Money talks. Or does it? – By Lauren Leprine

It’s a common belief that money is the leading motivator of employees. More recently, however, we are coming to realize that this is not the case. Money can be an added incentive, but it will not necessarily be enough to retain people long-term. Employees who feel disengaged, unappreciated, or not challenged are less likely to have the desire to go the extra mile even if you entice them with dollar signs. The truth is, monetary incentives may work for a short period of time but, if people aren’t feeling empowered or excited about their role over the long haul, they aren’t going to be as motivated. Here are 9 ways to drive employee morale and motivation:


Propose a purpose

Employees need to feel that what they are doing will have a positive impact on the company, customers, community, or world. We may not always be motivated by the actual day to day tasks (particularly tasks of a menial nature), but it helps if we know how the task is connected to the bigger picture. Giving an employee a real sense of purpose will help engage them more fully in their work.


Keep the information flowing

Companies should promote open communication throughout all levels. This will allow for ideas and suggestions to flow more freely. It will also encourage employees to speak up when they are faced with challenges or problems so they can be dealt with in real time.


Know your employees

No two people are the same and how you lead your team should reflect that. Make it a point to get a good sense of what your employees enjoy and don’t enjoy doing, where their strengths and interests lay, and what their goals are. Having a good understanding of these factors for each employee, and then ensuring their work aligns with those factors (whenever possible), can help ensure a higher level of motivation. This information also helps you leverage your employee’s strengths and improve on their opportunities for growth, which again helps more fully engage them in their work.


Be transparent

Employees should be well informed about what is going on within their company. Keeping them in the dark about important company issues (for example, financial health of business), can lead to resentment, especially when the issues may directly impact employees. How much detail to provide is different for every company, but what’s important is that being transparent will communicate a sense of trust.


Empower your employees

If an employee feels that they are supported – without being micro-managed – they will gain confidence and a sense of empowerment in their role. Building a culture where your employees can turn to their leaders for guidance, while still preserving a sense of autonomy, is a cornerstone of a healthy work environment.


Knock out negativity

When employees are surrounded by negativity they are going to dread coming to the office and employee morale will drastically decrease, leading to decreased productivity and affecting your bottom line. If you can keep employees positive even during times of stress, their motivation and productivity will stay consistent.


Recognize and reward

When it comes down to it, everyone wants recognition for a job well done. Showing appreciation for your employees can greatly improve their attitude and motivate them to work hard on their next project. If your employee did a great job, let them know and reward them for it. If they didn’t do a good job, still recognize the good aspects of what they did and provide guidance and support to help them do better next time. Also, don’t wait for the big events to show recognition; pay attention to the small wins and celebrate them.


Prevent boredom

Nothing zaps motivation more than boredom. Who wants to do the same old thing day in and day out? Keep things lively and fresh (for example, by letting your employees explore new opportunities and challenges). Get them involved in things that interest them. Find ways to create a positive, upbeat – and dare I say fun – environment so your employees will look forward to coming into work.


Get them involved with big decisions

Include your employees in big decisions in order to increase loyalty in the company and pride in their work. People want to be able to contribute to the big picture and know that what they do has a larger impact on the organization. Don’t be afraid to get your employees involved, but rather encourage it.


Remember, no one is a machine. People lose motivation for a number of reasons, but by following these few tips you can help to create a better work environment where your employees will actually want to work. For more information on how to motivate and engage your employees, contact us at 212-481-6060 or