Motivating employees and taking care of work efficiency, employees engagement, and good atmosphere is part of HR team responsibilities. Making employees well motivated is a key to achieving better work performance.

Since the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic, the massive transition to remote work makes the problem of employee engagement even more crucial. People feel disengaged, tired, and have trouble doing their best. That's why it is so important to know how to effectively help increase their motivation.

Employees motivation in numbers

The Gallup survey shows that employees' motivation is a real problem that can't be underestimated. According to the research, only 29% of employees feel engaged in their work. The problem affects both lower-level employees and managers. Survey shows that only 10% of managers can effectively focus on the most important company's needs while the others have trouble with setting and working on priority tasks.

Gallup's survey also states that companies where employees don't have engagement problems can't increase their revenue by 18% YoY. In addition to profits, these companies also see a 30% increase in customer satisfaction.

3 models of motivation

The approach to motivation and its main factors changes over time. As companies develop and change their approach to work, employees' motivations are motivation 1.0 and 2.0, as they also apply to certain jobs and industries.changing too. Even though the emphasis is now on motivation 3.0, it is worth knowing how it differs from

  • Motivation 1.0 – is based on the Maslov pyramid. When people meet their lower-order needs, such as physical ones, feeling secure, or belonging, they begin to feel the need to fulfill higher needs: need for respect and recognition, and self-fulfilment. In the work reality: when an employee receives a decent wage, they will begin to demand a safe and comfortable position. After getting that, they begin to feel another need – achieving satisfactory team relationships.
  • Motivation 2.0 – popular theory that says people react to the external stimuli in a predictable manner. It assumes that people are inherently passive and should be motivated to work through a system of rewards and punishments. The assumption cames from the behavioural Operant Conditioning introduced by Burrhus Frederic Skinner. Until today it's well-distributed and based mainly on financial factors. However, usually it has a short-term effect. It's the best in case of repetitive work that doesn't require creativity, such as handling a cash register or working on a production line.
  • Motivation 3.0 – newest, strongly promoted model based on knowledge and analysis of the internal need of the individual which satisfaction causes increasing employees engagement. It separates the financial aspect (external motivation) from human drive to improvement (internal motivation). To benefit from it, it's necessary to provide employees with a certain level of autonomy, mainly in: performed tasks, working time, techniques used to work, and people to work with. It works really well in positions that require creativity and diverse approaches to the problem.

To find out more about differences in motivation 2.0 and 3.0 and how much companies and individuals can get from using motivation 3.0 approach can be found in Daniel's H. Pink book about the topic: Drive. The author shows the differences between both motivation approaches by dividing people's behavior on two types: Typ X - corresponding to the motivation 2.0 (prizes and punishments), and Type I which is based on internal motivation. Pink pays attention to the fact that one type is dominated but every person exhibits both types of behavior.


Employees motivating factors

Over the years, people create many different motivation techniques. Beginning with motivation 1.0 through 2.0 to the newest Motivation 3.0 the approaches to the employees needs which increase their engagement are changing.

The main factors that can motivate employees are:

  • authorities,
  • money,
  • freedom,
  • curiosity,
  • recognition,
  • championship,
  • order,
  • acceptance of others,
  • achieving goals,
  • personal development,
  • professional development,
  • security,
  • work-life balance,
  • position,
  • relations.

Not every employee needs every one of them and the same ones. It depends on their character and personality. To help companies in choosing the best factors, researchers decide to group motivators depending on various correlations. One of the created models is the DISC model made by American psychologist William Marston who distinguished 4 employee groups based on their personality and linked them with the motivatrs results from them.

What motivates employees?

The factors that motivates employees can be very different and correctly setting them can be crucial in increasing employees engagement and work performance. To set them, the HR team can use tests based on one of the created models (like DISC) to choose the right ones.

When the main motivators of employees are set, it's time to choose the right technique to increase them.

Examples of employees motivation techniques

Seeking for the best motivation techniques, HR workers have many online guides containing collections of most popular, widely tested methods at their disposal. They allow them to understand the most popular methods used to improve the company's situation. They can also choose from useful guides suggesting methods for employees with different personalities, from various industries, or different size companies like startups, small enterprises or corporations.

Among other popular ones, the following are distinguished:

Team building games

Games focused on introducing employees to each other and helping them in developing effective methods of cooperation. Providing people with well-being, simple, and effective methods of approaching communication and problem solving reduces stress and the occurrence of situations in which employees don't know how to behave or who to talk to solve the problem.

Friendly workspace

There may be many small office space properties hidden behind this term, which affects people's well-being and feeling of confidence at work. The most important ones are:

  • office decor style – decorations, colors, materials selections, light colors and warmth;
  • planning the work space – a number of people on given space, placing teams that frequently cooperates close to each other, employee own space design, and separating the work area from the one to eat and relax,
  • offering employees the possibility to personalize their workspace – taking care of equipment ensuring comfort and ease in focusing, allowing employees to bring their personal stuff like pillows, photo frames;
  • taking care of common space – clean spaces, respecting office rules;
  • providing an atmosphere of development and acquiring knowledge – not the fear of mistakes and time pressure;
  • taking care of company culture and communication between employees – culture of speech and behavior, tolerance and equality, eliminating unfair treatment, building trust and transparency;

Rewarding efforts

It can take place in various ways, for example: by praising the team or rewarding with various benefits that emphasize the value of the demonstrated commitment. Depending on what's most attractive to employees, they can be very different, like organizing internal trainings or co-financing for competence expanding courses. Rewards not only motivate, but are often the factors that reduce employee turnover rate.

Examples of rewards using timesheets

Offering rewards like reducing working time are excellent ways to appreciate employees for their hard work and achievements without a need for additional investments.

The most popular working time rewards include:

  • additional days off – usually as a reward for outstanding achievements. Time tracking tool can be used to transfer the reward to the employee – to do so it is good to create the special absence type, for example "rewards'';
  • shorter working time – usually as fewer working hours on Friday or starting work later on Monday. They're great rewards for punctuality, commitment and diligence. They're also great for rewards for quitting smoking;
  • longer breaks – smaller rewards that can also be set in time tracking software and transferred to specific employees. They're great for eliminating lateness and other positive behavior changes.

You can learn more about rewards connected to working time in our article: Leave management and time tracking software in rewarding and motivating employees.


Known for many years and recently gathering more popularity can give great results. Thanks to gaminifaction, employees gain additional motivation to achieve greater success.

It can be used, as Google has done, to commission employees to search for cheaper solutions in delegations. Employees's task was to find accomodation and transport connections cheaper than those offered to them. As a result, the company saved millions of dollars, and the participants of the game gained money and satisfaction from their resourcefulness.

Thanks to gamification company can:

  • increase employees engagement – for example, by offering rewards for achievements, additional points and levels that also gives rewards;
  • optimize costs – as Google did but not only. It can save on stationery, services and more;
  • build relationships – in case of an interesting project, enabling employees to exchange opinions can help achieving better results and more interesting ideas;
  • eliminate undesirable behaviors – like unfair practices, giving only minimum commitment in work.


Effective way of motivating employees requires determining what motivator will be the best for them. It's good to divide employees in groups depending on their motivators. They can be different depending on industry, profession personality, or form of employment. Knowledge about motivators is a key to achieving optimal results.

If you want to know more about motivating employees or you want to share your methods of doing so – contact us!


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