Motivation is one of those things that is going to differ for everyone. While most motivations come from a reward of some sort, they generally go hand in hand with productivity. Motivation can also be fleeting.
The real reason why your employees aren't motivated? Communication. They may be unclear of what their role is, they may not know the company objective, or they may be uncertain as to how to approach a problem. Clarity and the ability to speak openly will change how employees perceive their jobs and therefore, their motivations.
With that said, there are ways to encourage and ignite your employees (and yourself).
1. Read the room.
Pay attention to what people are responding to. For instance, it may work for some people to have a daily morning pep talk, but it can also contribute to unhealthy competition and weariness amongst staff. This can be especially true if the pep talks are generalized and in a large group setting.
Keep people in the know -- that is important. Small meetings or one-on-one sessions may be most beneficial, depending on the environment. Be sure to notice any lapses in communication between employees and managers/supervisors.
2. Get theatrical.
If you've heard the term "dress for success", you have an idea of what I'm talking about. Dressing up for the job can give you that extra confidence boost to get the job done and be taken seriously. Wear red (or blue if red isn't for you).
But it's not just dressing the part. Use your body language to get in the right mental state. Walk tall and sit upright. Smile, especially if you don't feel like smiling. It not only exudes confidence, it can even lower cortisol levels and quickly change your disposition.
3. Place more importance on the process.
Instead of looking at the end game, place more attention on the process to get there. This helps ease stress and gives employees a clearer path to follow. Additionally, it opens possibilities, discussions, and conditions the mind to accept what is to come in order to achieve the goal.
For instance, focusing on eating a healthy breakfast everyday rather than focusing on losing weight can make the task easier. The steps to getting there are clear but still allow for creativity and employee engagement.
4. Establish a strong company culture.
This doesn't mean having company parties every week but rather about finding ways to help all employees feel included. Help employees (or be the employee) that builds relationships among peers. It is much easier to go to work with people that you have respect for and feel confident to speak with.
5. Be a mentor.
Rather than micromanaging, trust the people that were hired for the job. Give them opportunities to shine by utilizing their strengths. This entails getting to know employees. Ideally, you'd be able to work with managers and employees to gage productivity.
Be clear about the goals set. However, be careful not to make anything too competitive. Additionally, don't come across as insincere. An employee will likely be able to see through insincerity. This ties in with a strong company culture and positive environment.
6. Give them purpose.
Most employees will be more willing to go the extra distance if they feel they are doing something with purpose. Contrary to what other articles have reported, having a purpose isn't limited to millennial workers. Find the human aspect of the job and address it in a way that the employee will positively respond. This can help them feel more fulfilled in their careers.
7. Encourage feedback.
Employees may not feel comfortable sharing feedback, hence the need for respect and developing a mentor-like attitude. However, opening those channels can help the employee feel not only valued but motivated to experiment on what works and what doesn't. This opens the doors for innovation.