The Most Epic Employee Motivation Checklist Ever {27 Great Ideas for Free}

motivated employee

HR on Cloud, Performance Management

Every year, it’s the same story and you face the same big hairy problem. Your manager needs a hundred new employee motivation ideas to pick from, for the company’s annual strategy presentation.

And you are left grappling to find the most effective ones, in record time.

These tactics should help you successfully appeal to your people, make them feel like you appreciate and understand their contribution; and thereby earn you some brownie points.

So, here is a check-list of Empxtrack’s all-time favorite employee motivation techniques, to make life just a wee bit easier.

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1. Fun and games at work: To add a youthful vibe to things, you could “gamify the workplace”. Simple game mechanics can apply to work; and you can redesign mundane tasks to make the work environment more capable to sustain your employees’ interest and engagement. It will encourage your young workforce to keep their ambition alive, while you cultivate a healthy competitive spirit in them. A recent global survey by PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) points to the fact that the Millennial talent appreciate honest feedback in real time – also something that gamification of work can deliver.


2. Exit is passé. Make way for ‘stay interviews’: Every company has exit interviews to ensure that employee feedback is taken once they have made up their mind to leave. But what about the sentiments of those who wish to stay? Your company should schedule for one-on-ones with your loyal employees and ensure that their feedback is given due consideration. This can surely build employee connect and aid with motivation in the workplace.

3. Award that achiever: Present special monthly or yearly awards to recognize achievers in your workforce. This is a great tool, to instill a sense of pride and accomplishment among your people. It works especially well when you have a large employee base that works on shifts – with the likes of cashiers, watchmen, and delivery boys.


4. Define job expectations and set goals: As a manager, you need to go through individual job descriptions and set SMART goals for your people. This will ensure that there is less ambiguity and more ownership of work, which would lead to greater clarity and focus amongst your employees.Once you assign these SMART goals, it becomes your responsibility to periodically measure them and provide regular feedback.

5. Celebrate with birthday/work anniversary cards: You would think this is really simple. Yes, but it is also super effective. Hand written cards or those with a touch of personalisation (note from the CEO or a doodle) can go a long way in making your employees feel like they are part of the ‘work-family’.

6. Coffee with CEO: Everyone wants to feel like their problems are understood and that their hard work receives recognition. HR needs to create a system where your employees can have informal sessions with a top management figure, to share their ideas, voice their concerns and understand the organization culture better.

7. Yey! Freebies – It might seem like a small investment, but a great up-sell strategy – to give away freebies (a discount on your products or corporate gifts like a coffee mug or flash drive) to your people. It makes your employee relate better to the brand and they could become excellent in-house champions for your brand.


8. Fun corporate events: It could be a “Lose your Monday Blues” themed office party to lift up employee spirits, a celebratory Friday “happy hour” or an off-site camp for team-building. These activities will give your people something more than work to bond over and better understand each other.

9.Buddy system: You assign a colleague to new recruits, especially those in the junior levels of organisational hierarchy, to help familiarize them with the work-environment. This not only helps ease your new hires into the company, but also helps them make friends at the workplace.

10. Mentor system: Your junior members of staff tend to be a bit green behind their ears, owing to fewer years of work experience. This is where it would help you to assign them to a mentor, who can make a world of a difference. Mentors can mold your employees to grow in their roles, becomes more productive and address challenges efficiently.

11. Health & wellness is key: Research by Gallup states that in the USA alone, depression is said to cost workplaces over $23 Billion in absenteeism. Also more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.With such nightmarish statistics out there, a small change in the attitude of managers towards workplace wellness can go a long way towards the creation of model employees, able in physical and mental capacities; who can add to the bottom line of your company. So apart from relevant training modules for career growth, merit-based pay and compensation for over time; today, companies across the globe, also institute:

  1. Yoga sessions at work, for a healthy mind and body
  2. Sleep-pods at the workplace
  3. “Walk and talk” meetings, for a healthier employees
  4. Health food options, for a physically healthy employee

12. Smooth on-boarding experience: First impressions are truly lasting. So it should be your company’s endeavor to ensure that new hires are given a tour of their office-space, explained the office dos and don’ts and also given a comprehensive employee manual. These initiatives will help the new additions, to your workforce; shed their nervousness of entering a new job and start being productive from day one!

