Motivate Your Team

How can you motivate your team in a crisis?

Motivate your team by showing you care.

Motivate your team. We all know we need to do it, but how? Motivating employees to complete a task is the easy part; however, motivating those employees to work to the best of their abilities and guiding their efforts to the vision and values of the organization are the real challenges that companies face in today’s’ demanding global markets. For an organization to achieve its objectives in productivity, they must hire the employees that best “fit” into their organization’s beliefs and vision. Retaining human capital through job satisfaction and motivation is one of the most critical goals for any organization trying to expand its business model. This paper gives my perspective on how the relationship between human capital and the importance of job satisfaction and motivation when selecting employees relates to the lessons I’ve learned in my time as a student-athlete.


First, we must understand what retaining human capital means. The ideology behind retaining human capital is simple; companies spend time and money developing employees that they feel display competencies that will greatly benefit the company in the future. Alongside the developmental stages, companies offer incentives, benefits and perks to encourage, motivate and ultimately keep their employees satisfied in an effort to keep them engaged in their work and happy with their current role(s). It is within the company’s interests to keep their employees happy both within their career and by helping create an effective work/life balance.

motivate your team by reassuring them

Find a challenge.

This is similar to being on a sports team. For the sake of this example, a team can be thought of as a group of employees where the coach (or Sr leader) is the boss. While many companies offer their benefits and perks to top employees, athletes are rewarded with playing time for being the best in their group. To motivate a team is far more imperative in the sports world. The hardest working and most talented players will be the ones who occupy the court/field. Every day, an athlete shows up to practice knowing that his spot on the court is not guaranteed and must, therefore, continually and consistently work hard to maintain his / her position. If they don’t, they lose their spot. Sounds pretty motivating, right?  In the business world this translates into a promotion, a raise, or any number of additional perks. That is the nature of all teams.

This also relates directly to those top-earning employees as they are also the ones who worked the hardest to get there. Having competition in any setting brings out a side in people that makes them want to be the best, and through this competition (for a bonus, promotion, etc.), companies get lasting results from their employees. That’s why gamification is so popular in both marketing and management styles. People love to win! To motivate your team, you all need to “want to win”. To tie this point off with a famous quote by soccer superstar Pele, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. The employees (and athletes) that get to the top are there for a reason, and they are driven by their desire to be the best and by their will to achieve the rewards of either a starting spot for athletes or a work bonus for employees.

Motivate Your Team 1

There has also been an indirect relationship found between job satisfaction and absence. While a dissatisfied worker may choose to miss work, an increase in company morale would effectively contribute to the bottom line; low absenteeism and an increase in staff productivity. When employees effectively engage in a work-life balance, they are happier. Compared to a dissatisfied worker, a satisfied employee is more likely to attend work if they have a minor illness, such as a cold or headache. When factors such as excused versus unexcused absences and organizational sanctions for absenteeism are taken into account, a small, but consistent negative relationship is found between the two constructs. As such, companies need to engage with staff positively to keep every high in morale. A wellness program is only a small segment of what can be done to retain the right people for the job.

Dollars and Sense.

An example of how companies can raise employee work lace attitudes while creating cost savings is from Barbara Naydeck’s The Impact of the Highmark Employee Wellness Programs on 4-Year Healthcare Costs article. In this article, Naydeck discusses the benefits of creating a wellness program for employees, which in turn creates substantial cost savings to Highmark (employer) in the form of lower absenteeism, lower sick days, an increase in productivity and an overall increase in the health and well-being of their employees. The case study discussed how job satisfaction is directly linked to the level of motivation and attitude an employee has in regards to their position, their organization and ultimately the level of commitment each holds to their employer.

By investigating the relationship between cost savings and a wellness outreach program within the health care industry, Highmark concluded that, on average, every $1 spent on the program garnered a $1.65 increase in cost savings. A 65% return on investment seems like a fair trade-off to increase the morale and overall well being of your staff. Who doesn’t want to bring in a 65% ROI while creating a better working environment?

Start early.

Let’s look at an early stage of life for this motivation paradigm. In high school, students are faced with many prerequisites, meaning they have to take certain courses they may not want to take. However, in university, students are free to choose whatever classes they would like to take to complete their major. This simple act of choice (and perceived freedom) found that students who go to university skip much less class and are far more inclined to do the work their class assigns. The main reason: the new coursework actually interests them and answers the question we have all asked when faced with something we didn’t want to learn in school, “When am I ever going to need to know this?”.

Similarly, as an employee, you want to be engaged in the place where you work. It boosts your morale and makes you more willing to work harder for your company. Thus, when an employee is engaged and satisfied with the work they are doing; they feel as though their work is relevant. With this staff buy-in, a company has the opportunity to increase productivity and decrease the problem of unexcused absences, as mentioned above.

In conclusion.

As organizations try to facilitate initiatives to hire the best of the best in such a demanding global market, we must keep in mind that once we find the employees with “the right stuff,” To effectively motivate your team, you will need to challenge them constantly. The hiring process is a two-way street. Companies should provide environments where each employee can be competitive to work hard towards promotions and raises, and this must be balanced with a workplace where the employee feels their work is making a difference to motivate them further to stay with the company and give them all.


This competitive process (gamification ) is a core attribute to all human behaviour. However, for engagement to be truly successful, it is vital to carry open communication across all channels. By allowing staff and management to be involved in employee development, organizations can effectively increase the retention of employees (human capital) while simultaneously increasing the feelings of job satisfaction and creating a positive work environment.


In short, leaders need to show they value their teams, that’s how you win championships, or in this case, decrease absenteeism and increase productivity.