When do you stop supporting your team?

Increasing employee motivation is much easier and cheaper than most executives think. Unfortunately, most companies still don't get it right. These five practical examples show how you can easily inspire your employees.

(For 25 more examples, see our Employee Motivation Guide.)

Executives are busy, employees have too much respect for raising their voices and the corporate culture is in dire straits. Many hear about the importance of employee motivation and its benefits for company results, but simply don't know where to start. The answer is very simple:

What employees really want is respect!

Treat your co-workers the same way you would treat your own mother. This very simple rule of thumb guarantees that your employees are motivated and committed.

In addition, there are numerous measures that increase employee motivation. You can inspire your team with our five simple, actionable examples of employee motivation.

5 examples for your team

These five examples and tips can be implemented in your company and are guaranteed to be loved and valued by your team.

1. Help for self-development: coaching

Self-development and personal development are one of the most important factors in employee motivation. Employees should always have the feeling that they are growing in themselves and in their tasks.

When employees stop developing, being creative and challenging themselves, they start to get bored. Worse still: If you see that your colleagues are developing but you don't, you believe in personal regression: Absolutely demotivating! As a manager, you should do everything to ensure that your employees achieve personal development.

“Stay away from those who try to belittle your ambition. Small minds always do that, but the really big ones give you the feeling that you too can grow up. " - Mark Twain

You should also keep in mind that employees are often afraid to ask for help because they don't want to seem like they don't know what to do. Even if you have the courage to ask for help, it is unlikely that you will have the time to help them adequately. In-house coaching is a good way to prevent this. Internal coaching has many clear advantages, including the coaches' knowledge of internal structures and corporate culture, informal rules and internal processes in the company, which enables a quick and in-depth systemic understanding.

Success story: In-house coaching of the Tiroler Landeskrankenanstalten GmbH - TILAK GmbH

With around 8,000 employees, TILAK GmbH is the largest healthcare company in western Austria. Since it was founded in 1991, TILAK GmbH has focused its personnel policy on the promotion, development and safety of its employees. The implementation of the Coaching and Consulting (´mcb) department in 2009 was a special aspect of this personnel policy: This internal department offers employees free coaching and consulting services in professional and private problem situations.

It is the task of the ´mcb department to provide individual support to employees in professional and personal problem situations. The offer differentiates between coaching, individual training and advice:

  • The coaching offers individual support for all employees in order to support them in their professional development and achievement of goals.
  • The individual training serves to develop personality skills, taking into account special future events and milestones and including personal and professional biography. This offer gives employees the opportunity to self-reflect on upcoming professional and private issues under professional guidance.
  • Advice focuses on the personal and family level of the employees. Here, solutions should be worked out and found together with the employees.

All employees of TILAK GmbH, regardless of their extent of employment and employment relationship, can use the services of the ´mcb department free of charge for five hours per calendar year during their working hours and indefinitely in their free time.

Now that the ´mcb department has been in existence for four years, it can be said that the offer has been well received by the employees. In the meantime, every tenth employee has had experience with the services of the department. The topics and problems in both coaching and consulting are as multi-layered and multi-faceted as the employees themselves. It ranges from the structuring of a learning model in student coaching to all conceivable private, family and professional problems to existential topics and questions of meaning the bow of the challenge.

2. Give employees a voice: feedback

For employee motivation, it is important that your employees notice that their voice has weight and that they can actively participate in helping to shape the company. They need to be able to express what is on their mind. Give your employees a way to express themselves and get rid of their feedback. Employees must also get the feeling that their feedback is followed by reactions. Employee surveys are ideal for this. These should be carried out regularly in order to provide the most profitable data possible.

Success story: employee feedback at the SELLBYTEL Group

The SELLBYTEL Group, founded by Michael Raum in Nuremberg over 28 years ago, is a globally operating outsourcing expert and recruitment specialist, providing solutions in the areas of customer service, sales, user help desks, human resources, training and coaching, health market solutions and back office offers. The SELLBYTEL Group employs around 8,000 people at over 60 locations worldwide who speak over 45 languages. In order to implement sensible and efficient feedback management for so many employees, Daniel Losert, Operations Manager at SELLBYTEL, relies on honestly. His goal of implementing employee surveys as often as possible, also on a daily basis, can be achieved with Honestly.

“I need a constant flow of feedback in order to derive main topics, to address them with priority and thus to improve the mood and to sustainably reduce sickness and fluctuation - in the long term in the operative business, not just once. If we only think in terms of salary, we will benchmark ourselves against thousands of others. But we just want to make the lives of our employees more beautiful overall. " - Daniel Losert

SELLBYTEL employees use the Engage app and feedback terminals to implement this. With the help of these two tools, they can answer questionnaires developed by Daniel Losert to get rid of their feedback and suggestions. The answers should reflect the opinion of the employees in an absolutely honest manner, should not gloss over anything and clearly point out problems. Therefore, anonymity is crucial in the surveys. Losert then evaluates the information and data obtained from this in the manager dashboard. Using the Honestly software's dashboard functions, they receive the reports they need to present their findings to management.

The investment is worth it: Thanks to Honestly, SELLBYTEL has already achieved savings in terms of work effort and costs. The sickness rate in Leipzig has halved, which means around € 10,000 less per month in personnel costs. Taking into account the fewer sick days, i.e. lost sales, this results in a total of around € 30,000. It also saves a lot of work.
With the help of the findings from the employee surveys, Losert can identify where optimizations can be made quickly and with little effort. The employees, in turn, feel heard and valued.
“Sometimes it costs money to change things. But looking back, we were able to conceptually and strategically solve a lot of things that did not cause any costs. In terms of effort, you can already say that you save 10% operational effort because the tool delivers everything. Otherwise you would hold meetings during that time. "

3. With a smile to work: Feelgood Management

Any job can be monotonous and frustrating. If there is too much routine in the work environment, every job becomes boring. Your employees must be allowed to relax and have fun for once. Well-being and having fun at work are important factors in employee motivation. So important, in fact, that they are no longer a marginal topic, but that they have to be dealt with intensively and with specific measures.

