How to Motivate Employees: Strategies and Tactics

Experts believe that keeping key employees is important for the long term success of any organisation. Losing employees is not only costly, but also affects the strengths of the business and impacts negatively on co-workers and customers alike. Unfortunately, according to statistics of the CIPD, more than half of the UK businesses have problems with their employee retention rate, showing a high staff turnover of 16 per cent.

The management of those organisations have to find a sophisticated approach to motivate and in turn, retain their employees. This can be done with the help of human resource experts (e.g. ClearSky HR Advisors) or by changing their own employee management strategy taking some tips into consideration.

The Key behind Employee Motivation

It is believed that employees who achieve great results, found another motivational source than only the pay check at the end of each month.

Those sources can be various. Some motivated employees seek a personal fulfilment in their work environment, or they feel good about themselves, as his/her work has a positive impact on the society at a large. Some simply love what they do, as it reflects their key strengths, or they want to prove themselves that they can achieve something big.

In brief, there is a certain amount of motivating satisfaction which can be gained from work related success, or from the possibility to pursue one owns talents and interests in the work environment. Having these key insights in mind, employee motivation can be achieved by the same methods, even though people are different.

Motivation Strategies: The Pygmalion and the Galatea Effect

The basic idea behind the Pygmalion and Galatea concepts are that a person’s own perceptions and people’s expectations about his/her abilities impacts on his/her performance at work. More clearly, employees deliver exactly what managers expect from them. Thus, as supervisors are communicating their expectations consciously or unconsciously, they influence the productivity of their workforce. Consequently, the two concepts stretch the importance of positive supervision on the employee’s performance.

In the framework of a positive supervision, supervisors must show their belief in the employee’s capabilities and that they expect that he/she will succeed. As a result, people are likely to change their self-concepts, and to develop their strengths and improve their work performance.

Tactics to Motivate Employees

Motivating employees is an on-going process, which needs the application of certain tactics on a regular basis. Having a look at stated reasons why employees leave a company, should provide insights how to develop an employee motivation strategy. Tactics can be grouped into the categories: supervisor-employee communications, the right benefits and appropriate challenges.


According to ‘Management Today’ and ‘’  a lack of clarity about a position, its requirements, and one’s career and earning progression are one major factor why employees decide to leave. Therefore, supervisors and managers need to be aware of the employee’s needs, which are summarised in the following points:

  • Feedback on personal performance
  • Recognition, appreciation and reward of good results
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Transparent and regular communication of factors which affect employees
  • Coaching
  • Clear expectations, goals, and measurements
  • Respect
  • Fairness and equality
  • Create an environment where employees feel free to speak open about issues, work place improvement ideas and problems



Although money cannot stand alone as a motivator, it builds one major part of the employee management strategy. So paying a good salary and offering benefits which suit the needs of the employees can satisfy employees to certain extent. Yearly bonuses may be a good approach to show appreciation of the employee’s work. Above this, team building or company activities help improve the working atmosphere and are widely appreciated.


As mentioned earlier, employees seek success or a personal fulfilment which makes them happy at work. Also the website ‘Management Today’ stated that the factor of over-qualification is a major reason for termination.

Therefore, managers ought to utilise employees’ skills and talents to its full potential, by building challenges into the everyday routine. Indeed, challenges must be manageable, so that the employee is convinced that he can succeed.

Above that, employees need to be increasingly empowered to extend their working field which enables him/her to progress in his/her career.

Summarising, employees need to regular experience success, verbal interaction with supervisors, coaching, developmental opportunities, and positive feedback to be happy at work. As it can be very challenging to bring those personal needs in line with work expectations, companies in UK can get help from