In 2015, Argos for Business launched the idea of a national day to help remind business leaders of the importance and impact a simple thank you can have on people and business performance. And Employee Motivation Day (EMD) was born.
Since then thousands of businesses have used the concept of holding an event as a way to bring motivation and its importance to the forefront of their leaders thinking and behaviour.

Three years on and we still believe putting employee motivation at the heart of business thinking helps inspire passion and appreciation in colleagues, whatever the business. And not just to the benefit of the individuals’ happiness, satisfaction and interest in their role. In today’s increasingly competitive markets, organisations are seeking to leverage the benefit of making employee motivation and recognition a key element of their leaders’ skillset.

Wendy Carter of Motivate Europe Live confirms, “There is plenty of evidence… that a motivated employee has a positive, quantifiable impact on individual and company performance, and employee recognition is a key driver of engagement. Engaged employees have higher rates of work satisfaction and perform better.

Building a culture of innovation, encouraging employees to engage with shaping the business strategy, creates a high-energy environment. Staff appreciation both massively affects the culture of an individual workplace and is simultaneously shaped by it”.

Motivating colleagues and appreciating their efforts isn’t restricted by size of organisation. Small businesses need a closer-knit relationship across the team to ensure everyone is pulling together. Larger businesses need to retain a level of personal touch to ensure more remote colleagues are aware their contribution is noted, appreciated and valued towards the overall strategic aims.

Director-General of the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, Andrew Johnson, backs up the point that, whether large or small, placing emphasis on employee motivation is “a great chance for businesses to acknowledge the good work carried out by their employees and remind themselves of the importance of maintaining a motivated workforce. After all, a business is its staff. Poor staff performance can therefore directly impact customers. Rewarding staff to incentivise and motivate them will boost commitment and confidence and sustain morale within the business.

By taking a fresh approach to rewarding and motivating staff, businesses can improve staff loyalty and staff drive throughout the year. Tailoring the right reward to an individual demonstrates genuine gratitude for the work they do and will result in higher employee satisfaction and a more motivated workforce.”

Take up the baton to help motivate your employees

Argos for Business previously enlisted the help of Adrian Webster, leading motivation speaker and author of Polar Bear Pirates, and Roger Black MBE, Olympian and motivational speaker, to explore the importance of motivation in the workplace. Both were in agreement that motivation in the workplace plays an increasingly important part, and the demand for their services testament to this as organisations look for ways to help set their employees performance, and ultimately, their businesses apart in crowded markets.

Roger compiled 5 top tips for employers looking to keep staff motivated, using his experiences in the sporting arena and translating this into the workplace:

1. Give your employees more responsibility

“In 1991, the British Team won a gold medal for the 4×400 metre relay team in the World Championships. In a brave move, and instead of listening to the Coach, we made the decision to change the running order the night before the race, and that decision ultimately resulted in a gold medal. The final for this race is still considered one of the biggest upsets in athletics, and is talked about regularly.

“By giving your team members responsibility to make decisions about what they do, you will see an increase in engagement and a greater commitment to tasks – because they have made it their own. Argos for Business’ research showed that taking on responsibility was the main motivator for over a quarter of UK employees, and this resonates in the workplace, as well as the sporting arena.

2. Organise team building workshops

“In sport, you tend to spend every day with your team mates pursuing a goal, whereas in business you don’t actually spend that much time together. In fact, 21 per cent of the UK workforce say they receive praise and recognition via email, rather than face-to-face. You’re on the same team but you’re not actually physically together, day in, day out. The challenge is getting people to have face-to-face contact more regularly – this can be achieved by organising team building sessions offsite.

“We’re naturally social creatures, and have a desire to belong to a group, team or family. By working together, the British Team felt a greater responsibility to do well and perform better for the sake of their teammates – they didn’t want to let their team down.

3. Make training available to your employees

“Athletes are driven by a desire to improve and get better at something. The British team were good at what they did, but we all had an innate desire to do even better, and find creative ways of improving and that drove success. By offering training to employees, managers can help them to realise their goals by giving them the education they need, and ensuring they learn about new aspects of business and even higher-level managerial skills they can use further down the line.

4. Work smart, not hard

“Just because an employee clocks 15 hours at the office doesn’t mean they have accomplished things in a smart way. If your staff are putting in 15 straight hours at their desk, without breaks, will they produce quality work? Make sure you’re encouraging employees to take regular breaks and step away from their desks.

“In practice, hard work can get an athlete to the finals of a competition, but smart work will get the athlete on the medal podium. Hard work is not the only factor that will determine if the athlete is successful or not – many other factors will also contribute to the athlete’s success, such as practise, tactics, preparation and strategy.

5. Set clear goals and offer words of encouragement

“Like my 4x400m team, different departments and teams within an organisation need to set team goals, whether that’s yearly, monthly or even daily. It’s also important that these goals are based on a clear collective vision to inspire the team, whilst making sure realistic targets have been set so that goals aren’t unachievable. With the goal in sight, employees will feel more motivated to perform to the best of their ability. As a manager, it is equally important to recognise the team’s hard work – for over a third of UK employees, all it takes is a simple ‘thank you’ to motivate them during the nine to five. ”

Want to get involved?

Whilst motivating staff should be on the agenda all year round, why not hold your own employee motivation day or event? It can be a great starting point to encourage everyone in your business to show their appreciation for everyone’s hard work, it champions creative ways of engaging staff and really starts the journey to boosting morale, performance and team spirit.

As leading experts in providing incentive and motivation solutions, Argos for Business specialise in working with employers to help incentivise and motivate their staff. Thanks to simple solutions, such as gift cards, new eGift Cards and, gifts from the Argos product range, countless businesses have already benefited from a motivated workforce.

If you’re holding an event or want to share your motivational stories or experiences, then our Twitter page is the place to tells us.

And remember, motivation should be fun. And it should work to the benefit of all involved. We all love receiving praise, seeing people take the time out to recognise our work or efforts. But there’s nothing like the feeling of giving someone praise and recognition and seeing what it means to them. It’s a win for everyone.

To find out how Argos for Business gifting solutions can help with your employee motivation, click here.

Roger Black and Adrian Webster are both available as motivational speakers for your business.