Apr 6, 2023
5 min read

9 Job Motivators Leaders Should Use to Keep Top Talent

In this article:

No matter how big or small your organization is, a lack of job motivators can negatively affect employees’ energy levels, engagement, and commitment to their work. 

In turn, this can impact your company's bottom line. A study from Gallup's state of global workplace revealed that up to $7.8 trillion is lost yearly due to employees' lack of productivity in the workplace.  

How can you better motivate employees to avoid such a loss in your organization? You can encourage employees through compensation, recognition, career development opportunities, inclusive culture, and more.

In this article, we'll explain these job motivators and how you can apply them to boost employee engagement and make their work more satisfying. 

9 job motivators to keep employees happy

With the right career motivators, you can help employees reach their true potential, be more engaged, achieve job security, and more. 

Here are nine job motivators to help you keep employees happy.

1. Meaningful, interesting, and challenging work

challenging work job motivators
Image source: Freepik

A lack of meaningful and challenging work assignments can make employees feel less motivated to perform tasks. 

As a manager, ensure you give your employees work that challenges them intellectually while promoting professional growth. 

How do you accomplish this?

  • Survey your team to find out their strong technical skills that can impact their work
  • Enquire about their interests and other areas they will like to learn

Using the insight you gain from your employees, create projects that align with your employees' interests, career goals, and strengths. 

This will not only increase employee productivity but will also make their work more enjoyable. 

2. Recognition and appreciation

Recognition is another example of a job motivator that can empower employees to perform better. 

Appreciating employees’ contributions can increase their confidence in their skills and encourage them to work harder. It'll also help your team understand that you recognize their impact on the organization. 

What's the best way to show your employees that you recognize and appreciate their work? 

Firstly, consider the appropriate delivery method that's suitable for every employee. While most coworkers may prefer public announcements, some shy employees may prefer appreciation in a private setting. In this case, you can implement recognition in both public and private settings.

For instance, you can discuss your teams’ achievements during a meeting. Or, during a private conversation, you can commend an employee for their commitment to the job and accomplishments.

Don't just tell them they did a great job, be specific and recognize their hard work regularly. 

3. Great leadership and support

leadership job motivators
Image source: Freepik

Your company's leadership style is a crucial factor that can influence motivation in the workplace. Outstanding leadership involves building up the people at your workplace and motivating and empowering them to do better in their jobs.

Consider the following tips to provide excellent leadership and support in your company:

  • Create a professional environment where there's openness and honesty in all forms of communication, from management level to executive and team level
  • Support teamwork by providing project management and communication tools that help teams understand and communicate about business workflows
  • Celebrate your team's successes with the company
  • Provide innovative solutions that will help improve business workflows and employee performance

4. Compensation and benefits

Another way you can motivate employees is through the compensation and benefits your company offers. 

With proper compensation, you show your employees you value their efforts in the workplace. It will also help employees feel motivated to continue to work. 

The problem with compensation is how to get it right. Low compensation can lead to low job satisfaction, poor talent, and demotivation.

In this case, you must consider what is suitable for your team. Here are some suggestions to help you:

  • Ask your employees which benefits they prefer and value the most
  • Conduct an annual analysis to review how employees use the benefits 
  • Introduce an employee assistance program that prioritizes financial planning, health, and wellness
  • Assess the competitiveness of your compensation plan and benefits with other organizations in your industry 

5. A strong company culture

company culture job motivators
Image source: Freepik

Even if your organization successfully implements the four job motivators mentioned above, it is crucial to consider how a strong company culture can accelerate employee motivation in your workplace.

Implementing a solid company culture starts at the leadership level. Business owners and managers should want to build an inclusive culture and hire people open to working with individuals of different nationalities, skin colors, and genders. Doing this will help employees feel like they are part of a family, regardless of their job titles or race.

Here are some tips you can apply as a manager to create an inclusive culture in your workplace.

  1. Apply an inclusive approach in your recruitment and onboarding strategies to cultivate your workforce and foster stronger relationships among coworkers.
  2. Provide multiple ways for employees to give feedback so that they can share their perspectives and stories.
  3. Provide inclusive spaces so that employees can share their experiences and have a more personal connection. For instance, team lunches, team building games, and other informal events are some workplace motivators that can spark employee conversations.
  4. Introduce a system for appreciating employees for their impact on the organization. This can help them feel valued and motivated to achieve more in the workplace.

