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Human behavior


If you’re in charge of running a business, whether you oversee 5 employees or 5,000, chances are good that you’ve had days where you wished you could step into a cloning machine and do it all yourself. After all, you would always complete jobs in a timely and high-quality manner. It’s one of the reasons you’re in charge, but being in charge doesn’t always mean the road you walk will be smooth.

If you struggle to find and keep motivated employees, don’t spend another ounce of energy pining after a science-fiction cloning fix. Motivating underperforming employees is not only possible; it’s relatively easy. Here are seven surprising ways you can motivate your least-engaged employee.

how-to-motivate-employeesBecome a Storyteller

Employees are people, and people are emotional. While it isn’t something that needs to come into playon a daily basis, crafting, delivering and referencing a strong and engaging narrative about the work you and your employees do and why it matters will go a long way in keeping their motivational levels high. People want to believe that the work they’re doing is meaningful and telling an excellent story about your business’s efforts toward this end will work wonders in helping underperforming employees turn things around.

Inspire Them

When an employee underperforms, there can be many different reasons. Maybe their training is insufficient. Maybe they’re having trouble in their personal lives. Maybe the job doesn’t quite fit their desires. While getting to the true root of the trouble can take some time, simply working to inspire employees can lift dragging spirits. Whether you bring in one of the top motivational speakers in America, or you take an employee aside for a sincere and positive pep talk, intentionally reigniting passion can change a work environment and a worker.


Everybody loves rewards, and a culture that includes both big ones and small ones is less likely to have underperformers. Performance-based bonuses and profit-sharing options can work wonders, but so can gift certificates to swanky, local restaurants and spas. Offer a wide variety of performance-based rewards so that more of your employees will feel motivated to try and earn them.

motivation-don-t-never-quitSet a Great Example

Do your employees marvel at your dedication, work ethic and positive attitude? If not, what do they marvel about in relation to your managerial style? Far too often, the boss is either expecting more from the team than she does from herself, or she is working so hard that they never get to see her lead by example.

If you want to motivate your employees, then be a person whose very presence and work are motivating. From always being on time to always following through on what you say you’ll do, setting a great example for your employees can send languor packing.

Encourage Rest, Breaks and Naps

While it may seem like something straight out of daycare, encouraging employees to rest during the workday can bring greater motivation and productivity to your team. People aren’t machines, and sometimes, a small 15-minute nap or mindless break can make a lot of creative difference. Let your employees know that although hard work can sap their strength, there is room in their workday to recharge their batteries.

Communicate — More

Employees don’t like to be left in the dark regarding key business decisions and woes. By communicating more frequently with your team, they’ll be more able to recognize the importance of the role they play in the overall effectiveness of the business’s operations. Entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz recommends a daily 10-minute meeting where the previous day’s successes and challenges are rattled off, in addition to birthdays, anniversaries and the like. While it may not seem like much, it creates a powerful loop that employees will feel glad to be in the midst of.

Treat Employees Like Customers

You’d never disregard a customer’s needs, right? Of course not! You’re only in business because they buy your product or service. Well, employees share some commonalities with customers in that you need your employees to buy in, too. But rather than buy a product, you need them to buy in to your vision, orders and expectations. As customer service expert Dennis Rosen puts it, “your employees are motivated by need satisfaction and will respond to your demonstration of respect, appreciation, compliments and interest in them.”

Underperforming employees may be today’s bane of your existence, but they don’t have to be tomorrow’s. By utilizing these seven lesser-known ways to motivate them, you may find yourself soon flush with a hard-working and productive team.