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How to Motivate Your Employees for Greater Engagement

Published 7th December 2016 by Melissa Farrington
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From continuous learning and development to a clearly defined purpose, businesses are seeing the long-term benefits of responding to the motivators that get people up in the morning…

In a world where unsatisfied employees are quick to head for the door, it’s never been more important to discover what engages and motivates your people. According to Daniel Pink, author of the New York Times bestseller Drive, we all have powerful internal motivators that drive and engage us. The key to improved loyalty, productivity and performance lies in how we identify and tap into those motivators.

So what are these key drivers and how do we capitalise on them?


Employees driven by mastery seek being highly skilled and accomplished. Continuous learning and development is crucial here. Offer broad L&D opportunities – these can range from formal training programmes, to job exchanges or mentoring.

Thinking outside the box to encourage mastery beyond the 9-5 can help too. For example, Ecommerce company Kount subsidises race fees to encourage employees motivated by a competitive drive, with the added benefit of a healthier work-life balance.


Employees driven by autonomy need to be empowered to succeed. Provide the right support, trust and encouragement for these employees to take on more responsibility, make their own decisions and step up to lead. Reduce internal deadlines, minimise paperwork, invite them to call and lead meetings when they want to. It will foster a sense of ownership and can lead to better team work and productivity.


We all have powerful internal motivators that drive us, so the key to improved loyalty, productivity and performance lies in how we identify and tap into those motivators.


For employees driven by purpose, an understanding of the organisation’s ambition is paramount. Understanding the business’ vision can be a powerful motivator for some people, driving employee advocacy, a stronger work ethic and a drive to succeed.

Adam Grant, management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, highlights medical company Medtronic, which hosts an annual employee party for 30,000 people, where patients talk about how the company’s products have changed their lives. By connecting employees with a higher purpose, Medtronic deepens employee engagement, encouraging its people to align their personal principles with their professional actions. 


How internal motivators drive employee engagement

Our annual Investors in People employee sentiment poll and Deloitte say it all…

  • 24% of employees say they would rather their employer invested more in their training and development than receive a 3% payrise
  • 33% of employees say they’re more motivated to do a good job when they have a good relationship with their manager
  • 60% of employees cited purpose as the reason they chose their current employer