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How to Boost Employee Engagement and Increase Motivation

Friday February 16, 2024

How to Boost Employee Engagement and Increase Motivation

Friday February 16, 2024

Engaged employees conversing in the workplace, smiling and talking together

Employee engagement is a frequently discussed yet often misunderstood concept in the workplace.

Leaders and employees alike often confuse true engagement with other concepts like motivation, satisfaction and effort. Employee engagement goes beyond motivating employees and requires a clear vision from leadership to foster connection and belonging in the workplace.

Motivation is also important, however, and can contribute to engagement.

Here’s an overview of how to improve engagement and motivation in your team.

Employee Engagement vs. Motivation: What’s the Difference?

While similar, there are important distinctions between engagement and motivation that leaders must understand.

Gallup defines employee engagement as employee involvement and enthusiasm in company endeavors.


Engaged employees feel a sense of purpose and belonging, understanding how their work connects to an organization’s broader mission.

Engaged employees go the extra mile because they understand why they have been assigned particular tasks, are provided the tools and resources to complete those tasks, and know how their work directly impacts the organization’s success. They don’t feel like a “cog in the wheel”; they feel like a crucial part of what keeps the wheel moving,

Motivated employees feel the drive and desire to actively contribute. Motivation can be intrinsic to the employee as well as influenced by the employer through various mechanisms such as:

  • Adequate pay raises
  • Recognition programs
  • Employee perks

Both engagement and motivation are important for teams, and leaders should seek to find ways to boost both in their organizations.

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Employee engagement has been a widely studied concept in recent years, particularly because it has been demonstrated to have a clear impact on an organization’s bottom line.

According to Gallup’s recent meta-analysis on employee engagement, the most engaged teams experienced the following benefits compared to disengaged teams:

  • 10% higher customer loyalty
  • 23% increased profitability
  • 18% higher sales productivity
  • 18% lower turnover for organizations with more than 40% annual turnover
  • 43% lower turnover for organizations with 40% or lower annual turnover

Unfortunately, despite these benefits, Gallup estimates that in the U.S., only 33% of employees are engaged, and 16% are actively disengaged. This costs companies an estimated $1.9 trillion in lost productivity.

Worldwide, only 23% of employees are engaged. Gartner estimates that 70% of employees believe they aren’t as engaged as they want to be, and don’t feel meaningfully connected to their job.

When employees aren’t motivated or engaged, they tend to quit more frequently. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that other employees will follow suit.

4 Ways To Improve Employee Motivation and Engagement

1. Build Mutual Trust

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), one of the best ways to improve employee engagement is by building mutual trust.

Mutual trust refers to both the trust employees have in the organization and the trust the company has in employees.

This means it’s important to give employees a degree of autonomy, demonstrating confidence in them. By providing this flexibility, you’ll not only improve engagement, but also fuel trust in your company.

2. Recognize and Appreciate Employees

Finding opportunities to regularly recognize employees for their contributions will motivate them to contribute at a high level, while reinforcing connection and allegiance to the organization.

This can be challenging in remote or hybrid environments, since it takes more intentionality to demonstrate appreciation.

Read more: 10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees

One way to demonstrate appreciation and help employees feel valued is by hosting regular virtual opportunities to connect. Teamraderie’s Recognizing Strengths experience will give your team a chance to both give and receive genuine authentic appreciation.

3. Focus on Intrinsic Motivation

One of the best ways to motivate employees is by focusing on intrinsic motivation. The motivation that connects the employee to the work increases their drive to succeed and gets them excited to participate.

Companies often fall into the trap of focusing on external—or extrinsic—motivators such as compensation rewards, advancement opportunities, or employee perks (such as free lunch and gym memberships). Extrinsic motivators are often temporary in nature, meaning the engagement expected as a result will also be temporary.

Consider a time when you rewarded an employee with a significant bonus for working hard on a particularly intense project. The excitement for that bonus and the motivation to continue working hard was likely palpable in the moment and perhaps felt for a few weeks afterward. Eventually, the impact of that bonus wears off, especially if the employee is continuing to spend long hours on that intense project.

Instead, consider combining that bonus with:

  • Clear communication about the strategic impact of the project on the business
  • Sharing recognition for this person’s role in the project
  • Providing additional resources to make the work easier

This maximizes the benefits of external motivators while connecting them to longer-lasting intrinsic factors.

For example, setting up individual performance goals that support the overall business strategy will motivate the employee to achieve their goals while also contributing to the broader business objectives.

4. Act on Feedback

Employee feedback provides an excellent opportunity to improve your team’s engagement. Demonstrating that you’re open to hearing what your employees have to say and act on it can help them feel heard and appreciated.

Gartner reveals that one of the primary factors that negatively affects engagement is employee dissatisfaction with how their leaders respond to feedback. Only one-third of employees believe that their leaders will actually act on feedback, and 46% wish their leaders took feedback more seriously.

To respond to this, consider improving your feedback proficiencies. Our expert-led team experience, Feedback Framework, will help your team leverage the SBI (Situation, Behavior, Impact) framework to improve feedback.

Improve Motivation and Engagement With Teamraderie

If you’re interested in improving your team’s motivation and engagement, an excellent way to do so is by hosting routine team building experiences.

Teamraderie Enterprise allows your team to seamlessly integrate regular team building experiences into your corporate culture. These experiences help to foster connection, build trust, and improve teamwork.

Experiences to increase employee engagement and intrinsic motivation on your team:

Can your team become as successful as a top performing sports team?

Led by Olympian Summer Sanders, this experience teaches you how to take initiative while embracing vulnerability through an engaging conversation. During the experience, you will learn the three norms of all successful athletic teams and how to apply them to your team. Using the analogy of wearing a speedo you will learn how vulnerability can enhance your team’s success.   

Don’t miss this opportunity to develop the skills necessary to take initiative, leaving you with new insights, a feeling of camaraderie, and a revitalized team spirit.


What happens when your team is tasked to complete a rescue mission?

Led by a Navy SEAL Intelligence Officer, this experience aims to help your team take initiative and reach alignment through an interactive shared activity. During the experience, your team will be tasked to communicate and strategize your way through a simulated real-life rescue mission. Through the use of a special digital rescue mission map provided by Teamraderie, you will learn how to collaborate and communicate as a team.

Don’t miss this opportunity to reach alignment and take initiative, leaving you with new tools for strategizing, a feeling of camaraderie, and a revitalized team spirit.


Do you need to enhance collaboration & communication? Research shows the ability to represent ideas visually leads to 50% higher productivity.

Led by a visual thinking expert and designer, this experience aims to transform distributed teamwork through an interactive workshop. During the experience, you will discuss the science of visual thinking and practice drawing the visual alphabet and connections together. Using a digital whiteboard, you will learn how to boost your team’s potential to confidently share ideas.   

Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance collaboration leaving you with new tools for cohesion, communication, and a revitalized team spirit.


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