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The importance of team motivation for your people and your business
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The importance of team motivation for your people and your business

Team motivation isn’t just a nice to have–it’s a need to have. Discover 8 reasons why you should motivate your people and tips for doing so.

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“Do you believe in miracles?” exclaimed iconic sportscaster Al Michaels as the game clock ticked down to 0:00. When the U.S. men's hockey team beat the USSR 4-3 in the 1980 Olympics, it became known as the “Miracle on Ice,” one of the most remarkable events in sports history. They later went on to win gold.

“Nobody thought we could win that game,” stated the team’s captain, Mike Eruzione, decades later. “Heck, nobody thought we could win a medal.”1 The Americans were mostly amateur college players, so they weren’t nearly as seasoned as the Soviets, who practiced 11 months of the year.2 But they had a secret ingredient that helped lead them to their historic victory: A motivational leader.

The U.S. team’s legendary coach Herb Brooks was eccentric, using dramatic tactics and intentionally angering his players to get them fired up and driven to win.3 While this aggressive strategy isn’t exactly the approach to take with your employees, you can still take inspiration from Herb’s role in the Miracle on Ice. 

For many people, simply having a job isn't motivating enough to get incredible results—they need to feel connected to a bigger purpose, whether that’s your organization's mission or their own development. That’s why understanding how to motivate your team is essential to success. 

We’re here to outline the benefits of motivating your team, as well as give you some tips on how to do it.

Want to motivate your people? Give them the tools they need to feel inspired. 
Switchboard helps you organize your projects, promote spontaneous collaboration and team brainstorms, and motivate your employees. 
Learn more

What are the benefits of having a motivated team?

Before the 1980 Olympics, the American team hadn’t beaten the Soviets at ice hockey for two decades. In fact, just a week before the Miracle on Ice, the U.S. lost 10-3 in an exhibition match against them.

Just by knowing how to push his players’ buttons, Herb Brooks gave them the drive to defeat the Soviets in that historic game. Motivating your employees might not lead you to any gold medal wins, but there are still tangible benefits for your company. 

People will actually enjoy coming to work  

Think of the last time you had to do a task you weren’t motivated to do. Maybe it was filling out a mundane report at work or even just mowing the lawn. How much satisfaction did you get out of doing that task?

Now think of a task you were motivated to complete, whether it was planning your next trip or creating a presentation outlining your team’s impressive progress this quarter. It’s probably a safe bet you enjoyed creating that presentation more than writing the report. 

When your people feel motivated, they’ll enjoy their work more. They may still have low-motivation days or moments where they feel underwhelmed or frustrated but, overall, your employees will have a better time at work when they feel more inspired and engaged.

Three people sitting at a table working at their laptops and laughing
Helping your employees stay motivated will give them a more positive work experience.

Teams will be more productive and deliver higher-quality work

Research shows that the relationship between rewards, motivation, and employee performance depends on job satisfaction. 

That’s because when your team is motivated, they won’t just enjoy their work more–they’ll also do a better job of it. The same research found that reward and motivation are shown to have a significant positive impact on employee job performance (which in turn impacts your profitability and business success). 

Plus, more motivated employees tend to be more productive. One study found that work attitudes and motivation can effectively buffer productivity loss among workers dealing with health or work-related issues. This means motivation can be a driving factor for higher productivity even when there are other variables distracting your people. 

Teams will be better at problem-solving, creativity, and innovation

When your employees are uninspired or feel stagnant in their roles, you can’t expect them to be very creative or innovative. 

On the flip side, motivated employees are more willing to think outside the box and go the extra mile to come up with unique solutions. For example, a design team that feels motivated and inspired will be more inclined to put in the extra energy it requires to brainstorm new ideas and creative visions rather than borrowing from designs that already exist. 

There’ll be more collaboration between teams 

The members of the 1980 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team were motivated to work together. As a result, the sum of all their individual efforts led them to win the gold medal and be named Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year—the first time the honor was awarded to an entire team. 

When your team feels motivated, they’re not only inspired to work hard themselves but as a team. Motivating your employees makes them feel like they’re part of bigger company goals, inspiring them to work with their colleagues toward finding the best possible solutions.

