Keeping Workers Motivated is Easier Than You Think

Posted on November 26, 2018

Today’s job market can be called highly selective, meaning employers are trying to find more and more unique ways to keep their teams motivated and happy. It’s not an unattainable goal. Any employer who is trying to keep their team happy and motivated should be applauded. If you’re a candidate looking for a new opportunity, this is valuable information to have on-hand.

Job-Seekers’ Hierarchy of Needs  

Keeping workers motivated ties directly into the hierarchy of needs that we as human beings live our lives by, mostly in a subconscious way. To quickly summarize, healthy human beings have a certain number of needs, and these needs are arranged in a hierarchy. Some needs, such as physiological and safety needs, are more basic than other needs, like accomplishment and self-fulfillment. The hierarchy is often presented as a five-level pyramid. The higher needs coming into focus only once lower, more basic needs are met.

At Spur, we’ve created our own version of the hierarchy of needs, as it applies to job-seekers. Take a look at what we put together, and see how the hierarchy of needs applies to job-seekers:


Think of it this way: if you’re an organization working to keep your entire team motivated, you’re encouraging your workers to participate in the organization as a whole, not just in their role. Workers who are recognized for their talents and respected by their peers are motivated to go the extra mile and increase their loyalty to your organization.

In fact, Psychology Today reviewed an employment survey of over 200,000 people and discovered some fascinating trends:

Source: Psychology Today

Although the chart above shows that money isn’t an employees’ primary motivator, we believe that money is a motivator for those who need it to afford their basic needs. A person has to meet a certain level of income before they are financially stable enough to be motivated by something other than money, as revealed in the survey.

Once we review the rest of the results, we see that camaraderie between peers and the desire to do a good job are more common motivators than money. Simply put, employees don’t just want a job, they want a work culture that addresses their Esteem needs.

Additionally, this survey suggests some fantastic starting points for motivating workers. Here are some of our recommendations to keep workers motivated and engaged:

Make sure your organization is a pleasant place to work

Whether it’s an office or a classroom, a coffee shop or a photography studio, no one wants to spend a third of their day in a dull space. A well-lit, aesthetically pleasing area that is also functional can go a long way in keeping a team in a positive frame of mind and motivated. Next, updated technology—this includes everything from computers to POS systems. Slow processes and technology shouldn’t bog down a team. If your organization is a customer-facing operation, make sure that the waiting areas are pleasant for customers, too.

Share Positive Feedback

Encouragement is the motivator for 14% of respondents in the graph above. Job-seekers are often looking for an employer that recognizes their accomplishments and meets their needs of Esteem and Community. If customers provide feedback that identifies a job well done, be sure to share that feedback with the entire team. Letting workers know they were responsible for making someone’s day will give them a stronger connection to your organization.

Provide Growth Opportunities

If your organization is growing rapidly, giving workers an opportunity to develop with the organization can be huge for keeping them motivated. By providing growth opportunities, an organization is meeting the highest level of the hierarchy of needs, Self-Actualization. Moving up from a barista to a store manager, or an administrative assistant to an office manager provides a psychological boost. As a result, workers will feel more trusted and respected at work.

Ask their opinion

Seems like a simple idea, right? Instead of trying to guess what’s most important to your team, sit down and ask. It might seem crazy, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to do the unexpected. It could provide you with valuable insights about the workers and your organization that lead to something amazing. This also touches on the Esteem portion of the hierarchy of needs. It gives job-seekers or employees a feeling of security knowing that they can provide actionable feedback.

It is important for organizations to keep in mind all levels of the hierarchy of needs when looking for ways to motivate their current and prospective workers. Keep this information in mind if you’re a hiring manager looking to motivate your workers. It’s also beneficial if you’re in the job market.