Success story: Feelgood Management at codecentric

Codecentric AG sees itself as a thought leader for agile software development and innovative technologies in Germany. Your business model combines the know-how of IT architects and software developers with practical knowledge from numerous projects in areas such as continuous delivery, big data, performance solutions, agile and enterprise development. 350 people are employed at 15 European locations. Nick Prosch is one of them. As Feelgood Manager, he is responsible for ensuring that colleagues enjoy their work. In a sense, his success is measured by the smiles of his colleagues. In an interview with feelgood-at-work.de he explains: He sees himself as an internal staff position that is primarily there for his colleagues. It is not his job to represent the company to the outside world. His focus is personal and inward. He actively works on culture, the working atmosphere and a sense of togetherness. His tasks include:

  • internal communication
  • Team building
  • Onboarding
  • facility management

Intranet or a large company calendar in the coffee kitchen, on which everyone can scribble, are used for internal communication. Team events take place regularly, from large celebrations to small meetings. New employees are taken by the hand if there is no team or project yet and regularly encouraged to exchange experiences. So the job covers a very broad spectrum - from craftsmen to management consultants, there is a little bit of everything.

The goal at codecentrics Feelgood Management is to remain a team as much as possible, despite growth and expansion to other locations, and to maintain the good mood. The bigger you get, the more you have to cultivate the culture in order not to become an interchangeable employer at some point. The feeling of togetherness is extremely important and identification with the company itself, not just with the job.
Feelgood management is not about trying to make work as pleasant as possible so that employees will work more voluntarily. Periods of rest and family are also part of feelgood management. The work-life balance should be promoted. Too much work, even if you do it with pleasure and passion, leads to burnout problems. Of course, this has to be avoided, not reinforced.
There is no precise key figure for feelgood management. A person who exudes satisfaction is the best indicator of well-functioning feelgood management - better than any key figure.

4. Healthy mind, healthy body: health management

Employees work hard. Managers are interested in the highest possible productivity, but overhaul is not a solution. Here the health of the workers suffers massively. In order to be motivated and efficient, the health of employees is important. Health and sports activities are also very important as a balance to the job.

Success story: health management at BurdaDirect

BurdaDirect is a subsidiary of the media group Hubert Burda Media and part of the National Digital Brands division. It is one of the leading companies for cross-media performance around services in the areas of customer management, subscription service and e-commerce. Sales and marketing are combined into a full service for online and offline business models in order to offer customers cross-media dialogue marketing as well as target group-oriented multichannel marketing and customized CRM tools.
In 2009, BurdaDirect GmbH saw corporate health management as a productivity and competitive factor. The foundation stone for the start of a health project was laid with the AOL. The “Health” project group was founded to implement measures. The cooperative collaboration in the field of company health management is organized under the motto “Make those affected become involved”. First, an extensive analysis was carried out, based on the evaluation of the annual incapacity data for the branch in Saxony-Anhalt. An anonymous employee survey agreed with the employees and a workplace inspection with short interviews were then carried out.
The most common health complaints mentioned: back pain (36.4%), tension, cramps (27.3%) due to monotonous sedentary work.

Under the slogan Colorful fitness makers in mini format colorful Thera bands were used for specific strengthening and stretching exercises directly at the workplace. Movement specialists conducted a total of eight workplace-related back training courses in order to minimize one-sided stress on all employees in the long term and to take active preventive breaks on their own. A health day with many health checkups such as an exclusive eye test, a measurement of individual stress levels and a taster course for spinal gymnastics was also held on the premises of BurdaDirect GmbH.
The employees' personal responsibility for their health grew steadily. In a feedback discussion with the employees at the end of the project year, those involved expressed the following:

  • 85% of all employees thought the implemented project measures were good
  • 95% of the participants in the workplace-related back training program found this measure to be very important and beneficial for maintaining their own health
  • 65% of the participants regularly use the compensatory exercises they have learned
  • 88% wanted the health measures to be continued in the following year

5. Encourage experimentation: improve error culture

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." - Ken Robinson

Your employees must experience that it is okay to make mistakes and to break new ground. The fear of failure stifles any spark of creativity and originality. Everyone should be open and honest about their failures so that lessons can be learned from them. As a manager or HR manager, you are there to make it clear that failures are okay and that mistakes do not cause irreparable damage. This will keep your employees motivated and committed to trying out more.

Success story: Fuck-Up-Nights

The so-called Fuckup Nights, invented in Mexico City in 2012, now serve as a platform for failed young entrepreneurs around the world. They report on their failures in front of an audience. In Germany, the event, which takes place in different cities, is becoming increasingly popular. Because it can help to change society's view of unsuccessful projects. And it can convey to the start-up scene which mistakes should be avoided.
Although the speakers report a serious setback in their professional life, the atmosphere at the Fuckup Nights - FUN for short - is very humorous. They form a community, because failure is interpreted differently here, even celebrated. The context of the Fuck-Up Nights clearly shows that entrepreneurs do not have to hide behind their mistakes, and that you grow with these mistakes.

If you have made experience with the implementation of our five examples, have already successfully implemented other ideas for employee motivation yourself, or we have forgotten them, we look forward to finding your thoughts on the topic in the comments.

Read more on the subject in our employee motivation guide.