14 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees Motivated

in Management by Emily Snell

14 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees Motivated

14 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees Motivated

YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about how they keep their employees motivated. Here are their answers:

What is one strategy you use to keep your employees motivated?

1. Great Communication

As an early stage yet growing business, we hold monthly company-wide staff meetings. While there is a lot of excitement surrounding our growth metrics, the staff is motivated by our “barside chats” with guest speakers who share how their companies started and then grew to the successes they are today. Leaders from GrubHub, Cars.com, Apartments.com, Groupon and CareerBuilder have spoken to and inspired our team.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

2. Systematic Recognition

Managers and directors have to report little wins and acts of service up through the communications chain so that execs can be omnipresent. We make sure this happens, and then send handwritten thank you notes to our employees’ homes and praise them in front of others.

Christopher Kelly, Convene

3. Honesty and Trust From the Top Down

At Ceros, we keep employees motivated with honesty, trust and vulnerability from the top down. Once you master these things, the rest falls into place. If you’re transparent, your employees will trust you. They’ll tell you what they feel, and they’ll work hard for you. Communication will flow much more easily, and motivation problems will be few and far between.

Simon Berg, Ceros

4. The Chance to Make a Difference

Every company’s website has an “about” page, but very rarely is there anything there that explains why we should care. Your employees want a reason to show up every day beyond just keeping their bills paid, and if they feel like your business isn’t responding to a larger calling, they won’t stick around. Give your team a way to make a positive difference and their motivation will skyrocket.

Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

5. Weekly Happy Hours

We do weekly meetings — sort of happy hours — where the team gets together and we go over progress together. We try to bring some different food and drink each time to make it more enjoyable. Transparency is the key to these meetings.

Ben Lang, Mapme

6. Investing in Them and Their Long-Term Careers

The key to motivating employees, especially millennials, is to really care about their career path and their growth and look for opportunities for them to grow. Often, startups cannot compete on salary, benefits and other workplace perks. However, you can beat anyone on growth and responsibility. Leverage that strength to keep employees motivated and build relationships with them for the long term.

Trevor Sumner, LocalVox

7. Team Goals

At AquaMobile, each month we set a goal that the entire team works towards. The metric varies depending on the department but is based on revenue, the number of new instructors recruited, and social media engagement, to name a few. The team works towards their common goal and once the goal reached, we celebrate with team lunches, gift certificates, or a gift from each employee’s wish list.

Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile Swim School

8. A Fun Office Culture

We make sure that everyone has fun at work. Everyone gets along extremely well, there are games being played in the break room and people are laughing. We really push to make sure everyone is having fun at work and is surrounded by friends. It goes a long way with our culture and most employees love being at the office.

Brandon Stapper, 858 Graphics

9. Gamifying the Process

It works for apps and education, so why not for employee motivation? We’ve gamified productivity and incentives, using Habit RPG to keep track and manage the accumulation of points. Gamifying motivation hands this task back over to employees, while making it fun and interesting. Instead of it being a “top down” task, it’s in the hands of employees to constantly improve their stats.

Marcela DeVivo, Homeselfe

10. Clear Work Incentives

I outline clear incentives so that each of my employees knows exactly what is required to receive an uplift in their salary. Outside of this, I am constantly trying to identify small wins throughout the year and will often surprise an employee with a gift to say thank you for their effort and to keep achieving.

Luigi Wewege, Vivier Group

11. Empowerment

There’s no better way to motivate an employee than empowerment, especially for millennials. Not money or a cool office, but your confidence in their ability to lead and deliver in challenging or high-value situations. The confidence you have in an employee, at any level, does not go unnoticed and they’ll remain motivated to prove their value and ability.

Clayton Dean, Circa Interactive

12. Interesting Work

Motivation is a tough one. People get motivation in different ways, whether it is encouragement or letting them know areas of improvement. One of my strategies is doing contests; for example, hit your weekly sales goal and get free lunch, or the rep with the most GP for the month wins a prize. This helps keep the team focused and constantly working towards something.

Jayna Cooke, EVENTup

13. Social Events and Team Building Exercises

Not only are team building exercises like go-karts and outdoor camps motivating, but they are also great ways to figure out how to work together more, communicate more effectively, and even leverage a little healthy competition. No one likes to do the same thing every day, so offering these types of social activities on a quarterly basis provides a change of pace and scenery.

Zach Binder, Ranklab

14. Regular Interaction and Recognition

I know that I feel good when I hear I’m doing a good job or someone asks me what I’ve been up to. I do the same for those I manage because it is a positive way to give someone a boost. First, it shows that you care enough to take a time out in your busy day to check on how they are doing or share some witty banter as a quick diversion. Second, it is a good opportunity to say well done.

Angela Ruth, Due.com

About the Author

Emily Snell

Emily is a contributing marketing author at ChamberofCommerce.com where she regularly consults on content strategy and overall topic focus. Emily has spent the last 12 years helping hyper growth startups and well-known brands create content that positions products and services as the solution to a customer's problem.

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