5 Employee Engagement and Motivation Tips

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Employee engagement and motivation can be difficult to accomplish in the workplace. While bursts of this sort of thing can be fairly easily accomplished, and in some unique cases long term implementation can be accomplished with specific personality types, on the whole this isn’t easy. The problem comes with the fact that novelty wears off and a job, no matter how much someone likes it, can become drudgery and repetition over time. People, well most people anyhow, become quickly disenchanted with repetition after enough time dealing with it. When this happens, any employee engagement and motivation can quickly fade into resentment or at the least, abject boredom. For another recent post by Bo Amidor on the role of training in employee engagement, click here Let’s talk more about this in relation to training, which follows the same patterns, but know going into this that this is applicable to everyday work just as much as it is with training, so consider this relevant to both sides of this equation. So, we’re going to look at five tips on how to implement and maintain this engagement in training and in work, so that things are both more pleasant and more effective for all involved. These are very gamification-oriented, so if you’re unfamiliar with this concept, consider reading some of this blog’s gamification pieces before continuing, it may prevent some mild confusion here. Nonetheless, these concepts are pretty self-explanatory.

#1 – Personal Incentives

With training, the organization, and ergo teamwork are more important in the long run, but there must be some personal incentive first. Maintaining an incentive that goes above and beyond “but thou must” is kind of hard to do but very necessary. The “but thou must” imperative is what motivates most disenchanted training pupils or workers for fear of loss of income or retribution, but does nothing to motivate them to excel and go above and beyond. So, following gamification rules, it’s all about itemizing progress and basing personal incentives on this. Create a personal leveling system that shows the new training as new skills learned and with said skills and levels, certain privileges.

#2 – Team Incentives

Team incentives work the same way. Once personal incentives are in check, team incentives are ultimately much more crucial. With team incentives, the trick is to get everyone to want to help one another so that the team as a whole has a dynamic ensuring even progress among all components. With a gamification engagement model, when an entire group reaches a certain set of accomplishments for all individual components, then the team reaches milestones as well. The incentives here, at this level and capacity, should motivate all the individuals to help each other learn and progress, to see the team goals and rewards obtained. This works surprisingly well.

#3 – Challenge

Providing some challenge with training or in work, via gamified competition is a powerful tool, but you have to be careful with this. With gamified contests, in training, individuals or teams will compete to show their knowledge and ability to practically apply it. Rewards may be given, be they abstract or concrete, to the team or individuals who show the highest application of the new skills, or who are the best at their job in regular working scenarios. The trick here is to not build a schism between the groups or individuals by making the rivalry too real and personal. The best way to do this is to ensure a minimal reward to all who participate, and to not make the winning team or individual’s reward too extravagant by compare. This is a delicate balance, but works quite well.

#4 – Mellow Dynamics

Corporate culture and employee dynamics are kind of an overlooked venue for reworking things for engagement. During training or in a regular work environment, the overly formal and somewhat “stuffy” environment in which most businesses operate may have its benefits, but it has its share of detriments too. Consider a new approach to the business climate internally. While some formality and reservation is important, there is some room to drop the fronts and be people. Friendships, some laughter and legitimate social dynamic goes a long way to aiding the rest of the engagement strategy both in training and in regular work. It relieves some of the stress and greatly enhances enthusiasm knowing a little bit more of a relaxed existence, while productive still, can be enjoyed in the work or training place.

#5 – Environment

This is overlooked often, and of course in some industries, this one may be less feasible. However, the work environment, spatially and aesthetically, is often a problem. Work and training environments in austere offices, in cubicles or other bland, utilitarian environments is often detrimental to productivity or in the case of training, receptiveness to the material presented. Cubicles, stuffy offices and blank white walls need to go. Consider making the environment more pleasing and conducive to not causing fatigue or boredom. Colors, good lighting, and ambient atmosphere are far more likely to be comfortable for lengths of time during learning and during work. These are a few ways to improve and retain employee engagement and motivation. Gamification provides many more beyond the ones here, so consider reading our pieces on this topic and see what else you may be able to do.
Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to Training Station blog.