3 Simple Tips to Motivate Your Team and Increase Profits

The best part is it won’t cost you a cent, and you can begin tomorrow


Jim Farina

2 years ago | 4 min read

Workers need to know their work is appreciated. Showing gratitude to employees is the easiest, fastest, most inexpensive way to boost performance

I was out at lunch with a few co-workers recently to celebrate a birthday — it was the first time out to a restaurant in over a year. The small party included one of the company owners and two of the VP’s.

During our conversation over shared small plates of something between Latin and Middle-eastern delights, the topic turned to some of our co-workers. One employee, in particular, was singled out of a department that has a reputation for being challenging to work with. They are generally pessimistic. They’re quick to tell you everything that won’t work.

This one person in the department is the exception. He’s always positive and a pleasure to deal with. They listed the positive qualities of this guy — using terms such as flexible, innovative, smart, fun, and responsive. I agreed with their consensus. Who doesn’t like working with somebody as well-rounded as this?

My very next thought was, I wonder if this superstar employee even realizes how well-respected he is? I bet he suspects as much but has anyone actually expressed this to him face-to-face? I know what praise like that would do for my attitude and esteem. I decided that I was going to tell him myself at the first opportunity available to me.

Demonstrating individual gratitude is not regularly practiced in our organization. The company is terrific about showing appreciation for the hard work we do collectively as a unit. They demonstrate this clearly through great perks such as free lunches and a wide selection of beverages. We celebrate our successes with regular happy hours.

The company gives generous end-of-year bonuses that coincide with an amazing holiday luncheon. They also give “spot bonuses” to those employees who go above and beyond. These expressions of thanks are thoughtful and appreciated, but individual recognition throughout the year is not their practice. As it turns out, very few leaders know how to express this kind of gratitude effectively.

Eighty-one percent of employees say they’d work harder if their boss made them feel more appreciated

The New York Times bestseller, Leading with Gratitude by authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton provides ways to express regular gratitude to your employees. According to their findings, eighty-one percent of employees say they’d work harder if their boss made them feel more appreciated. The following is a sampling of some of these findings.

If you want more insights into your business, get more personal with your staff

This is exactly what Kent Taylor, founder and CEO of restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse does. With nearly 600 locations and a team of nearly sixty-thousand employees, how does he make time for all of them? That’s a lot of listening, talking, and parsing it all out to take an actionable direction.

He does it by calling a random store every week to ask the servers for customer feedback. All store managers also have Kent’s mobile number. They provide such insights as what menu items are left partially eaten on the plate, what’s popular. What common questions are asked?

Through these means, Taylor discovered that Texas Roadhouse’s mac and cheese was not working for them as projected. This open communication is a great motivator as it shows that you value employees’ feedback and opinions. It’s also important that you thank employees for these valuable contributions.

Always give employees the benefit of the doubt

Research conducted by authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton reveals that most people are earnest about doing their jobs well. When this doesn’t happen, it’s often due to a lack of proper training, the necessary tools, or clear direction from their leaders.

In many cases, an employee with great intentions and potential can be saved through support channels rather than reprimand. They also found that those employees working in a supportive environment are quicker to bring up potential problems as they arise.

They can quickly be addressed and remedied before they become catastrophes. Or as Garry Ridges, company executive of WD-40, refers to them as “learning moments.”

Trust enables employees the confidence to share ideas — without great ideas, your business will always be at a disadvantage.

Practice empathy to improve performance

Managers who are skilled empathizers tend to make the best decisions, coach effectively, and engage their teams. If you’re part of the 60 percent of managers, which data shows, do not effectively demonstrate empathy, don’t fret — there are some simple ways to fix this.

Experiencing what it’s truly like to live your team member’s workday is a good starting point. You might have a pretty good idea of what their job entails, but it’s unlikely you have the whole story of their day-to-day grind and the various obstacles they encounter.

Shadowing them for a day is one way to gain new insight into their roles. This can provide some nuance into common struggles like gaining information from other departments, friction between coworkers, and inefficiencies uncovered through a new set of eyes.

Ask them outright: What’s frustrating them? What are they most proud of? What would they do differently if money and resources were no object? Together, you might identify solutions and solve some problems to create a smoother workflow.

Make it a new habit starting now

Expressing gratitude is much like exercise, or any discipline for that matter. Commit to practicing it daily. In time, it will become a habit. And when you begin seeing your team’s performance improve, you’ll realize it was all worth the extra effort.


Created by

Jim Farina







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