How can motivation affect an employee

Employee motivation: 25 tips and examples that work effectively

Motivating and leading employees must be one of the core competencies as a team leader. But superiors often fail at this task. I too have to learn what works and what doesn't. In this post you will find my best tips and more than 25 practical examples, tried out on the “living object” - our team.

Are you a chief or an Indian? Lion or antelope? Or better: What do you want to be? Going forward requires courage, but also charisma. After all, you have to endure taking responsibility.

And that's exactly where we are with our agency. Last year we literally exploded in terms of personnel. And of course: We love flat or zero hierarchies.

Nevertheless, the team is repositioning itself: Those who grow cannot do so without structures. So we have - have I - the topic of team leadership on the agenda. A good leader of the pack knows that nothing works without people's motivation.

I want what we all found out together, what motivates our employees and makes them happy share with everyone facing similar challenges.

Of course, we didn't reinvent the wheel. You have probably already heard many tips or you are even applying them. Then congratulations!

But sometimes you just have to be told again. A motivation hole creeps in too quickly in everyday life. I'm also sure: There is still something new for you too ... These tips will really help you to increase employee motivation. Easy, quick, even without money.


Tip 1: Praise - motivate employees without money

Fast and free: praise in front of the assembled team. This tip doesn't cost you a cent and is still a powerful multiplier for business success.

When an achievement is publicly recognized, you kill two birds with one stone: You give your employee a powerful motivational boost (If you praise someone in a larger group, it is more lasting than just in an appraisal, because it sticks in the collective memory) and you motivate the entire team present at the same time.

Because everyone would like to be the next to receive praise from their boss for their achievements.

Examples: It can be used in regular team meetings become a fixed ritual. In advance, you think about who deserves special recognition.

If you don't know in detail, get advice from your department heads, project managers, deputies, etc.

And if you ever plan a round of praise, give the “warm shower” a try. For about 3 days, slips of paper with the names of the employees on which each colleague (and the boss, too!) Can leave anonymous words of praise are deposited in a non-visible place.

Only positive comments are allowed! And if it's just "I like your friendly smile" - everything counts. Become a warm showerer, it works wonders!

Tip 2: Open communication and transparent decisions

We talk a lot at work, but communication is always a huge problem that leads to misunderstandings. Therefore: Maintain open communication, make clear statements and formulate them exactly.

If possible, involve as many people as possible in your decisionswho have the appropriate know-how. Make decisions transparent.

Because wrong communication not only leads to misunderstandings between team members; It becomes very difficult when a project is ruined by it - simply because you have talked completely past each other. The frustration is great, the motivation is in the basement.

Example: Perform regular Meetings in large groups one to inform your team of the most important decisions. At Pinetco it's called Meet & Meal on Wednesdays: There are updates on current projects, the sales pipeline or internal matters. Everyone is picked up here for the most important events.

But: Not all employees need to be informed about everything in detail. Set a time limit and define whether everyone really needs to know where customer XY is currently in the sales process.

Tip 3: Giving work meaning in order to lead employees

Why do you get up every morning What drives you You know exactly about yourself. Do you know it with your employees too? No? But you should.

Because: If you know what you're doing the job for, you'll find the right motivation for it. So give the work a meaning. It is not important HOW we work today, but WHY we do what we do. If a person develops a real passion for his job, then he will not fall into any motivation hole.

Example: Ask your employees what their big dream is. Big thinking is expressly encouraged! And if the goal is the Ferrari, then take it seriously. Forge a master plan with your employee on how to get one step closer to his dream.

What concrete steps does he have to take, what does he have to learn in order to become more valuable for your company? This gives him (or her) the chance of an increasing salary, but at the same time binds him or her as a specialized employee, so that the investment in knowledge is not lost.

Those who feel understood and taken along want to achieve their dream in YOUR company - and step on the gas accordingly. This is how employee motivation works!

Tip 4: Leadership - the boss as a good role model

If you want to motivate your employees, one thing must not be: a bad role model. Set a good example as a boss or manager, that deprives the complainers of the basis.

People learn a lot through imitation (see also social cognitive learning theory), to present themselves as a detached superior to whom the rules of good teamwork do not apply, firstly makes you unpopular and secondly it undermines motivation. True to the motto "If the boss doesn't do it, why should I ...?"

Example: Anyone who only works according to regulations, but expects permanent overtime from their employees, is not a good motivator. Be punctual and prepared, because you don't expect anything else from your employees.

In order to do you pay them respect, which definitely has a positive effect on morale and effectiveness.

Tip 5: Nothing motivates more than trust

Trust is the basis of every functioning relationship - also between boss and employee. You probably know. Anyone who is permanently under pressure - in other words, under control - becomes insecure, unmotivated, ineffective.

How do I create a trusting relationship? Unleash the people. Trust is learned. Those who have often been disappointed in life become suspicious.

Statements like “we've always done it this way” are counterproductive. Give your people room to breathe and freedomto find your own way to deliver the best possible result.

Those who trust reduce their own workload: You don't have to review every step as a manager. Which rigid control bodies are pointless? What is preventing your employees from having an effective workflow? It urgently needs to be abolished.

As the boss, you cannot be informed about every detail. Trust reduces complexity, makes your already packed day easier and above all - it reflects trust!

Example: Always look at the result and do not check every intermediate step. It is helpful to ask the employee: Are you 100% satisfied with the result? If you still have doubts, please ask me or your colleagues for advice (you also have confidence in your entire team!).

Tip 6: Think big and develop personal goals: KPIs, OKRs

Everyone knows goals, everyone misses goals. So do you need them then? Yes, but the shape is very important! Imposed goals (let's be honest: these are guidelines!) Nobody needs and nobody fulfills them.

So what's the alternative? Is it KPIs that you are measured against? In other words, specific key figures that one must achieve.

Are they - thought further - OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)? That can be a good solution. OKRs (how it's done by Google in this video) help you think big - see also tip 3 - and at the same time find your place in the company. You make every employee an important, motivated piece of the puzzle for success.

Example: Find your mission! As an entrepreneur or founder, you are always a visionary. Work with your employees on the mission, the goal of your journey together:

Where will the company be in a year and where will it be in five years? Who can contribute to success and how? What milestones does the team need to accomplish the mission with flying colors?

This is about ambitious goals, and OKRs, as a challenge, can enormously increase the effectiveness of employees. By the way, it is also good for business success ...

Tip 7: A culture of mistakes helps a lot with motivation

Speaking of high goals, an established error culture is part of every good company today. Mistakes must be allowed.

Fear of doing something wrong inhibits creativity and leads to uncertainty. You already know, “If you don't do anything, you don't make mistakes”.

There needs to be room for trial and error. There are innumerable books on the subject, the essence of which is that the complex problems of today's world of work do not always have clear solutions. And these solutions do not have to be permanent.

Example: Your sales department has a new customer on the hook. You get to know each other, are apparently convinced of each other. You invest time and money in initiating business. The offer goes out.

And then - nothing happens. The potential customer jumps off. When asked, it turns out that a communication error by your employee led to this decision. Firing is probably the most common response.

But it is often worthwhile to analyze with the employee exactly where the problem is. Does the employee need more knowledge or more experience? Give him a second chance and he will do everything possible not to mess it up!

Tip 8: Motivate employees with a fair salary

Clearly, one cannot live on beautiful words alone. A fair salary is one of the most powerful arguments to increase employee motivation. But the effect also fizzles out quickly.

But what is a reasonable salary? This is difficult to assess, especially for founders or young entrepreneurs. So consider: How big and urgent is the problem that the person can solve? What added value does this have for the company?

You will not be able to keep someone in the long run who always has to be tight; However, you don't have to pay any wages that put a strain on your liquidity plan month after month. Because as I said: the salary is ONE component of employee motivation alongside many others.

Example: In an appraisal interview, the Question about a wage increase can also be addressed by the boss. Many people do not dare to ask for more salary.

Then don't you sit back comfortably and wait for things. Motivated employees are the basis of business success. Let your people participate financially in the success.

Tip 9: Celebrate success and thus motivate the team

“Not being scolded is praised enough”. Old Swabian proverb - do you know that? It's just nonsense.

Success has to be celebrated! Even small ones. Everyone knows how good it feels to have mastered a milestone or even personally important step. Empower the teamby acknowledging such things and sharing the joy of them.

Celebrating does not mean that there always has to be a lavish party. Toasting success - even if only with coffee (see tip 14!) -, briefly reviewing what has been achieved and enjoying the moment, is an essential prerequisite for being motivated to tackle new tasks.

On the other hand, it also means analyzing failures. Every failure leaves a learning effectthat will help everyone next time to tackle a challenge with more knowledge.

Examples: At Pinetco, we celebrate the end of a successful internship with a specially created medal for the intern. Bet everyone will pick it up?

A spontaneous pizza round as a thank you for a successful project doesn't cost the world, but is highly valued as a gesture.

When it comes to the big celebrations, always keep in mind: First and foremost, the company celebrates itself, so it has to be a celebration that suits you and at which the team feels comfortable. There is no need to book the finest restaurant if the majority of the staff would much rather dine on the burger grill.

Tip 10: Create intrinsic motivation through time to study

Extremely important, but often neglected: creating time for learning. Curiosity and a desire for knowledge are inherent in people from an early age. Because it is fun, makes sense and increases satisfaction.

A child has a natural urge to get to know the whole world. It not only learns eight hours a day, but also absorbs knowledge wherever it can.

This brings us to intrinsic learning, i.e. the drive that comes from within. And it is precisely this nerve that you need to activate in your employees. Those who learn on their own or continue their education do it out of conviction.

Conclusion: Knowledge acquisition becomes more effective. Similar to the goals mentioned in point 6, learning must not become an annoying duty, but part of everyday life. An intrinsic motivation is generated.

However, this requires resources, namely time and the support of the boss. The study “Instructions for use for lifelong learning” by the Vodafone Foundation found, for example:

“If the willingness to learn is mainly based on learning for pleasure, this is accompanied by greater stamina”.

Once you have internalized the concept of lifelong, intrinsic learning, you will never be lacking in motivation again.

Example: Define a a certain amount of time in the month that is used exclusively for further training for team members who are willing to learn. The content should of course fit the company.

No, you don't have to book expensive seminars (of course you can too), but you can find free information on countless specialist areas on the Internet. Videos are often helpful, because in a stressful job we don't always have the opportunity to study complex issues extensively.

Important: Learning time is work, but if you support your employees in acquiring knowledge in the way they want, they will also learn beyond working hours. Through intrinsic motivation.

Tip 11: Pay attention to a cultural fit, right from the start

At every interview, ask yourself: Does this person fit into my company? Do I want to spend most of my day with him? And you have to.

So rely on the so-called cultural fit in the application process. This describes the cultural, human component that cannot be valued highly enough.

How can the applicant integrate into the team? Does he have the same values ​​as his colleagues? Does he have the desired traits that the workforce values? If you give your employees a “rotten egg” here, that's a motivation killer. It makes sense to list important cultural skills in the job advertisement.

Example: Ask yourself a crucial question: I can imagine staying with this person for an eight-hour drive - and not feel uncomfortable for a minute?

Tip 12: Flexible working hours, work-life balance, work-life blend are a must

Hardly anyone today wants a job with rigid deadlines. Global digitization requires rethinking how we will work in the future (more on this in this article “7 working time models of the future that will bring your company profit - and make employees happy!”).

This is one of the most important motivational incentives: Having to be productive and creative at the push of a button rarely works. It's like laughing. You force a person to do something that is contrary to his inner drive.

Give him the freedom to think and act! No more staring at the clock! No more having to be present in the office!

Flexible working hours and home office are becoming more and more important, especially with regard to the compatibility of family and work or for caring for relatives. Companies simply cannot afford to lose bright minds just to insist on the 8-hour day or mandatory attendance.


For the generation of millennials, the work-life balance is no longer a bonus, but a prerequisite for even applying to your company.

And it even goes one step further: The work-life balance is now becoming a work-life blend. Work and private life are no longer strictly separated, everything merges because you decide for yourself what is done when and how.

Examples: You think part-time doesn't work in your team because the tasks are too extensive? Job sharing is a model to manage the workflow of a full-time position, but still enable the desire for reduced working hours.

Two employees share a job. And the results can be even more efficient because you can specialize in certain areas and the thinking power of two brains is now simply twice as high as that of one ...

Another tip: Schedule meetings in the morning hours. First we are People then at our performance high During the day and second, all employees who have to leave earlier in the afternoon can also take part. This means that there is no loss of knowledge transfer either.

And thirdly: With the right tools, working in the home office is no problem. At Pinetco we are in constant communication with each other via Slack - regardless of whether someone is in Boston at a conference, in Berlin at a customer meeting or in the living room in Wuppertal.

Tip 13: Think entrepreneurially and motivate employees by doing so

Now it's getting challenging. Because now you are asked as a superior: What are you willing to give up of your power? Would you share to motivate your team? This is exactly what teaching your employees to think like an entrepreneur is all about.

Successful entrepreneurs place their trust in the team and delegate responsibility. Because they know that this trust will come back and be rewarded with strong performance.

Anyone who, as an employee, thinks and acts in the interests of the company, will

  1. a) act for the best of his company (because it is also his best!) and
  2. b) automatically contribute to the success of your business.

What does entrepreneurial thinking mean and how do you implement it? Pretty simple: you take your people with you into your world of thought. For example, is digitization a top priority in your medium-sized company?

Explain what your daily tasks are and why you solve them and how. Instead of just giving instructions as the big boss, become transparent, logical and fair in your decisions.

Examples: Check what you really have to decide and where you should better involve your team!

Is there any new software planned? Get the opinion of the people who have to work with it and don't just push them the cheapest, but most nonsensical. In the end, this saves frustration and money.

Entrepreneurial thinking can also be practiced when hiring a new employee. Take a trainee with you to the interview so that the entrepreneur can familiarize him with the recruiting process.

And let him have his say there too. He will be highly motivated because he values ​​your trust in his judgment.

Tip 14: Good coffee simply makes you happy

Coffee is the most popular drink among Germans. A GOOD coffee machine is a must have in a company: Whether in the office, machine shop or shop - people love freshly brewed coffee!

Incidentally, the drink not only provides power in the head with its caffeine, but also contains many antioxidants that are beneficial for the body.

Speaking of healthy and fit: sweets and nibbles are incredibly popular at work. Better to replace that with fresh fruit and cereal. Doesn't cost much more if you rely on seasonal products.

Example: Twice a week the Pinetcorians meet with a fresh, well-filled fruit basket happy. This is particularly recommended if the fruit comes from farmers' shops or organic markets.

And we love our fully automatic coffee machine! Many creative solutions to problems start here when you have a casual conversation with colleagues.

But, sorry, we are just “sinners”: At the Meet & Meal there is pasta and pizza. Love goes through the stomach - also to the boss who sponsors it ...

Tip 15: Strengthen self-confidence, very simple

In order to increase employee motivation, you need people who also know that they play an important role in the company. If you are kept small, you also work like a little light.

For entrepreneurs this means: Strengthen the self-confidence of your employees! How do you do it?

  1. By imparting knowledge that increases the power of one's own professional skills.
  2. Through experience, both at work and in life in general, to respond constructively to challenges.
  3. By releasing excessively high expectations of yourself and reflecting on your talents.

Example: You can learn to be self-confident. Sometimes a little nudge helps to recognize the inner strength. That doesn't cost the company a cent, just the courage to develop people.

Do not hold back specialist knowledge, but feed your team with all the important information. Recognize special talents in individual people who are specifically addressed and strengthened.

Maybe someone cannot speak so well in front of a large group, but can keep minutes perfectly in the background? Take him or her to many meetings to train technical expertise and presentation techniques at the same time. Soon the shyness will no longer be so great because you know exactly what to say.

If you want to make an investment in the development of your employees: There are definitely motivational speakers who bring about great, positive changes in people.

Tip 16: start the employee survey: what is hindering the workflow?

Which everyday, annoying obstacles stand in the way of the employees in order to be successful and thereby more motivated? That could be the inadequate IT technology or just the simple writing pad that is missing. Clear the obstacles out of the way, they are extremely time-consuming!

Example: An employee survey helps to find out where each individual's shoe pinches. Simply create a table to collect ideas and then decide what can be implemented quickly.

But it is also clear that not every wish is an obstacle. So it doesn't necessarily have to be the highest quality writing set for everyone (keyword: entrepreneurial thinking!).

Tip 17: Get out of the rut: try out observations

Nothing is more demotivating than the daily grind. Therefore our tip: break out of the routine.

Simply put a creative employee in an area that is new to him. For this, of course, the possibilities of the branch must be examined.

The auto mechanic may find it difficult to swap with the accounting department. But he can sit in for a day in order to better assess his value for the company. Those who are valued are also motivated!


  • Take interested employees with you to a new customer appointment so that they receive fresh input
  • Introduce trial days in the departments
  • The team leaders swap positions with one another for a certain period of time in order to better empathize with the work of their colleagues, etc.

Tip 18: Introduce a reward system, but individually

Humans react to rewards with the release of happiness hormones. As mentioned with the salary, for most, the financial appeal is an important one.

Anyone who establishes a reward system in the company will employ happier and more motivated people than the one who does not create such incentives.

What such a system looks like varies from person to person: It ranges from classic bonus payments to one-time bonuses and small gifts. At Pinetco, every employee stands the 150 euro reward open: Everyone can give it to every other colleague as often as one sees fit. However, it must be justified.

Anyone who thinks that a rain of money is pounding down is mistaken. The instrument of reward is dosed and used carefully, precisely because you have recognized how immensely motivating it is to only give this “candy” for top performance.

Examples: Makes sense with a reward not the watering can principle: Everyone gets a little something and everyone gets the same thing.

Find out what you can do to bring great joy to your best people. Theater tickets that a well-connected boss can get? A long-awaited advanced training that is taken over? Access to mentors or coaches?

Something different makes everyone happy.

Tip 19: Don't bend your employees, that creates trust

“If you don't have to please superiors or keep subordinates in line, then the poison that is in our organizations evaporates ... We all have our personal problems and stories, and in the presence of other people we often hesitate to show our whole selves . ”

What Frederic Laloux describes here in his famous book “Reinventing Organizations” means that at work you often don't show yourself as the person you are. Anyone who always wears a mask and bends personally on the job will never experience satisfaction there.

Companies of the future know how important it is to accept people in their entirety and let them be who they are. We have to have the organizations - and companies are such too! - adapt to the employees and not the other way around.

If, as mentioned, only the result plays a role, then the employee will look for the most helpful way for him and achieve the best possible result. In his own way, which makes him a valuable team member.

Example: It starts with clothing. Turn Casual Friday into Casual Week. Even the dress code often expresses an asymmetry above and below.

Anyone who can lead really smartly can do so without a business uniform. Many very good examples are shown in an impressive film: “The Quiet Revolution”, which reports on the changes in our working world, but also how it can be possible to no longer have to slip into a role for the job.

Tip 20: team events: listen to your team!

At this point, both quality and quantity are at stake. Team events ideally increase cohesion and give everyone a strong motivational boost.

But be careful: it can backfire quickly. A team event is not the evening in the pub with a lot of alcohol. Not always must, but can also, an incentive is a great option be to increase the team spirit.

Think about what suits your company. Ask your employees or rely on their suggestions.

The costs are often a problem, which can be solved if you find an event that (almost) everyone supports. That's why we like to invest some time and creativity in the planning so that you can get as many people together as possible.

Example:Team event + knowledge transfer = success. If you use a relaxed event to train your gray matter a bit, you not only have fun, but also provide additional benefits in everyday work.

