It’s a broadly known fact that every business’s success hinges on the performance of their team.

Without buy-in, loyalty and enthusiasm from their key team members, no business stands a chance of becoming or remaining, successful.

After all, it’s your team members who’re providing service to your customers on a daily basis.  Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that they feel motivated to be the best that they possibly can, while they’re in the workplace.

A 2006 Gallup study in Australia showed that disengaged workers cost Australia’s economy about $32.7 billion a year.   There’s a very good chance that some of that money could be yours.

The study also showed that while 18% of all employees were “actively disengaged”, a further 61% were “not engaged”. This adds up to a staggering 79% of all workers who are no longer motivated in their place of work.

To drill down even deeper into this issue, it’s a fact that when an employee becomes “actively disengaged” in the workplace, they not only under-perform but become disruptive, less loyal, less profitable and actually spend time in planning how to undermine both the business they work for, as well as the accomplishments of their workmates.

I refer to this occurrence as “Silent Sabotage” and it can have a very powerful and negative impact within the business. What a nightmare!

On the other hand, there are many obvious benefits to be had by achieving and maintaining motivation within your team. A motivated team will almost always result in:

  • Employee commitment and satisfaction
  • Employee performance
  • Employee retention
  • Customer retention
  • Greater profitability

What can you do to motivate your team? Well, the short answer is “nothing”.

As an employer, all you can do is provide the right work environment so that your team members can grow to be self-motivated, leading ultimately to higher performance in their jobs.


But here’s what you can do.

Some business owners mistakenly believe that because they pay their staff above the award rate, this should provide all the motivation that is required for their staff to perform well.

Actually, after the first week or so, this has about a zero impact on your employees.

Research has shown that money actually comes quite low down on the list of motivators and doesn’t motivate for long after a pay raise.

Money may attract new staff initially but rarely motivates existing staff to use their potential more effectively in the long term.

This is not to say that financial rewards should be ruled out as a great incentive. However, compensation for a job well done is only one of many factors that need to be considered if you’re to successfully build a motivated team.

Perhaps it’s time to take an in-depth look at your existing pay structure and judge whether it’s actually rewarding performance and not just attendance.

Do you have a great performance-based commission scheme in place?

Is it achievable for your staff or will they just take one look at it and not bother trying at all because it is virtually impossible to achieve?

If you’re not sure how to structure this in your business, ask your business coach to help you implement one as soon as possible.

Another very important factor which needs to be considered is understanding what it is that motivates each of your team members as an individual outside of financial reward.

For an employer, this means taking the time to get to know your team members individually, and finding out what makes them “tick”.

What makes each team member feel appreciated and helps them to remain motivated in the workplace?


The Five Love Languages

If you’ve read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, you will already have a great understanding of the five different ways in which all people like to be shown they are loved and appreciated.

This works as effectively in the workplace as it does in the home, and can be used as an effective tool by employers to establish ways in which they can show their staff how much they’re appreciated.

The five languages explored by Dr Chapman are:
1. Physical Touch
2. Gifts
3. Words of Endearment
4. Acts of Service
5. Quality Time

Make the time to have a personal conversation (tip: don’t call it an appraisal) with each of your team members to find out what makes them feel appreciated. Take note of what they would like to receive from you that would mean a lot to them.

Some things you might expect to hear are requests for:

  • More interesting and varied work or greater responsibility.
  • Ongoing professional development training.
  • Gift vouchers for pampering treatments or other products and services.
  • Words of thanks and encouragement.
  • Constructive feedback and personal concern.
  • Something they can enjoy with their family (such as movie tickets, bottle of wine).
  • Time off on their birthday or for special occasions.
  • Flexible working hours.

These are just a few examples of what you may hear, and your team members will undoubtedly come up with many more suggestions.

The important thing to remember here is that every team member is unique, and not everyone will respond to the same tokens of appreciation.

It won’t work if you just lump everyone into a basket, and give them all the occasional gift certificate or business service to say thanks.

While you’re taking the time to talk to your team members, take the opportunity to find out what their de-motivators are also.

These are not just the opposite of what motivates your team.  They need to be identified and, if possible, eliminated from the work environment, as they can have a very harmful impact on staff performance.

Such things as boring work, lack of quality equipment or product with which to work, cluttered or untidy work environment, preferential treatment of other staff, lack of recognition or lack of professional development may be mentioned.

Some of these things are easily fixed almost immediately, while others may take a little more planning.

Either way, they need to be heard and addressed as soon as possible. The fact that you show your concern and are willing to fix things is, in itself, a real motivator.

There are lots of other simple and low-cost things that you can do (some every day) in the workplace to support motivation in your team.

Try finding something that each team member is doing well and tell them so. Encourage team camaraderie by having special employee dinners or evenings out to the local cinemas.

Run a Secret Santa at Christmas and of course always have a group celebration for every staff member’s birthday with a card signed by all and a special cake for everyone to enjoy!


“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” –Zig Ziglar


Twyla Dell writes of motivating employees, “The heart of motivation is to give people what they really want most from work. The more you are able to provide what they want, the more you should expect what you want, namely: productivity, quality and service.

At the end of the day, motivation must come from within each individual.

No employer is ever the single and ongoing source of motivation for a person.

While the employers support, inspiration, encouragement and example will at times motivate staff, employers greatest role in motivating is to recognise people for who they are and to help them find their own way forward by making the best use of their own strengths and abilities.

So it follows that employers who focus on these aspects – people’s true motivational needs and values – are the true leaders.

When you help people to enrich their work, you will truly motivate and when you take on the role of the person who will encourage and help your staff to grow and develop, improved performance is almost inevitable.”


Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower