact employee satisfaction and increase the chance of employee burnout.


Nobody likes to be micromanaged. This nasty habit can significantly decrease employee satisfaction — and add more to your plate as well. Give your employees a sense of autonomy by showing that you trust them to get their work done.


Work is more fulfilling when it has a purpose. If your employees feel like what they do is meaningless or insignificant, they're more likely to slack off and disengage. Show your employees how important their work is and keep them informed about the real-world implications of their daily duties.

How to Increase Employee Engagement and Motivation

Rather than using threats or punishments to motivate your employees, focus on using positive reinforcement that rewards the behavior you like. Sometimes it requires a little creativity to come up with employee motivation techniques, but it's worth it to improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

Man smiling as he works on his laptop.
Photo by Csaba Balazs / Unsplash

What Is the Best Way to Engage Your Employees?

The best way to engage your employees is to understand what keeps employees happy and find ways to work the best practices into your organization's operations.

Now that you know the broad strokes of how to motivate and engage employees, you're ready to get into the specifics. Keep reading to learn how to engage employees with easy-to-implement employee motivation ideas.

Recognition and Appreciation

If an employee crushes a sales goal, delivers a flawless presentation, or otherwise rises to the occasion, it's important to recognize that. If you don't recognize and reward your employees' best work, they'll have no incentive in the future to continue to grow and improve.

Opportunities for Growth and Development

Most people are not happy with stagnation. And this is especially true among millennials, who make up a large portion of today's workforce. According to Wrike, "more than any other generation, Millennials seek out opportunities for growth and development."

A Gallup study discovered that 87% of Millenials rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as important to them in a job. As an employer, it's your responsibility to encourage and facilitate these opportunities. Some ways to do this include offering mentorship programs and paying for training and certifications.

Autonomy and Empowerment

Seek input from your employees and delegate responsibilities based on personal strengths to encourage autonomy and personal empowerment. Challenge your employees and engage them at the same time by giving them additional responsibilities that match their interests and goals.

If you give an employee a chance to shine, 99% of the time, they will.

Meaningful Work

Employees don't like being bogged down with busywork. Although every organization needs paperwork and other tedious tasks to keep running smoothly, providing employees with meaningful work that they value is crucial.

Keeping Your Employees Happy

Knowing how to motivate employees and keep them happy is crucial for your organization's success. But sometimes, all the employee engagement strategies in the world can't stop the daily grind from wearing away at workforce motivation. A novel event or group activity from Yaymaker can help break up the monotony of work, help coworkers bond, and provide a fun and creative outlet to let loose.

Team members having fun at a paint and sip corporate event.

Explore our wide selection of customized corporate activities today.