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Motivating and engaging staff

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Use this series of pages to help your team maintain and improve their performance at work.

Keeping employees motivated and engaged is the key to every organisation’s success. Use this page to help you motivate and engage your team.

Getting the basics right

Clinical psychologist Frederick Herzberg developed the concept of ‘motivators and hygiene factors’.

Motivators are things that motivate us to do a good job.

Hygiene factors are things we need to do a reasonable job – in other words: the basics.

Examples of hygiene factors include:

  • reasonable pay
  • adequate space to work in
  • break periods
  • chairs and desks that conform to health and safety standards
  • IT equipment that works properly.

Getting the basics right is crucial for any organisation, but you’ll need to do more to motivate and retain your team.

Finding out what motivates your team

As you get to know the people you manage, it’s important to develop an understanding of what motivates them. The best way to find out is to have a one-to-one conversation with each person.

You could ask:

  • What parts of your role do you particularly enjoy?
  • Do you do anything for the organisation outside of your role that gives you satisfaction?
  • Are you motivated to progress into another role or are you happy at you current level? What can I do as your manager to help you feel motivated?

Understanding employee engagement

An engaged employee is someone who shows commitment and willingness to go beyond their job description. Having a team of engaged employees will lead to better overall organisational performance.

Employee engagement goes beyond job satisfaction – it’s not just motivation.

CIPD research into employee attitudes has found that the main drivers of employee engagement are:

  • having opportunities to feed your views upwards
  • feeling well-informed about what’s happening in the organisation
  • believing that your manager is committed to your organisation.

Perceived fairness by managers when dealing with problems also has a marked impact on individual performance, although this does not seem to be directly related to employee engagement.

You can learn more about the importance of employee engagement and how to achieve it in the CIPD's factsheet on employee engagement and motivation.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 01 August 2022

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