6 Ways to Keep Your Employees Motivated

11 min. read

What is motivation? What does it mean to feel motivated? Motivated simply means an interest or enthusiasm to do something.

At work, motivated employees are highly interested and enthusiastic to complete work tasks and contribute toward the overall goals of their workplace. Motivation often leads to increased productivity and a feeling of accomplishment.

Employee motivation goes hand-in-hand with increasing productivity. But what keeps employees motivated? And what can you do to keep that going?

If motivated employees is your goal, a good place to start is understanding employee happiness.

Happiness is simply defined as a feeling of enjoyment or pleasure. People instinctively know what happiness means to them, which is why the only effective way to find out if someone feels happy is to ask them (based on their feelings).

There are three parts to measuring happiness (not to ruin the feeling):

1. The presence of positive emotions like enjoyment, pleasure, fun, etc.

2. The absence of negative emotions like upset, anger, frustration, etc.

3. Having what you need or want (satisfaction).

If a person experiences positive emotions, not too many negative emotions, and has what they need or want — they can be said to feel happy.

When was the last time you felt interested or enthusiastic (motivated) while also at the same time feeling upset, pissed off, or angry? Probably never. It is no different for employees when they feel unhappy. Unhappy employees are not motivated because they are so distracted by their unhappiness that they can barely get anything done.

While it is true that happy employees are not always motivated, multiple studies support that happy employees are far more likely to feel motivated. One such study was conducted by Oxford University in 2023. Oxford concluded that happy employees get at least 13% more done (and are more motivated!).


Give your people the chance they deserve to experience motivation at work — find ways to measure and improve their happiness. Do this, and you’ll find a significant increase in motivation and production.

Happiness can be measured and improved. This is where Amazing Workplace’s Employee Happiness Management System (EHMS)™ comes in! EHMS was built using decades of extensive research, cutting-edge technologies, and practical experience in improving employee happiness. But, if you are reading this, you may not yet have EHMS… so for all of you out there who care about your people, here are six things to focus on to accomplish that. We call them Happiness Drivers!

#1: Meaning

It’s hard for employees to feel motivated when they feel like their work has little or no meaning. Why would someone pour their time, energy, and effort into something they felt was meaningless?

Meaning is simply defined as having an important reason for doing something. At a workplace, every person's job is important because every job helps a workplace accomplish its purpose and achieve its goals.

Every workplace has specific goals and a purpose (or mission) that it wants to achieve. These are important to the workplace.

When people feel that they have an important reason for doing their job and they understand how their job contributes to their workplace's goals and purpose (mission), they experience meaning at work. Meaning can also be described as feeling valuable, important, inspired at work, and proud to work for your workplace.

So, it makes sense that when people feel they have an important reason for doing their job and understand how it contributes to their workplace's goals and mission, they experience meaning, which builds happiness and motivation. Help your people find meaning in their work and watch their happiness increase!

#2: Empowerment

Everyone wants to feel empowered, but what does “empowerment” mean?

Empowerment simply means that a person feels that they have the power to do something, to be effective. At work, empowerment means that a person has what they need and want to get work done and be successful (effective at work).

Empowerment includes the tools, resources, training, and support from those around them and their workplace in order to get work done and be successful. Empowerment can also include other things like the freedom to make choices, improve the way things are done (processes), and control the outcome of tasks and projects at work.

Leaders, coworkers, and workplaces can positively impact empowerment by making time to understand and support what people need and want to get work done and be successful.

Simply put, empowered employees are motivated employees.

#3: Growth

Unhappy employees often say it’s because there’s no growth in their jobs. They feel stuck and like they aren’t going anywhere, or they feel that growth opportunities aren’t available.

Like needing meaning in their work, people need to feel like they’re growing, and they need to be able to see that growth to keep it going.

Growth means that a person feels like they are able to achieve their work goals. Understanding and supporting a person's work goals results in people feeling that there are growth opportunities at their workplace.

The first step in the growth process is understanding and mastering work tasks for a job. For some, the growth process includes opportunities to add new work tasks and responsibilities within a job. Growth can also include promotion opportunities, leadership roles, and other work goals.

Leaders, coworkers, and workplaces can positively impact how people feel about growth by making time to understand people's work goals and then giving support toward achieving those goals.

