10 Unconventional Tips For Employee Motivation

By Jad Kiswani - Jul. 18, 2016
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jad Kiswani from Recognition Source. His opinions are his own.

Employee motivation plays an important role in productivity and a healthy workplace environment. Once motivated, employees tend to put maximum effort into their tasks, which is an obvious benefit for the company as a whole.

As an employer, you may be aware of some of the known ways to keep your employees motivated, but let’s take a moment to review some of the more unconventional ways.

Every workplace and employee is different, but these ideas are definitely worth looking into and trying.

1. Encourage your employees to pursue hobbies

Encouraging employees to pursue their hobbies allows them to see that you are interested in their happiness outside of work as well. Whether it’s letting your hardworking employees out a couple of hours early on one Friday every few months to engage in a desired hobby or giving them a gift card to a local attraction, it can make an impact.

After all, sometimes these opportunities are lost due to the busy work week.

Pro Tip: Send out an employee survey to learn about your employees’ interests. The results can come in handy for helping them pursue their hobbies.

2. Allow innocent office pranks

Innocent and harmless office pranks allow your employees to let loose a little and have fun with one another. It’s not to say that a new prank should occur every month, but just making it an environment where an occasional prank is acceptable is enough. Pranks also allow for creativity and innovation. Have fun with it!

Examples: wrapping an office in wrapping paper, covering the office with sticky notes, filling an office with lots of balloons, putting office supplies in jello (You didn’t get these ideas from me)

3. Plan an award banquet

Planning an award banquet makes receiving an award even more special. Of course having the budget for it is important, but you could always hold the award banquet in your own conference room. Another option is reserving a venue that fits with your existing budget.

This way each recipient is receiving praise for his or her strong points, and it’s even more motivational when it is done in front of fellow co workers. If the budget allows, send an invitation to close family and friends to allow them to experience this occasion with their loved ones.

This action will encourage everyone involved to keep up the hard work. If the planning becomes complex, you can assign different duties to different employees. Having involvement in this special event can be motivational as well.

Pro Tip: Generate excitement for the award banquet. Send out emails, hang flyers around the office and create invitations. Events like this don’t happen too often, make it special.

4. Arrange engaging activities

Engaging activities, such as team building activities, can increase the overall motivation in the workplace. Whether it’s a competitive game or just one that involves teamwork, games are a beneficial way to get your employees thinking and working together.

This type of exercise motivates them to continue working together. It’s important to feel comfortable with those you’re surrounded by on a daily basis, as well as become familiar with the way each person works. An engaging activity can definitely help to accomplish this.

Pro Tip: Allow for employees’ opinions when it comes to choosing the engaging activity. Make a suggestion box so everyone has a say and a chance to do something they enjoy.

5. Organise a ‘theme’ day

A themed day can be about comfort or fun. Examples include a pajama day, crazy hat day or mismatch day. When employees are comfortable and happy, they’re motivated as well.

A themed day is appropriate every now and then, especially if it helps give your hard working employees a mini break to think about something else other than work. Brains need an occasional refresh in order to continue working their hardest.

Pro Tip: Take photos! Not only can you hang the best photo in the office to serve as a reminder of this happy day, the company’s social media page can benefit by posting them.

6. Assign leadership roles

Not every single person can obtain a leadership role, but this doesn’t mean you can’t assign different leadership roles every once in awhile. If you notice that one person is excelling at a certain project, make them the leader of that project.

Not only will this help to boost confidence, it will increase motivation. The fact that this new leader was acknowledged and given some added responsibilities will help him or her to get the job done the best way they know how.

Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble choosing one specific leader, allow them to rotate the leadership role for future projects. This might make the true leaders stand out.

7. Encourage Employee Volunteering

Allowing employees to volunteer on company time is beneficial for motivation, as well as the world around us. For some employees, working for a company that encourages volunteerism is motivational in itself.

As an employer, you’re proving that you care about issues that your employees care about. Some large companies take it one step further and personally help employees find the right volunteering fit for them or donate matching amounts to a chosen organization. Employees will be motivated to work hard for a company that works hard to help others.

Pro Tip: Plan a day of volunteering together. This is beneficial for team building and getting to know employees outside of the work environment. Participating in volunteer efforts also benefits your company’s image.

8. Create an ’employee praise calendar’

An employee praise calendar is a unique and efficient way to ensure that every deserving employee is noticed, once again, increasing motivation.

Examples include taking a deserving team out to lunch; sending company-wide emails recognising a specific team or team member; calling employees into your office to personally thank them; and more. With a busy schedule and/or a big team, it could be tough to remember to acknowledge everyone, but creating a specific calendar can help make it possible.

Pro Tip: If possible, plan at least a month ahead. You can always make edits, but at least you will be prepared with every employee covered.

9. Leave small gifts or notes

Small gifts and notes are affordable ways to acknowledge your employees. Whether it’s a quick handwritten thank you note or a small and meaningful gift, the gesture can go a long way.

When employees are shown that they’re appreciated, they tend to be more motivated.

Examples: desk paperweights, engraved key chains and plaques

10. Implement a wellness program

Implementing a wellness program shows your employees you care about their health and well-being. Encourage healthy eating habits and exercising, as well as workplace safety. Some companies even allow time for flu shots and health fairs, and some large companies even have the budget for on-site fitness.

It’s motivational for employees to know that after the work day ends or before it begins, they have easy access to a fitness center. After all, a happy and healthy employee is more likely to be a motivated employee.

Pro Tip: Create a fun and friendly weight loss competition. Split up into teams, and encourage one another to pack healthy lunches and take walks during break.

Employee motivation serves a meaningful purpose. Putting one or more of these employee motivation tactics into action could even benefit the relationship between employees and managers.

Depending on the type of company, the size and what the budget allows, choose from this list of ideas and see the motivation and company performance increase!

Jad Kiswani is the CEO at Recognition Source, a company that provides high quality crystal, glass and marble corporate awards and gifts. Recognition Source realizes that excellence deserves to be awarded.


Jad Kiswani

Jad Kiswani is the CEO at Recognition Source, a company that provides high quality crystal, glass and marble corporate awards and gifts. Recognition Source realizes that excellence deserves to be awarded.

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