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How to motivate a team
Business advice

How to motivate a team

5 min read

It’s one thing to have talented individuals, but as every successful sports team manager knows, being able to motivate a team is what really drives results. At a time when ways of working are changing right before our eyes, how do you motivate your team to achieve results? Let’s look at some tried-and-tested strategies for motivating others.

What is motivation?

We probably know what motivation ‘looks like’ – that person who wakes up at silly o’ clock and gets dressed before daylight – but we don’t often think about the science behind motivation.

Psychologists have described motivation as a ‘psychological force that enables action’. While these motivations can be internal (intrinsic), they are also influenced by our changing environment. Our brains often respond to motivations such as fear, desire, anger, pleasure and reward, so a highly engaged workplace is one where the right brain impulses have been activated to motivate a team to achieve results.

Why does motivation matter?

Knowing how to motivate your staff could be the difference between meeting or missing your targets as a company. Studies have shown that a highly motivated workforce leads to higher productivity, and if your employees are coming into work each day (or logging on virtually) feeling engaged, valued and fulfilled, you may reap the benefits as an organisation.

Here are some potential benefits of motivating your team:

  • Improved performance. If your employees are motivated, they’re more likely to be focused on the task at hand, which could lead them to work harder to increase sales, and deliver better customer service.
  • Staff retention. Finding ways to motivate your employees means your talented people may be less likely to look elsewhere. This could be all the more important if you employ younger workers; according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 83% of the UK workforce stay in a job for at least one year, but this falls to 79% among 18-34 year-olds, and among non-permanent workers it’s 61%.
  • Reduced absences. Employees who are fired-up and ready to work may be less likely to want to stay at home. Caring, leisure and other service occupations have some of the highest rates of staff absence, according to the ONS .
  • Shared work culture. A motivated workplace where everyone sings from the same hymn sheet could make it easier to instil your organisational culture, and convince new staff and candidates that your values matter.
  • Better relations. If your employees are happy and willing to go the extra mile for your company, the relationship between management and your workers could go from strength to strength. This may make it easier to introduce changes in the future without too many disputes.

How to motivate a team – our tips

We’ve outlined why it’s important to have a happy, healthy and motivated workforce, but how exactly do you get your team firing on all cylinders? Here are some potential strategies to encourage teamwork and motivation:

  1. Remember their names. Using an employee’s first name is perhaps a more creative way to motivate your team. It shows that you care about them as an individual, and that you take their contribution seriously. One technique for remembering names is to use it in conversation – such as repeating a name back to the person when introduced – which may get you into the habit.
  2. Reward quality work. If someone has put a lot of hard work into a project, making sure they get due recognition – for example, at a company meeting – could give them the incentive to do a great job next time. And of course, monetary rewards like bonuses and performance-related pay are an obvious way to motivate a team.
  3. Be responsive. Most teams will experience work-related concerns at one point or another, so having open lines of communication could help to resolve any issues that arise. Suggestion boxes for anonymous feedback, as well as one-to-one meetings, can help show your staff that their opinions are valued.
  4. Give opportunities. No one wants to feel like they’re in a dead-end job, so offering your employees opportunities where possible – such as training programmes, or new responsibilities at work – could give them a fresh sense of direction and bring additional skills to your company.
  5. Be flexible where possible. An employee may feel demotivated if they feel they have to choose between their job and other life commitments. By being open to everyone’s needs, from flexible start-times or remote working, you may be able to motivate your team to achieve the results you need.
  6. Have fun! There’s more to life than work, and giving your employees the chance to let their hair down – from company socials to free food and drinks – is an opportunity to build a rapport, develop a strong team spirit inspire your team as a manager.

Motivating a team while working remotely

Keeping your team motivated is perhaps more straightforward in a world where we’re rubbing shoulders in a physical workplace each day. But if you’re forced, or choose, to work remotely at any time, here are some teamwork motivation techniques to motivate your team remotely.

  • Create opportunities to collaborate. Remote working could enable your staff to work with colleagues they don’t normally share a space with. Encouraging them to branch out of their immediate team on projects may see them build their network and help to motivate them through working with other team members with different perspectives and backgrounds.
  • Individual meetings. Taking the time to catch up individually with a team member – even on Zoom – may help them realise their contribution is valued and give them a space to discuss any ideas or issues.
  • Big picture ideas. Being away from a workplace means some day-to-day tasks may get side-lined. But working remotely could be an opportunity to let your team focus on projects they wouldn’t normally get to work on; for example, a bartender can’t serve drinks from home, but they could support on a new marketing strategy.

Read more at Tyl Talks

Looking for more guidance on running a business? Our Tyl Talks articles and guides may be all the motivation you need.


This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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