Employees who feel like they can achieve their work goals experience growth. When employees are given growth opportunities, they feel happier and more motivated, and this is a key way to keep your employees motivated.

#4: Balance

Think back to a time when you felt happy with how things were going in your life. Now, think about everything that contributed to that feeling: how was your personal life? Your work life? Were you feeling stressed out about work and couldn’t enjoy your own time? Were you so stressed about personal matters that it was hard to get motivated at work?

We’re willing to bet that you didn’t feel like you had to sacrifice one for the other. Your personal life helped you feel happier and more motivated at work, which made you feel more motivated outside of your job, and the cycle continued.

Balance is simply defined as a feeling of well-being at work and in life. Balance is measured by looking at how happy a person feels about:

(1) The amount of time and support they have at work,

(2) The amount of time and support they have for things outside of work (life), and

(3) The amount of stress (unhappiness) they experience at work and in life.

Stress is simply defined as a feeling of frustration, anger, upset, or confusion because of something or someone. Stress commonly includes a feeling like nothing can be done about it.

Leaders, coworkers, and workplaces can positively impact balance by making time to understand and support what is important to people at work and in life.

By helping your people feel balanced, you help them feel motivated and happy to keep that cycle going, ultimately leading to increased productivity and reduced turnover. That’s a win-win.

#5: Rewards

Humans are driven by achievement. It’s no secret that rewards make people happy and motivate them to be more productive.

Rewards are simply defined as something given to show appreciation for one's work, effort, and achievements.

At work, rewards include pay, benefits, acknowledgment, and recognition:

  • Pay is simply defined as the amount of money given in exchange for completing work or performing a job.
  • Benefits are simply defined as any extra things (other than pay) given to employees. Benefits do not include salary or pay. Examples include paid time off, medical insurance, retirement plans, free parking, snacks, and more.
  • Additional rewards are simply defined as something (other than pay) given to show appreciation for one’s work, efforts, or achievements. Examples include recognition for a job well done, feeling appreciated, feeling valued, getting promoted, receiving more responsibility, and other acknowledgments connected to the work you do.

There is an old saying that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and the same is true for rewarding employees. You’ll boost your team’s motivation and happiness when you reward them for doing what they do best.

#6: Safety

The last way to keep your employees motivated is safety. Safety is simply defined as feeling protected from or not exposed to bad things happening to them (physically or emotionally).

Physical safety is a feeling that a person's body is not at risk of injury or harm at work.

Emotional safety is the feeling that people are not at risk of getting yelled at, punished, made fun of, or fired (emotional injury or harm at work).

When a person feels safe at work, they feel free to make mistakes, speak up, get help, ask questions, and do their work without bad things happening to them.

At Amazing Workplace, our core philosophy for giving and receiving feedback is to Make it Safe. What does that look like?

  • Make it safe to give and receive feedback by setting a weekly or monthly low-pressure meeting with each team member. Present these meetings as a "Check-in" or "Support Meeting."
  • As the leader, start these meetings with a simple "How is it going?" and move to "Is there anything you need that I can help with?" or "How are you feeling about your current work?"
  • Sometimes, these meetings lead to a light personal conversation, or sometimes they resolve something challenging for the employee. Whatever the approach, creating a predictable, safe place and time to exchange feedback is the most important thing.

These are all crucial ingredients in the recipe for creating happy, motivated employees who are invested in the productivity of their workplace.

Bonus Tip: Implement Our Employee Happiness Management System (EHMS)™

At Amazing Workplace, our Employee Happiness Management System (EHMS)™ goes beyond surveys; it provides real-time insights to inform decisions based on how employees feel. Its key benefits include:

  • Improving recruiting
  • Boosting productivity
  • Enhancing financial performance
  • Reducing turnover
  • Prioritizing employee happiness

Here’s how EHMS unlocks employee happiness:

  • EHMS leverages AI to capture employee emotions accurately while offering next-day access to actionable results
  • EHMS empowers leaders to engage in meaningful conversations with specific employee groups about relevant topics
  • EHMS includes an Employee Comment Management System to effectively utilize employee feedback and promote verified employee reviews for recruiting purposes

Organizational happiness is the foundation on which success is built—that foundation is provided by Amazing Workplace. Contact us today to schedule your demo!