6 Ways To Motivate Employees

In this article I’d like to share with you the 6 ways to motivate employees; that will actually help you hire and motivate top performing individuals.

Now when you think about employee motivation I personally think a lot of people miss the boat; how to get people all fired up; that’s all great; but I’m going to share with you – what I believe to be – the missing link behind employee motivation; and that’s simply; people are motivated by different things; if you try to motivate your entire workforce by the same way; it’s not going to work because not everyone gets excited about the same type of stuff.

so what are these six main motivators that people tend to cluster around; here’s an overview; tip of the iceberg of the ways to motivate employees, it’s a model that we use in our day-to-day consulting practice to help companies hire and retain top performers

1- The theoretical motivator

One of those motivators is the theoretical motivator; people who are motivated by this theoretical drive; love to learn, they’re lifelong learners, they enjoy constantly assimilating and acquiring new information; it really gets their juices.

So as a leader it’s a big opportunity to delegate them to accomplish something new like (new project – new task) because they will learn new knowledge.

2- The utilitarian or economic based motivator

Flowing another type of motivation is the utilitarian or economic based motivator; you guessed it these people like money, economic return, they view the world through the filter of ROI (Return On Investment). What’s in it for me, and what am I going to get out of a situation; if I invest my time, effort and energy or money into it will I have a good return. But be careful; the economic motivator is only suitable for tasks that require hard work, not deep thinking; the following case study is very helpful to know how to motivate staff by utilitarian motivator.

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How to motivate staff by a utilitarian motivator (Case study):

In one MIT study, students were given two types of tasks.

  • In the first, they had to hit two keys on a keyboard as many times as possible in four minutes, and those that did it the fastest would receive money. For some, the reward was 300$ while the others only 30$. Interestingly, performance was 95% greater in the high 300$ group, highlighting how money can be a motivator.
  • But in the second task the same students were asked to solve a more complex math problem, and this time, those offered the high reward performed 30% slower than the small reward group. This is known as the ‘distraction effect’ – when we are given a task that requires problem-solving, economic or emotional pressure can cause focus to shift to the motivator, ultimately dividing your attention and reducing performance.

3- The aesthetic motivator

Another way to motivate your team in our (6 ways to motivate employees) is the aesthetic motivator; people who are high on this motivator tend to place and emphasis on beauty, art, harmony, their physical surroundings; these are the types of folks whose physical environment has a direct impact on whether or not they’re productive


  • High aesthetics: Mary can’t work with her office style; she is like “oh god! How can I work in that office, the walls colors aren’t in harmony, that wall needs some pictures to be hanged, and this corner needs some flowers to promote relaxation”
  • Low aesthetics: Bob doesn’t care about colors, photos, and even flowers; he’s like “if it makes money go ahead, or we’ll talk about that later”
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4- The social motivator

another main motivator is the social motivator; now we’re not talking about people who are socially extroverted or like to get up in front of a crowd; in this case people who are highly social enjoy putting other people’s needs ahead of their own think of teachers, mentors, coaches, nurses, counselors, therapists … etc.

They like to serve and help people; they’re like “I didn’t get anything done, but I helped other people today; Yeah it was such a great day”

The other thing is: they like to eliminate hate and conflict in the world, so these are the folks are on nonprofit boards, they’re serving the city, and they’re exhausted and tired a lot; but that’s okay because they just keep saying yes to the people if they were asked for help, and they have no capacity to say no; but this is a problem; because if you’re high social you will burn out.

Conclusion: So as a leader you must be careful about your high social people. You should delegate them to accomplish tasks that need some social skills or tasks that need to help people, and on the other hand, you must teach them to say no.

5- The individualistic motivator

The individualistic motivator describes someone who’s motivated by power and authority; these are the type of people who enjoy being in control, leading a team, leading a company, stepping out in front, and being in control of their own destiny.

So as a leader it’s a good opportunity to do some challenges in the workplace for your employees who are motivated by the authority to get new positions.

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6- The traditional motivator

Last but not least is another major motivator in our (6 ways to motivate employees) referred to as the traditional motivator; and this measures how much a person’s belief system whether it be political and/or religious belief system; whatever they may be; how much that belief system is an important part of a person’s life.


So when you pull all these together; every one of us has a motivator or two that are very intense, then some might be kind of midstream or mid-range, and others might be less important to us; they’re all different combinations, all different permutations in order.

For you to motivate your workforce you’ve got to figure out what it is that a person is driven by; and from a selection standpoint you’ve got to make sure that people’s motivators are in alignment with the position.