6. Career development opportunities

You need to treat your employees as workers and individuals with career aspirations and goals. Lack of career advancement opportunities can undermine morale and leave professionals unmotivated to work. Consider the following tips to promote the career advancement of employees:

  • When managing remote teams, make time to communicate consistently with them. This helps you to stay attuned to their career goals and challenges. 
  • Promote job training and educational resources that will fuel employees’ career development.
  • Consider establishing a mentoring program for your employee's professional growth and personal development. For instance, senior leaders can guide less experienced workers professionally to help them succeed. 

7. Clear expectations and goals

As a manager, setting clear expectations and goals for your team can significantly improve employee engagement and motivation. Sadly, this has not been the case in most organizations.

Research by Gallup revealed a decline in employee engagement because most US employees don't know what is expected of them at work.

How can you prevent this at your workplace? Here are some ways you can set clear expectations for both onsite and remote employees:

  • Communicate clear expectations to employees right from the onboarding process
  • Keep expectations realistic to prevent an unhealthy professional environment
  • You should use human resource software to monitor employee performance and check if there are issues so you can make changes

8. Creative freedom

Creativity is one of the most critical job motivators employees can leverage. Creativity doesn't just help employees generate new ideas; it can also encourage employees to solve problems and take on new challenges. Here are some ways you can inspire creativity in your employees and colleagues:

  • Encourage employees to share their ideas during brainstorming and team meetings
  • Provide resources that will motivate your team to be creative in their jobs
  • Encourage team collaboration because it enables employees to share ideas

9. Flexibility

Our list of job motivators will only be complete with including flexibility in the workplace. While hard work is a prerequisite for business growth, it doesn't mean that employees have to sacrifice time and energy for lengthy tasks. 

With the rise in remote and hybrid work, flexible work hours are a must-do if you want your workers to work with improved efficiency and productivity. 

Adopt flexible work-hour policies that support your team's well-being and work-life balance. Also, encourage employees to work within an ideal timeframe that works for them while achieving business goals to maximize efficiency and save time and energy.

As a result, employees will deal with less stress and burnout while building a solid work ethic.


Motivating employees to perform better and be successful in their jobs starts at the leadership and management levels. When leaders and managers set the right conditions to motivate team members, they'll make work enjoyable for everyone. 

Even more, employees will be able to perform tasks that meet their managers' expectations while having meaningful career experiences. 

Consider using the job motivator techniques explained above to support employees and make the workplace better for them. 

FAQs: Job Motivators

What are the top ten motivators for employees?

Here are some examples of job motivators for employees:

  1. Building a solid company culture 
  2. Establishing great leadership and support 
  3. Inspiring employees to be creative at work 
  4. Providing flexible work hours for employees 
  5. Setting clear expectations and goals for team members 
  6. Providing career development opportunities to help employees achieve career goals 
  7. Better compensation and benefits for strong job security 
  8. Recognizing and appreciating employees for their efforts 
  9. Providing challenging and interesting tasks to team members 
  10. Welcoming open discussions among team members to encourage team building 

What motivates people at work?

People are motivated at work in the following ways:

  • When they feel appreciated for their efforts 
  • When they receive proper compensation 
  • When managers set clear expectations and goals for employees 
  • When employees are part of a company with a strong, inclusive culture 

What are the five job characteristics that motivate employees?

Here are the five job characteristics that motivate employees 

  1. Inclusive company culture 
  2. Proper compensation and benefits 
  3. Great leadership and support 
  4. Career development opportunities 
  5. Recognition and appreciation programs 

What’s Effy software?
Performance review
Easily launch review cycles in your way, track progress.
360 degree feedback
Collect feedback from peers and managers. Identify strength and improvements areas.
Choose templates that are right for you. Start review process in 15 min.
Collaborate effectively with team meeting agenda, action items and meeting notes
Personal development plan
Develop your people by providing them an explicit plan to the next level. Track goals progression.
AI generated insights & Analytics
AI will generate an extended summary for every employee, including top strength, areas to improve and action plan.
Feb 5, 2024
6 min read
54 Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions for Different Job Aspects
Read More
Jan 25, 2024
5 min read
5 Best Employee Survey Tools for Higher Engagement in 2024
Read More
Jan 5, 2024
5 min read
360 Feedback for Managers: Ultimate Guide With Examples
Read More
Set up your first
Performance Review with Effy
Use effy for free
Use this template for free