How to Drive Employee Motivation with Company Culture

How to Drive Employee Motivation with Company Culture

Employee motivation and engagement are essential for an organization’s success. Yet a recent Gallup study shows that more than half of employees (51%) are disengaged at work, reflecting a serious lack of motivation among a massive number of workers.

Companies that want to avoid ending up on the wrong end of this statistic have a foundational tool at their disposal: the company’s culture. How employees experience an organization’s culture can make or break their motivation level, so it’s worth being intentional about creating the type of culture that inspires your teams.

Here are some ways to drive employee motivation by focusing on culture.

Listen and Respond to What People Want

As the CEO of a company that’s leading in remote work and runs team-building events for clients like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Netflix, Michael Alexis, CEO of, has seen firsthand how powerful building an authentic culture and authentically connecting with employees through values, stories, and communication can be.

“The combination of listening and responding to employee feedback—asking what motivates them—can also help drive understanding and accomplish goals together,” Alexis says.

Alexis emphasizes that the listening-and-responding combination is less common than providing incentives or simply pushing for productivity but notes that, when done well, it motivates employees, engages them more holistically with their work, and can even inspire creativity and innovation.

“An example of this style of engagement is utilizing off-site virtual retreats to communicate between dispersed teams,” Alexis says. “It helps build connection like an on-site team would experience but in a curated online version.”

Strengthen Internal Communication

Part of listening and responding involves ensuring that internal two-way communications are strong.

“In a company’s culture, it is necessary for employee engagement to keep people motivated, and this is even more important in remote work,” says Leo Ye, Founder and CEO of Cubo, an online office that helps users connect with prospects, clients, and teams. “People need enough information to perform their functions autonomously and safely.” 

The founder shares that, at Cubo, the company takes pains to ensure that no team member feels left out or diminished, reflecting that everyone matters.

“Thus, we reinforce communication channels, offering even more resources for the rapid exchange of information, such as a chatbot and messages,” Ye says. “We believe that, ideally, employees should interact almost as if they were in the same room.”

Focus on Trust, Transparency, and Empowerment

Human Resources Analyst Adrienne Couch at shared that, in her experience, one strategy she has found effective is to create a culture of transparency and communication.

“When employees feel that they’re part of an open and transparent culture, they’re more likely to feel engaged and motivated because they feel that they’re valued and that their input is heard,” Couch explains.

Similarly, she feels that when communication channels are open and effective, employees are more likely to feel that they’re part of a team and working toward shared goals.

Company culture should be built on trust, transparency, and empowerment,” Couch says. “Giving employees the freedom to take ownership of their work and providing opportunities for growth and development can be highly motivating.”

A real-life example of this concept in action she pointed to is Buffer, a fully remote company that has a strong culture built on values such as positivity, self-improvement, and transparency. Buffer regularly communicates its values to employees and reinforces them through team activities and recognition programs.

Develop an Inclusion Strategy

Since company culture consists of multiple elements, it has a wide range of impacts on employee motivation, according to Ye.

“Sometimes, recognition through various strategies helps motivate employees and, at others, creating learning and development opportunities keeps employees motivated,” Ye says. 

However, one step that is always helpful to foster employee motivation is to develop a strategy of inclusion, which Ye says in a broader sense is a type of recognition.

“Employees’ inclusion is fundamental to the feeling that they belong to the organization, respected in their difficulties and strengths,” he explains. “Employees’ inclusion is vital for their engagement because even if a company offers salaries, benefits, and an attractive career plan, in the long run, these will not be enough to guarantee the engagement and motivation of employees.”

Instead, Ye says there must be an identification with the organization so that individuals feel comfortable and satisfied being part of it. “Without their inclusion, organizations can’t make them feel satisfied, resulting in a lack of engagement,” Ye says.

Cultivate Culture to Boost Motivation

In summary, employers can boost employee motivation, empower associates, and show team members that they’re valued by considering their feedback, encouraging two-way communication, promoting a culture of trust and transparency, and ensuring an inclusive work environment for all.

For more remote management best practices, check out our Q&A with leading remote companies and virtual teams.

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By Robin Madell | Categories: Remote Management

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