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With the rise of technology and automation, and a shift away from traditional business values, there is increasing pressure for employers to ensure their talent remains engaged and morale continues to thrive. A 2019 survey by Deloitte states that 23% of employers did not know what rewards their employees valued. Businesses must be innovative in this competitive and changing era by providing the right incentives to retain and motivate their team members. We’ve broken down the top considerations that must be front-of-line for leaders to stimulate and encourage their employees and maintain morale and engagement.

Value Fit Between the Employee and Company

Value fit boosts morale because the employees feel as if they are working for something they believe in. Not only does this increase engagement with the company overall, it creates an incentive for workers to do their best, which leads to more productivity, dedication, and engagement. According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends, 84% of respondents rated employee experience as important, and 28% rated it as urgent. Evaluate your current culture to ensure that the company's values align with your talent’s values.

  • Start with hiring - As you look to expand your team, take a closer look at the candidate for cultural fit. Ensuring that new hires are passionate about your company’s overall goals will lead to employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Create engaging values. 73% of employees would look to leave employers who didn’t provide a motivating and stimulating work environment. To combat turnover resulting from a lack of engagement and purpose, it’s imperative to align company values to be more focused on humans in this age of technology. Humanize your business by focusing on the individual, unique strengths of each employee, rather than seeing them as a whole. As we are faced with more and more technology and robots, how do we keep our humanism? Maintain focus on the benefits human talent and interaction provides that technology can’t.

Purpose in Teams

Diversity of thought and personality is vital for innovative teams. Every organization or team needs to have a clear purpose that unites its unique members. In a volatile and disruptive marketplace, a paycheck is no longer enough to retain and motivate employees. Businesses must create a workplace focused on human experience to ensure employees feel secure to perform most effectively. Today’s workforce values a focus on work-life balance, trust, belonging, and relationship. 74% of workers would look to leave employers who didn’t prioritize having a positive impact on local communities and 71% would leave a company not focused on work-life balance. To nurture this need, teams must provide a sense of purpose linking employees to customers, stakeholders, and the community.

How to help your employees feel purposeful: Find a way to frame the work your employees are doing as beneficial to those they are working for. If the nature of your business doesn’t have a direct tie that you can easily link to positively impacting others, find ways to allow your employees to connect with the community by encouraging volunteer time off, team-wide community service days, or lunch and learns to make your employees feel that their work makes a difference.


71% of employees would look to leave employers who didn’t support development through training, mentors, etc. However, not every employee benefits from the same types of development. It’s important to meet employees at the individual level and tune into their motivators and expectations. This idea can be practiced in two ways.

Strengths – Understand your team members’ unique strengths. Are they artistic, do they excel at technical tasks, are they persuasive, or intuitively good with numbers? Knowing what comes naturally to your employees will help you assign tasks to them that will be done with more ease and that they might achieve quick wins by participating in.

Interests - We know that being good at a task or project doesn’t necessarily indicate interest. Allowing individuals to work on tasks that involve their interests will ensure a job well done and a much more enthusiastic employee. It is not always possible to allow employees to work on tasks that they are good at or motivated by but sprinkling these in will guarantee they view their work as more interesting and engaging. They will also feel as though their unique voice is being heard and employed at work.

Assessments like The Birkman Method expose the natural strengths and likely interests that motivate individuals. Understanding each person’s unique preferences for certain types of tasks or environments will undoubtedly boost morale for teams within your workplace.

Employee/Boss Relationship

Trust is critical when it comes to employee/boss relationships. While not every boss and employee will always see eye-to-eye, a positive relationship can be achieved through transparency. Consider these four areas when building relationships with your employees.

  1. Psychological Safety - There is no overstating the importance of psychological safety to ensure productive teams. According to Forbes, in 2018 89% of adults said it’s essential for business leaders to create safe and respectful workplaces. For an organization to grow and innovate, individuals must be able to express thoughts, ideas, and opinions without fear of rejection or ridicule. Disagreements must be kept at a conversational level to keep everyone engaged and avoid alienation or fear. With self-awareness and open-mindedness held as the highest value, leaders can leverage the strengths of different mindsets to produce the best solutions to navigate uncertainty.
  2. Maintain a Growth Mindset – The idea of a growth mindset goes hand-in-hand with psychological safety. It helps create an environment with no fear of failure. To keep up with the innovative business culture growing around us, failure must be a known part of innovating rather than a mistake that workers are punished for. While it is important to mitigate risk and align expectations, there is very little birthed from perfection. A team who can fail will take risks, push boundaries, and question norms that prevent businesses from growing.
  3. Feedback – Performance discussions are incredibly fragile. 
    The method of delivery you use to provide feedback is a huge component to your employee/boss relationship. According to Gallup, employees who strongly disagree that their managers focus on their strengths and positive characteristics are only 2% engaged, while 71% are actively disengaged . It is important to be able to tailor feedback to different employees in different ways, depending on their preferred style of communication. Tools like Birkman help leaders understand their employee’s mindset and understand if it’s better to approach serious conversations with a direct or tactful, quick or conversational, form of feedback.
  4. Rewards and Incentives - We are all unique in our preference for incentives and rewards. While some prefer competition, tangible rewards, and verbal praise, others enjoy success as a team and are easily embarrassed by open praise. Rewarding employees properly is vital to their sense of fulfillment and motivation to move forward. Look for ways to provide your team members with quick wins that satisfy their intrinsic need to gauge their performance.

A business is only as successful as the employees who operate its day-to-day functions. Successful teams depend on positive morale and motivated employees to keep up with and push ahead of the shifting workforce we are currently facing. Check out our infographic, 5 Easy Steps to Improve Employee Engagement Right Now!

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