Guide - Improving your motivation

Last updated
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 17:00

What is Motivation?

People have spent years talking about the importance of Motivation in the workplace. A large number of studies have revealed how advantageous it is for a company to have motivated employees.

It is a well-known fact: greater motivation leads to greater performance. If the employees are satisfied with their work, they will not only meet the objectives set, but also propose new ideas and improvements to help the company operate more effectively. Therefore, companies need to make an effort to get their employees stimulated and driven to do well at the activities they have been set.

Even though theories on this topic abound on all kinds of motivational models, here we basically look at two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic Motivation: comes from the worker him/herself and is related to the personal satisfaction he/she gets from carrying out the tasks, aside from the material benefit. It responds to the need for self-fufilment and improves performance at work. If an employee is happy with what he/she does, that affects his/her mood and how he/she approaches his/her responsibilities.
  • Extrinsic Motivation: factors that do not come directly from the individual, but rather externally, such as incentives that the company offers in order to motivate a particular employee. Workers are motivated by the benefits offered to them if they succeed in completing certain tasks or manage to prevent losses. This type of motivation aims to reward the performance of workers by giving them economic or professional incentives.

What often comes to mind first when we think about employee motivation is remuneration, and certainly this is one of the most important factors. But increasingly, economic incentives are not always the ones that are most valued by employees. Currently, workers take into account aspects such as job stability, flexible working hours or a balance between work and personal life.


What benefits does the team bring?

A demotivated team is one of the biggest challenges a manager or director might face, as it can have a set of very negative consequences for the company. However, if good leadership is applied and he/she succeeds in creating a highly motivated team, this can do wonders for a company:

  • Productivity: The demotivation of employees will inevitably generate a certain apathy in their day to day. The worker will be more easily distracted, not want to comitt to tasks and gradually lose interest in the work he does. On the contrary, a motivated worker will be much more productive, and take on his tasks with interest and enthusiasm.
  • Commitment:  the more motivated a team becomes, the greater the loyalty it feels toward the company. This will prompt employees to take initiative, generate new ideas and to come up with suggestions or solutions. In a demotivated team, the apathy will wil spread and instead of taking new initiatives, it will simply do the minimum necessary to achieve objectives. 
  • Less absences: Demotivation is one of the main causes of absence in the workplace. An employee lacking this stimulus will probably suffer from more stress or anxiety than a motivated employee. If the level of demotivation is high, the employee may pretend to be sick and avoid going too work to carry out a task that he/she has no interest in doing.
  • Less employee turnover: One of the most negative impacts that low motivation levels can have on a company is that it prompts a high level of personnel turnover, and everything else that this entails. Firstly, there is the risk that the company experiences a "brain drain", when some of its most valuable employees quit because they do not feel sufficiently stimulated in their job. There is also the impact on company productivity: the subsequent hiring process, training of the new employee, the time it will take him/her to adapt to their new job…
  • Reputation: How a company builds a name for itself comes down, in part, to how its employees talk about it. So if employees are stimulated by their job, they will project a positive image of the company. This, amongst other things, will attract employees from other companies and subsequently more talent.


How can we improve Motivation levels within the team?

There are certain elements that, for better or for worse, can have a great impact on the motivation of team members. Some of these factors are:

