One major barrier to productivity in many companies is a lack of motivation among employees. Studies have shown that around 30% feel engaged at work. This means they have little satisfaction in their jobs and little dedication to their employers. You can’t guarantee that any new hire will be motivated to produce—it falls on managers to get the most from their staff. Here are four ways basic psychology can motivate employees.

  • 1. Show Concern for Work/Life Balance

Managers should be more understanding of the personal needs of their employees. They should allow for more flexibility where issues such as funerals or sick children interfere with work schedules. It may seem like a bad move when there are deadlines to meet, but showing appreciation for employees’ personal lives gives workers a better sense of self-worth, which helps build gratitude toward the company and confidence in their roles.

  • 2. Encourage Creativity

Nothing does more to alienate employees than insistence on complete adherence to dress policies, personal items, and every other entry in the employee handbook. While distracting behavior or attire should be discouraged, allowing employees a little freedom with dress codes, procedures, or decorating their cubicles helps them feel a little less dehumanized. Staff who aren’t expected to leave their personalities at the door will be happier at work.

  • 3. Listen

It sounds simple, but some managers don’t give employees a voice. Empathy and emotional intelligence are critical tools of leadership. Management requires people skills. Those with a psychology background may actually make better leaders. An online master’s degree in applied psychology leads to a versatile skillset in organizational psychology. Managers are an employee’s connection with the company, and they should understand and empathize with the different issues each employee will have.

  • 4. Healthy Competition

One of the most basic concepts of psychology—encouraging good behavior through reward—is very effective in the workplace. Most companies track performance metrics; recognizing top achievers is the next step. Everyone wants to be appreciated and rewarded for going a great job. Incentives as simple as a weekly $20 gift certificate and mention in the company newsletter is well worth the investment if it motivates even one employee to work harder.

All of these suggestions cost little or nothing compared to nurturing a culture of engaged and appreciated employees. There are many psychological methods that can increase employee satisfaction, if only you understand what they want.

About Anica:

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.