Any employer or team leader knows that motivating one’s employees or subordinates and, what’s more important, keeping them motivated is a tremendously complicated task. One would think that giving them fat bonuses for especially impressive performance would be enough; unfortunately, even if you can afford it (most startups cannot), human psychology is a little bit more complicated, which means that the most obvious and logical way of improving things is not always the best. Let’s take a look at 4 methods that may sound far-fetched but have proved their efficiency time and again.

1.      Friendly Work Environment

Your employees are going to spend a big part of their lives at the office; so it is your job to make them feel at home. If they feel at ease in their work environment, they are more eager to go to work every day, have better mood and are more productive in general. Comfort is comprised of many things, from having enough space to breathe and walk around to maintaining proper temperature and having enough natural light.

2.      Recognition and Praise

Peculiarly enough, when asked why they feel unmotivated at work or why they quit their job, most people refer not to low salaries and long hours, but to the feeling that their efforts go unnoticed and underappreciated. Yes, exactly: to many people immaterial rewards like public recognition of their value to the company serve as a much greater incentive than actual hard cash. This is exactly the premise on which services like Hoopla are based – installing a public performance broadcasting system that will keep track of all your employees’ results, showing off leaderboards and paying special attention to successes of particular people it is reported to make them much more willing to work harder.

3.      Individual Attention

While systems like Hoopla are all fine and dandy, nothing beats a little bit of personal touch. Recognize your employees, know their names and positions, make sure to praise an overachieving employee personally and find time to have a talk or two with underachievers to help them work through their problems. Again, individual recognition of one’s efforts is much more pleasant for many people than any material benefits.

4.      Rewards

However, it would be wrong to downplay the importance of good old tangible rewards – and there are always people who are indifferent or even annoyed by praise but will be more than happy to get a monetary bonus. Rewards can be organized in many ways: you may run a competition to see who can generate the greatest revenue in a certain period, or who completes the project first, or something else. Just make sure your employees clearly understand what they are supposed to do in order to earn their rewards, and always give them when to the worthy ones.

Employee motivation is a complicated topic: each company has its own set of strategies and approaches reflecting the corporate spirit and image. There are no surefire ways of making your employees willing to go an extra mile – you should choose your own path and find out what works best for you.