Rewarding Employee Motivation: What You Need To Know

Employee motivation has a big impact on a company’s success; studies have shown that a “significant and positive relationship” exists between employee motivation and employee performance. On top of this, it has also been demonstrated that rewards substantially impact motivation. 

So, how can all of this information be interpreted and utilized? Read on to find out what you need to know about rewarding employee motivation. 

Related: Benefits Of Health And Wellness For Your Workforce

Increased Motivation Helps Your Company

Before exploring how to improve motivation, it is important to understand the benefits of increasing motivation for a company. These benefits come from the general advantages provided by an increase in productivity and the less-obvious advantages provided by a happier workforce. 


Most employees are not working at their full potential. At many companies, an employee’s only motivation to do a good job is to avoid being fired. Whether the employee works hourly or obtains a salary, they generally make the same amount of money no matter how hard they work. So, they have no reason to work harder than at this bare minimum level. 

However, this is not the case with motivated employees. An employee who is motivated has some external reason to do their job and do it well. This may come from some motivation system that rewards productivity or from a system of bonuses for effective employees. No matter where the motivation comes from, it results in an increase in productivity. 

Related: Benefits Of Health And Wellness For Your Workforce

A group of happy employees sitting in a meeting

Employee Happiness

An increase in motivation may also stem from an increase in employee happiness. The motivation they are receiving gives them another positive connection to their workplace. This connection makes them happier at work. 

This is helpful because happy employees are more productive. Studies have shown that being happy results in a 12% boost in productivity. If you are dealing with a full workforce of happy employees, this boost in productivity can significantly impact the productivity of the business as a whole. 

Happy employees are also less likely to leave the company and go elsewhere. After all, they are happy where they are and, thus, don’t want to take the risk that another workplace will make them less happy. This translates to greater employee retention and can be part of a company’s retention strategies. Increased retention has a number of benefits for the company, so this benefit should not be overlooked.  

Looking for a way to motivate and reward your employees for being healthier? Learn more about our platform and how it can help your team!

Rewards Increase Motivation

Now that it is clear why motivation is helpful, you may wonder how to increase motivation. One of the most effective ways to do this is through rewards. This encouragement is great because it directly boosts motivation in specific ways and comes in various formats. 

Rewards boost motivation in specific ways because they can help encourage specific behaviors. If an employee does well with something, they can be rewarded for their actions. This will encourage that employee to do well again in the future. It will also encourage other employees in similar positions to do well with their work, as they realize that doing so increases the potential for a reward. Simply rewarding one person has encouraged specific behaviors for an entire office. 

These behaviors can also be as specific or as general as you desire. For example, a sales company may reward employees for completing a large sale. However, the company could also choose to reward employees for closing a certain number of sales over the course of a year. How specific you choose to get is up to you. 

Rewards are also great because of the various ways they can take form. A reward can be a gift that costs a specific dollar amount. Employees often appreciate gifts like these and, because of this, will be motivated by them. 

However, a reward can also take the form of recognition in general. In the U.S., only one in three workers receives recognition or praise for their work on a regular basis. This lack of recognition creates a desire for recognition. This recognition could be as elaborate as a plaque honoring valuable employees or something as simple as a personalized email thanking the employee for something specific. This makes recognition relatively cheap while still being easy to dispense. 

Related: Health Motivation: 2023 Tips & Tricks

A company employee being rewarded with a gift card

Creating a Reward System

While rewards are generally helpful, they are the most effective when well-designed. If they are not, they could create problems. 

A properly designed system should also be themed around the company’s message and morals. For example, a company striving to promote a healthy workplace may create a system that addresses this goal. Doing so helps them reach their objectives while assuring employees and the public that the company holds fast to its ideals. 

On top of this, a reward system should strive to address specific behaviors. Dispensing random rewards may end up accidentally promoting bad behaviors and tactics. If all employees are rewarded randomly, an employee who is not performing well may receive a reward. This employee will have no reason to change their behavior and, thus, will continue not to perform well. 

In addition, a reward system should be clear and easy to understand. A loose reward system is prone to accusations of favoritism. If one employee seems to be getting a lot of subjective rewards, other employees may get upset. However, if the system is clear about what actions will be rewarded and what these rewards will be, they have no reason to believe the system is unfair. 

To go along with being specific and easy to understand, the pathway toward rewards is best when it is measurable. Sticking with the wellness at work example, the company could track attendance at healthy workplace events. They could then reward everyone who attends a certain number of events.

Rewards and Motivation in the Workplace

Rewarding employees has the potential to grant a company a cascade of benefits. However, the effectiveness of rewards is heavily reliant on how they are given out. Take time to craft a proper rewards system so your company can start performing better than before!

Want to find out more ways to reward your team’s efforts to be healthier? Schedule a call and see how Xcellent Life can make it easy.