  • Recognition: one of the factors that employees most appreciate is feeling valued, and seeing that managers appreciate the work they carry out. It is essential to let employees see that their ideas are important to the company, congratulating them, even if their proposals are not used. If that is the case, it is also advisable to explain why, so that they do not feel undervalued. You also have to recognize when an employee exceeds expectations or solves an unexpected problem effectively...
  • Incentives: Beyond individual recognition that can be carried out on a day-to-day basis, another effective system for motivating teams is the creation of an incentive system within the company. It is important to define how this system will work clearly so that the conditions are the same for all employees.
  • Autonomy: when employees feel that the company offers them some degree of autonomy in their work and that they can make their own decisions, this can be very motivating. It not only indicates that the company is happy with the performance of one of its employee or teams, it is also another form of recognition of a job well done.
  • Follow up: a boss or leader should not abandon an employee or a team, irrespective of the trust he/she has placed in them and how independently they are working. Each leader must find the best way to meet regularly with their employees, either individually or as a group. The team must feel that, although they do not depend on the leader for everything, he/she will be available whenever they needed anything. If a leader meets regularly with his employees individually, even if it is to have brief talks with them, it will be easier to detect if a worker is unmotivated and to do something about it.
  • Satisfaction:  knowing the specific interests of the employees in each team and trying to focus their work with those interests in mind, can be a great motivator. You can find out who prefers to take on the more creative, organizational or logistical tasks… and if something comes up in one of those areas then you can select the person with the right skills for that job and motivate an individual with a task that that might not have been motivating for another.


Several concrete action points to take note of


One of the most common causes of dissatisfaction amongst employees in a company is a lack of recognition. When workers are given the freedom to make their own decisions, they see this as a sign that the company has confidence in their abilities and will motivate them to achieve better results. It is essential to recognize employee merit and congratulate them for their efforts.


It is essential to set out a series of concrete goals and if possible to have within those an inbuilt incentive system. Moreover, when employees see that the objectives are being met, they will feel that they are fulfilling the expectations vested in their work. Therefore, it is important to set out team goals, share them with the workers and make them part of the company’s day to day.


As mentioned previously, this may be of an economic nature, although increasingly, employees value other types of recognition for their work. For goals that are set as part of a company’s annual objectives, it is important to establish a system of structured, objective and equitable gratification. The company will have to decide if they are economic, individual or team based and how often they are delivered.


As the saying goes, there is only one thing worse than training your team and them leaving the company: not training the team and them staying. It is essential to see training as an investment, never as an expense, although it must be done in a structured and effective manner. This will allow employees to develop skills, acquire more and gain knowledge, giving him/her the possibility of promotion, one of the biggest motivators of all.


Although it is true that employees increasingly value other types of remuneration, salary is still one of the most important aspects of a job. Therefore, make sure that the salary of the workers sits close to the sector average, that there are no big differences between employees with similar positions ... factors that need to be taken into account. In addition, it is advisable to review the working conditions of the team, offer some flexibility in working hours if possible and encourage labor conciliation...


When managing a team of people, it is important to bear in mind that not all employees are equally good at certain tasks, so workers should be put into positions that fit their professional profile. Employees will be more motivated to carry out tasks that add value and that are done well, and this will result in improved operations for the company. If this point is not taken into account, there is a risk that the worker takes on a job that does not use his skills or for which he is overqualified and that will eventually and irrevocably have a negative effect on levels of motivation.


The atmosphere that is enjoyed in a workplace is another factor that will directly affect the motivation and performance of employees. Therefore, we must encourage good relationships between colleagues and departments and create a relaxed, collaborative and effective environment. In addition, it is important to make the facilities to be as comfortable as possible, as employees spend many hours at work and need to be comfortable.


In summary...

Undoubtedly, encouraging, growing and maintaining Motivation is one of the most important factors when managing a team. A motivated team will offer greater performance and will not only strive to meet the set objectives but be continually improving in order to be part of the company’s growth.

Although the theories on Motivation are many, we focus in on two basic types:

  • Intrinsic Motivation: comes from the worker him/herself and is related to the personal satisfaction he/she gets from carrying out the tasks, aside from the material benefit.
  • Extrinsic Motivation: external factors such as incentives that the company offers in order to motivate a particular employee or reward the performance of its employees..

If the company makes an effort to boost employees’ Motivation levels, the impact will be significant: productivity levels will rise alongside the team’s overall commitment and, since the employees will speak well of their workplace, it will also improve the company’s reputation. In addition, the rates of absenteeism and personnel turnover in the company will fall, which will have a notable impact at an economic level. 

If you want to know more about the Common Objective, TeamEQ recommends  watching these TED talks for guidance and inspiration: