3 Do’s and Don’ts in Employee Motivation

motivation, employee motivation

Employee motivation is a quest most managers are still finding the best recipe for. Different people are motivated by different things as motivation is rooted in people’s values, career goals, and needs. One widely used motivational instrument is money, which may come in the form of incentives, bonuses, and rewards. While important in motivating employees, it is not enough. Work is not all end products. Thus, money is but a distant goal. Because work is a long process, much like a series of hurdles that lead to the desired outcome, it will need more motivational styles than one.

Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to motivate people; leadership style being a key element to effective motivation. Below are some do’s and don’ts:


  • Do not propagate fear to make people perform. Power play and punishment breed resentment but never motivation. Sure, it works the first time around but in the long run, it does more harm to employee morale than good.
  •  Do not reward non-task related “wins”. It would not make sense if you give out praise for the “cleanest working station” when the task is sales focused. This will only divert the employees’ attention and productivity into less important things.
  • Do not give personal criticisms out in the open. Preserve your employee’s dignity at all costs by holding closed-door conversations when giving criticisms about their conduct. Task-related criticism, on the other hand, can be communicated publicly so long as it remains constructive and encouraging rather than antagonizing.


  • Set clear goals and create a system that tracks your progress as a team. People are more motivated to complete tasks when they are aware of how far they are from where they started and how much more work they need to exert to reach where they need to be.
  • Give recognition where recognition is due. If a team member performed well, let them know that you see their efforts.
  • Open opportunities for leadership. You would want to bring the best strengths out of people because you’ll never know when it’s useful. Motivation through control over responsibilities brings a sense of pride that may drive employees to do keep doing well. You can do so using rotating task leadership.

A little effort in showing that you care about your employees helps, too. Conduct a survey or face-to-face interview, asking them what they want to achieve in the course of their employment. This will give you an insight as to the kind of motivational style works best for your collective.

You don’t need to worry about doing this alone! We can help you at WHS & Training Compliance Solutions. We provide a variety of workplace mental health courses which include motivating people among others. Our service area spreads through Queensland, in cities such as Brisbane, Townsville, and Cairns. Contact us 07 5499 2406 to book a class appointment.

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