staff motivation

The secret to effective staff motivation

Let’s face it, we don’t all have the budget to go around handing out big bonuses or extra days off in annual leave when one of our employees go above and beyond.

As much as we’d like to, it’s simply not achievable to offer those types of incentives for staff motivation. But allow me to let you in to a little secret, motivating your staff to work hard has absolutely nothing to do with financial gain or days off. In fact, it’s recognition that really drives our employees to be the best that they can be.

And not only can recognition lead to a happier and motivated workforce, but can help you to retain your staff too. Studies have shown that companies that provide ample recognition have, on average a 30% lower staff turnover rate than those that don’t. Add in the fact that employees that do receive recognition for excellent work or good behaviours are far more likely to repeat those actions and you’ve got a strong case for implementing this yourself.

Simple eh? But before you start heaping praise on all of your employees, read on for our guide on how best to award recognition effectively.

Knowing who and when to recognise
Start going around complimenting all of your team now and the effectiveness of recognition loses its impact. Sure, being praised as part of a team for a joint effort is great, but when you single out one particular person then the effect is far greater.

Of course, everyone should be recognised at some point (especially if your team collaborates on projects on a regular basis) but if everyone knows that they are going to get a pat on the back at the end then it doesn’t exactly inspire the team to try their very best.

Knowing how to deliver recognition
Some employees thrive on recognition in front of a large audience, whilst for others that could be their worst nightmare. As a manager or business owner, it’s up to you to know which delivery method would be the most effective staff motivation method for your individual employees.

And just because your employee wouldn’t enjoy having the whole company present while you thank them for their hard work, that’s not to say that that they would mind receiving recognition privately in your office or with their line manager present.

Not all recognition needs to verbal either, emails are an effective and more low key approach to praising your staff with many employees printing out such emails to keep in their personal portfolios for future reference.

Specific recognition
When you are recognising good behaviours, hard work and extraordinary effort, it is important to be specific about the accomplishment and acknowledge why it was so important to you or your company.

Thanking someone with ‘good job’ is nice, but it’s a little too general to carry any particular weight. Therefore, remember to give details as it will make the employee feel far more appreciated than a generic thank you.

As long as the recognition is well deserved, there’s no such thing as too much recognition. I doubt any employee would complain that their manager was ‘over appreciative’, so give your employees the praise they deserve – your business will certainly benefit from it in the long run.

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.