How to Motivate Others

Friday 12 October 2018
Here are three modern ways to motivate your team


Have you noticed a colleague who has been unusually quiet and spends much of their time browsing the Internet recently? They may be demotivated at work, alongside a third of UK employees, according to a study by recognition consultancy Motivates.

Here are some tips to help managers boost motivation, taken from the ambitious worlds of sport and science.

Address Physical Needs First

To be intellectually motivated, we need to have our basic needs met first. So says psychologist Abraham Maslow, who developed the Hierarchy of Needs model that is often used in management training.

It says that our ambition to succeed emerges when our basic desires for food and rest, safety, and belonging are met. Therefore, managers should strive to create a comfortable environment.

Facebook and Twitter offer employees three nutritious meals for free each day to satisfy hunger.

Furthermore, with sleep deprived workers cost UK £40 billion a year in lost productivity, employers including Google and PwC provide staff with nap pods – quiet, resting rooms for employees to recuperate.

Read more: Abraham Maslow says the sixth level of need is purpose

Use Marginal Gains Like an Athlete

The sporting world is obsessed with marginal gains. The idea is that making one per cent improvements in each aspect of your work can lead to a larger difference to overall performance.

Managers can adopt the tactic used by the Great British cycling team by making small changes to their processes.

In this CMI Insights article we explained how data analysis company QuantumBlack introduced a series of small adjustments to the workforce at an international engineering firm. These changes led to improvements in performance of 0.5%-to-1%. However, the process resulted in a 22% rise in productivity improvement and performance overall.

Play Games

Gamification introduces playful competition into a business context. Employees are rewarded for demonstrating desired behaviours.

The Department for Work and Pensions in the UK introduced an app called Idea Street to encourage its staff to share ideas about its work. Employees post ideas and get quick feedback, which moves them up a leader board. The scheme has been a huge success. In the first 18 months of the project, 4,000 employees came up with 1,400 new ideas.

Sixty-three projects were then introduced to improve the way that DWP works.

Well-managed motivated teams could help reduce the UK’s productivity gap, as described in the Management Manifesto from CMI.