At Pinetco there was a vegan cooking evening: three delicious meals, prepared by the team themselves, garnished with information about healthy eating. Healthier employees mean fewer absences mean more performance.

Tip 21: Increase motivation and introduce a winner mindset

Success doesn't come by itself. Nobody is successful overnight, you have to work for it. The so-called “winner mindset” is essential for this.

Success also comes because we believe strongly in something: What one can imagine achieving is also possible. Or to put it in pictures: you can show someone how to climb the mountain, but you have to climb it yourself.

If you want to increase the motivation to lead your team to the goal, you need people who want to form a rope team with you! Yours The task is to mentally strengthen your people so that they always believe that the glass is half full instead of half empty.

But the strongest winner mindset is of no use if it is not combined with practice!

Example: There are experts or motivational trainers who offer workshops for this. Sometimes it is very important to have an outsider look at the company or even just a specific department.

An accomplished coach knows all the excuses with which to avoid rocket mode in the head. Turn on the booster together and motivate yourselves together.

By the way: think about a motivation cry. This actually conditions your brain to "get started now"!

Tip 22: Motivation from the team itself - the most effective way

There are bad days in every company. Orders failed, a project was badly delivered, many employees are absent due to illness, etc. In short: motivation is down.

Then even the best coffee or the prospect of the team event will not help, but communication. This must take place in a trusting atmosphere.

The boss is usually not the right contact person in these situations, because there is a certain professional distance.

The clever entrepreneur knows this and relies on empathetic employees who are valued by the team and who help their colleagues up. Anyone who has recognized this is already at the "Advanced" level in terms of motivation:

The superior no longer feels responsible for Instead, the team ensures that everyone is motivated to tackle their job.

Example: The sponsorship system has proven itself in our agency. Every new employee receives an experienced “old hand” by their side right from the start.

The sponsor not only accompanies him professionally, but is also a bit of a mentorto create the cultural fit and the winner mindset. Trust is built naturally so that the sponsor becomes the first point of contact for the protégé if there are problems.

Tip 23: Offer a sports program during work

The emphasis in this case is on offering. Everyone knows how essential exercise is for us, but nobody can be forced to do so.

People sit too much in the office and have back problems; in a manufacturing company you may stand all day; In the catering industry, the employees are permanently on their feet. If you can combine your job with physical balance, that's an ideal combination.

Many sporting offers are also subsidized by the health insurances, so that the costs for a company are low.

The employee will not only feel more comfortable if he can integrate healthy movement in the workplace, he also gets sick less often in the long run.


  • Back school that comes directly into the company
  • walking together at noon for 15 minutes
  • Provision of Thera bands, yoga mats, hedgehog balls, etc.
  • Massages for tense shoulders
  • Nutritional advice from health insurance companies ...

Tip 24: Children are not a problem

Children are welcome in the company whenever possible, and so are dogs. Point.

Tip 25: Do not allow bullying in the workplace!

Unfortunately, it's one of the biggest motivational killers of all: bullying. Make it clear that this will not be tolerated. No bitches, no rumors, no marginalization, no insults, no sexist undertones, no intrigues ...

This destroys any corporate culture. The hint should go without saying, but it is still a problem in many companies.

People who are bullied for a long time often get sick. This puts a strain on the company and also on the employees who have to take on the work. A downward spiral of motivation begins.

Examples and help:

Should there be any problems in this regard, rules that the employees give themselves help. This Codex increases team cohesion because it was developed from the team.

And very important: Again, as a manager, be a good role model!

Conclusion on increasing employee motivation

My tips for motivating your team have been tried and tested in practice. We test, we discard, we learn an incredible amount in the process. And win a lot more.

It sounds banal, but as the boss, please keep in mind that people give you their lifetime.

Nothing works in a company without its employees. That's in the back of my mind in every conversation. To keep smart and valuable people in the company, you need a lot more than just a decent salary.

However, not always large investments. Motivating employees also works without money (or only with small financial expenses):

Praise! Promote talent! Don't tolerate bullying! Remove obstacles! Strengthen your self-confidence! Don't bend people! And if possible, give them good coffee.