In 2017, Gallup released the results of a poll that showed employee engagement in the U.S. was at a measly 15% in the U.S. workplace. Two years later, the number had jumped to 34%.

Why? Because companies started realizing what poor motivation and lack of engagement were costing them, an estimated $550 billion a year. That’s enough to build a new stadium for every NFL game, two years in a row. 

Why Motivation Matters

Back in the day, many leaders thought salary, benefits, and the threat of losing your job were motivation enough. In reality, that’s not the case. Those things only keep employees engaged until they find something better.

If you want to improve retention, productivity, creativity, and innovation, you must invest in motivating and supporting your employees. 

As we get toward the end of the year, or even the end of a big project, keeping team members motivated is challenging. People get tired, they lose focus, and things start to unravel. But there’s always a way to get back on track and push through to the finish line. Let’s take a look at some of these ways.

Strategies to Foster Motivation and Engagement

One of the biggest challenges towards the end of the year, near the end of a big project, or in generally uncertain times, is that team members lose focus. They lose sight of the end goal, forget the plan, or start to lose interest in the project.

That’s why having a plan, setting goals, and concentrating on feedback loops that inspire engagement are critical for leaders who want to improve motivation.

“If the project is broken into pieces that feel really connected and engaging to teams, they don’t have motivation problems,” says Tim Yeomans, FiredUp! Executive Vice President. “When things are very esoteric and responsibility is somewhat nebulous, that’s when people struggle.”

Here are five ways leaders can spark motivation in their organizations. 

  1. Have a plan. A common misconception is that plans force you into a box. Instead, plans provide structure that allows for creativity, adaptation, and flexibility. 
  2. Establish norms. Communicate clearly about what is expected of every team member, how they should interact with each other, and what their responsibilities and accountabilities are. 
  3. Set milestone goals. Interim goals help establish and reinforce a sense of accomplishment so team members stay focused and motivated.
  4. Provide constant feedback. When team members don’t get feedback, they feel disconnected from their work, less valued, and less motivated to continue doing good work. 
  5. Celebrate wins. Pushing team members without rewards or acknowledgement is a textbook recipe for burnout. Celebrating wins reminds team members that you care, they matter, and their work is meaningful.

“Those little things send a message and the message is we notice. We’re paying attention. We see. That’s really what’s most important to people, is that their work is meaningful and that they are valued in that process,” notes Yeomans.

Staying motivated is just one of the many benefits of striving to create an exceptional work culture. Find out how to transform your company culture by downloading our free workbook.