10 effective (and free) ways to motivate your team

Suzanne Winterflood
10 effective (and free) ways to motivate your team

Career satisfaction is vital to Kiwis. According to a 2014 survey by GFK, 82% of us believe that being happy at work plays a pivotal role in our overall happiness. And the cheerier we are, the better we perform. Happy staff are, on average, 12% more productive than their grumpier colleagues1.

Keeping morale high isn’t simply a matter of regular pay rises and the occasional team-bonding away day – although they definitely help. Here are 10 smart ways managers can motivate their team without blowing the budget.


1. Share the company vision

Showing everyone that they’re not just a cog in a wheel, but an essential part of a defined, ambitious plan, is exciting and inspiring. It gives each staff member purpose and a sense of ownership.


2. Encourage collaborative thinking

Ask employees to participate in decision-making, and be receptive to their opinions. Great ideas can come from anywhere in the company, and will shape a more positive and progressive work environment.


3. Recognise good work

Whether it’s in the form of a simple thank-you or an all-staff celebration, being genuinely appreciated is a powerful motivator.


4. Be flexible

New Zealanders are embracing the part-time, flexi-time, work-at-the-beach mentality, and managers need to be equally adaptable. If you can give your employees some freedom in how, when and where they work, they’ll repay you with renewed efficiency and long-term loyalty.


5. Be honest

Countless business studies have found that the number one contributor to employee happiness is transparency. Staff want to know what’s going on in the company, and be kept in the loop about new developments. Tell them first, before you make announcements to the clients, suppliers, or media.


6. Stay in touch

A remote, inaccessible manager won’t have a clue about staff issues. Make a point of talking to staff one-on-one, as well as at group get-togethers. Really listen to what they have to say.


7. Lead by example

People work harder for bosses who work hard too.


8. Give regular, constructive feedback and guidance

Demonstrate your confidence in each employee’s abilities, and nurture their potential. Empower them to set their own goals and manage their own performance.


9. Have fun

The average Kiwi will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime2. So, we may as well enjoy ourselves while we’re there. Foster a strong team spirit, facilitate connections between all levels of employees, and offer regular opportunities to socialise.


10. Ask these questions

The Gallup Q12 survey identifies the 12 essential questions you should ask your staff to find out just how engaged and motivated they are:

  • Do you know what’s expected of you at work?

  • Do you have the equipment you need?

  • Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best?

  • In the last week, have you received recognition for doing good work?

  • Does your supervisor care about you as a person?

  • Is there someone who encourages your development?

  • Do your opinions count?

  • Does your company’s purpose make you feel your job is important?

  • Are your colleagues committed to quality?

  • Do you have a best friend at work?

  • In the last six months, has someone talked to you about your progress?

  • In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

Any “no” answers? Those are the areas you need to concentrate on.


And… what not to do

Facebook employee number 30, Noah Kagan, revealed that a 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg would “motivate” staff by walking around the office waving a samurai sword. Since then, Zuckerberg has found more orthodox ways to inspire his 8,000+ underlings – in 2013 he was rated the most popular boss in the world.


1. Research from University of Warwick.

2. Businessinsider.com

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