Four Ways to Motivate Your Employees

When employees are disengaged, how do you inspire them to work at their best?

When employees begin lacking motivation and becoming disengaged from their daily work, there are ways for bosses to empower them. Many employers feel that the best solution is to increase salaries, benefits and perks, but when those solutions don’t work – what are the deeper needs of employees that are being neglected?


Companies with employees who have strong personal ties to each other have far higher engagement rates than those who are lacking. To connect with your employees, create greater trust and loyalty by being more authentic. The best managers connect deeply with their employees by paying attention to what’s important to them. Carve out some time each week to grab lunch or a coffee with your key team members to get to know them personally. Finally, let them know that you and the company care for them. As their need to belong is met, they will give more of themselves.


We all want to be doing something significant with our lives and have those efforts recognized. Studies show employees are happiest when they know they are making a difference and helping others. Often their contribution goes unnoticed. Metrics for measuring an employee’s contribution should shift from measuring their individual performance to measuring their team’s performance. To help your workers feel they are contributing something meaningful, you can try recognizing and publicly celebrating their accomplishments as often as possible or sharing a client story that shows your employee the difference they are making in someone’s life.


Employees are far more loyal and productive in workplace environments that respect their freedom and encourage their self-expression. To ensure your staff feels a sense of autonomy, remind them that everything they do is a choice. Choice is power, and when your employees believe they have a choice they will become more engaged in the process. Decentralize whatever authority you can to give your workers more decision-making power. This will empower them and make your company much more efficient.


If your staff feels they are not making progress in their own personal development they will soon become disconnected and seek opportunities elsewhere. Ensure that each employee is constantly challenged so that they can grow. The greater a person’s belief in their own power to influence an outcome, the more likely they are to succeed with a new challenge.

To help your employees grow, try building confidence. For example, if an employee thinks they aren’t experienced enough to manage a project you can remind them of their unique strengths and capabilities. Or have inexperienced employees watch other colleagues with similar skills perform more advanced tasks. Seeing others with similar abilities succeed at a task will help them develop positive, “can-do” beliefs.

Recognition and positive feedback are key to helping your employees feel more competent, motivated and open to growth. Negative feedback can devastate those with low self-esteem.

Finally, optimize the environment. Create a vibrant, energetic, stress-free workplace that encourages your employees to get the food, exercise, rest and water their bodies need so they can perform at their best.

The most successful CEOs in the world unleash the energy and creative power of their employees by honoring those four needs. They know that what really motivates people – once their basic financial needs have been met – is their desire to grow and develop as human beings, connect and collaborate with others, and contribute something to a worthy cause.

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli is an award-winning speaker, seminar leader, coach and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps C-level executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To book Ascanio for your next speaking event or workshop, please call him at 310-913-2313 or visit