Pro tip: Motivation can have a positive impact on collaboration, but you also have to give your employees a place where they can seamlessly work together. Switchboard lets you organize your projects and run engaging team meetings, making it easier for your people to collaborate both async and in real-time.
Switchboard room with multiple files
Switchboard gives your team a place to work together online, no matter where they are. Source: Switchboard

Employees will be more engaged (and turnover lower)

Another important aspect of employee satisfaction and wellbeing is how engaged your people are at work. Plus, Gallup research shows that higher levels of employee engagement can also lead to more productivity and profitability. 

When your employees are motivated, they feel more recognized and valued in the workplace. By engaging them in this way, you help them feel more connected to their work, your company, and your customers. 

Plus, when your employees are engaged, they’re more likely to stick around. The same research found that teams with higher employee engagement have lower levels of employee turnover than teams who don’t excel at engaging their workers. 

Company culture and reputation will improve

A motivated workforce is going to feel more inclined to participate in your company culture. Getting unmotivated employees to participate in team-building activities? You may need an actual miracle for that. 

However, team members who are inspired by and excited about their work don’t just want to show up and get the job done–they want to form part of a meaningful culture. Additionally, when your team members feel this sense of purpose and belonging, they’re more willing to act as public advocates for your brand and reputation. 

Your chances of attracting top talent will increase 

When you create a positive organization where motivation levels are high, it’ll be easier to bring in the best people come time to hire. Glassdoor reviews can go a long way, and when your team members are out there singing your praises, you’re much more likely to attract top talent. 

Plus, the best employees are the ones who look for a workplace environment that will motivate them and push them to grow and think. So when a job candidate asks one of your people what it’s like working at your company, they’ll want to hear it’s a place where they’ll feel inspired, supported, and challenged. 

There’ll be more time to do meaningful work  

As a manager, so much of your time can be spent putting out fires resulting from uncompleted work, checking in on workers dragging their feet, or trying to find solutions to get your team to be more productive. However, knowing how to motivate your team instead of micromanaging them frees up your time to do more productive and impactful work for your company. 

For example, instead of constantly following up on the status of deliverables, having a team that’s motivated, productive, independent, and focused gives you back time in the day to think about bigger-picture ideas and goals.  

How to motivate your team 

Now you know just how important it is, take a look at a few ideas for how to motivate as a team leader

  • Understand what motivates each person: You can’t use the same tactics to inspire every employee, so be aware of the unique expectations and needs of each team member to best understand how to motivate them. 
  • Create the right environment: To promote an environment prone to motivation and team engagement, create a culture centered around shared values and goals. 
  • Foster open, transparent communication: Motivating your people will be easier when you’re honest and transparent with them, so prioritize effective communication and feedback in your workplace. 
  • Show gratitude and recognition: We all need a good pep talk sometimes. Praising your people and thanking them for all that they do will motivate them to keep up the hard work. 
  • Give them the tools they need to do their job: Your employees won’t be motivated unless they feel they have the resources they need. Using an employee engagement platform like Switchboard will help keep them motivated by giving them a place to collaborate and organize projects.
Switchboard external client room
One of the biggest motivational factors is whether your employees have the resources they need to succeed. Switchboard, for example, gives your people a place to collaborate and work together. Source: Switchboard

When your team is motivated, everyone wins

“You were born to be hockey players, every one of you. You were meant to be here tonight…This is your time, now go out there and take it.” Talk about motivational. 

While the 2004 Disney film Miracle may have taken some liberties when portraying this speech Coach Brooks gave before his players faced the Soviets, former players attest that the reenactment came pretty close. The coach’s knack for motivating his players–knowing just what to say to get them inspired, riled up, and feel confident in themselves–resulted in one of history’s iconic sports outcomes. 

Like those hockey players, your people may have the talent and drive to achieve incredible things, but if you want to get the most out of them, you need to know how to motivate them. 

Keep in mind that motivation isn’t the only part of reaping these benefits. It’s also about creating a work environment that people want to be part of, protecting work-life balance for your people, and giving them the tools they need to collaborate and feel inspired. 

Switchboard, for example, is a collaborative digital workspace that organizes all the apps and tools your team uses into meeting and project rooms. The platform helps you enhance team connection, collaboration, and productivity. When coupled with a motivated team, the tool can help you build a positive work environment where people are excited to show up every day. 

Want to motivate your people? Give them the tools they need to feel inspired. 
Switchboard helps you organize your projects, promote spontaneous collaboration and team brainstorms, and motivate your employees. 
Learn more

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Want to motivate your people? Give them the tools they need to feel inspired.

Switchboard helps you organize your projects, promote spontaneous collaboration and team brainstorms, and motivate your employees.