13. Flexibility at the workplace: The Gen-Y workforce of today, prefer a good work-life balance over financial perks. So, be it flexible work timings, option to work from home or encouragement to switch off from work after-hours; companies need to implement the right policies. According to a PwC Study, 66 per cent of Gen Y expects to be able to work flexible hours from home and in the office.

Therefore, to win over the Millennial workforce, you need to help them unwind from work regularly, and they will exhibit greater engagement with their work.

14. Gender empowerment: Glass ceilings still exist in several companies, across the globe. Here is what your company can do to make it easier for women employees:

  1. Institute a help-line for women who feel like they are wronged at the workplace
  2. Allow for maternity leave with benefits, and make it easier for the new mothers to transition back to work (with feeding rooms & crèches at office, shorter work-hours)
  3. Ensure that there are policies that treat men and women equally when it comes to career advancements

Your company also needs to be sensitive to the rights of the LGBT community, and have a strict no-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behavior.
You could go one step further and run awareness drives to help employees understand how to deal with gender discrimination.


15. Career growth and transfers: The Gen-Y employees are always on the look-out for exciting j­­ob opportunities, with relevant travel and growth opportunities. The best way to motivate them to stay at your organisation is to authorize their periodic secondment or transfer to your offices in other locations.

Evaluate each employee’s SMART goals to understand when and who deserves to be rightly receive a promotion.

16. Comfortable office space: Your employee’s workplace needs to be an area of absolute zen. You company should allow for customization, without encouraging vandalism of office property, and it would also help for the furniture to be super ergonomic & comfortable to usage.Some companies, like Microsoft, have open-office spaces. They avoid fixed desk spaces and have break-out areas with interiors that seek to project, an at-one-with-nature feel. This means that employees sit at a different space every day, thus network better with their colleagues, and can also de-stress while they sit in a large garden-swing by the window.

17. Fit employees into roles that suit them best: Every employee has something that they are really good at. But it might not be what they currently do.So it’s up to your HR managers to keep track of employee progress, understand they interests and rejig the teams once in a while, to fit employees into roles that they are most productive in.

18. Support a good cause: The Gen Y employees tend to be particularly passionate about being able to contribute positively to the world.If you encourage your people to contribute to company-approved charities, it has two direct benefits. One, it shows your employees that you are a firm with a heart. And two, it creates a bond between employees who have a giving nature.

19. Variable pay: Pay bonuses, retirement benefits, paid sabbatical & stock options; basis the performance, encourages your employees to clearly demarcate goals and achieve better results thus help them focus on their goals.

20. Personal development during office hours: Google is famously known to allow employees 20% of their work time to spend on their own personal pet projects. This makes it possible for employees to take a break from “work” and encourages an environment of unfettered innovation.


21. Brain-storm and engage: It could be feedback on your company’s latest ad campaign, or thoughts on what the cafeteria menu should include – but it helps to take inputs from your employees and make them part of the less strategic decisions.

22. Focus on training and development: Millennials want as much training, basis the areas they need to improve on, as possible. You must build and measure the effectiveness of such learning and education sessions to deliver the best training to your employees.


23. Encourage internal hires: There is nothing like an internal employee, who knows your company and its everyday functions, to fill in for a senior role that he vies for. If the orchestration of your succession plan is smooth, you can be sure to retain the best of talent and keep their motivation levels high.

24. Freedom of dress code: Your employees, depending of the industry they operate it, should be given the freedom of express their style. While basic workplace decency norms should be in place, your employees need to be given a free reign to dress comfortably when they have no formal meetings to attend.

25. Be a transparent organisation: Your employee has every right to know about what happens in the organization (new hires, change in policies, brand upheavals etc). Newsletters, informative videos, social media updates and town hall meets, are some of the most commonly used and effective means of internal communications.

26. Show me the money: At the end of the day, people mostly work for the money. Nothing could motivate them more than a fat pay-cheque. So you need to ensure that the salaries you have on offer are competitive enough to motivate your people.


27. Free comfort food: Really, who doesn’t love them some comfort food? And did someone just say “FREE food”?
There is nothing quite like a pick-me-up, which the office sponsors, to placate your employees when they have those late evening or early morning munchies. With this gesture, trust us; they will love you for ever.


‘A happy & driven employee make-eth a profitable company’ they say; or at least that what most relevant research alludes to. Globally, employee engagement is at 61%, and growing.

Have your company add to this encouraging statistic – motivate and engage today!

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If you have other effective ideas for employee motivation, we would love to hear about it and also add to this list!

TAGS: Cloud HR, Employee Engagement, Online HR Tools

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