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How to motivate everyone on the payroll

By SmartPayroll | June 19, 2014

A challenge all NZ small-medium businesses who employ staff go through is how to keep their employees motivated, happy and performing at their best.

As the employer, your treatment and support of workers can mean the difference between them feeling valued or not.

Making sure everyone on the Payroll is happy

Keep morale high by maintaining a cheerful, positive attitude yourself. A boss that arrives to the workplace with a confident walk, smile and greeting to everyone will influence others to adopt the same attitude. Talk to your staff, ask how they’re doing and talk about the day ahead.  Acknowledgement of your employees as the human beings they are goes a long way to encouraging them to do a good job for the company.

Motivation doesn’t need to be complicated. Your essentially trying to tell your staff that you value them and they’re doing a good job. Celebrate successes with them and the whole group.


Your payroll should feel important

In fact, feeling like an essential part of the team is as important as good pay, job enjoyment and career development. When you talk with staff, make sure they know their role is key to keeping the show running. With that responsibility, employee morale and motivation will be greatly improved. At the end of the day, no one wants to feel like they aren’t needed.

Employees need to know what’s expected of them in the business

A big problem employees can encounter is not being fully aware of what’s expected of them in their role. This doesn’t simply mean providing a job description and objectives but rather ongoing communication about what needs to be achieved, ensuring your employee in on the same page. And remember, if the goal posts move, make sure you keep your staff in the loop – they’re not mind readers!

Put simply – keep your staff in the loop.

Feedback to staff is a huge motivator

The single most useful tool to put employees in a great, hardworking mood is to provide feedback – regularly. A quick positive comment or email when an employee does a good job will drive them to keep performing at a high level.

On the flip side, if a staff member doesn’t meet the standard on an occasion, it’s important to address this clearly but constructively. Work with them on a strategy for better achieving their objectives. A weekly ‘coaching’ session to check in with each employee is a great way of building trust, motivation and morale. Both you and your employee are given an opportunity to raise any issues which can then be resolved.

Retaining staff on the payroll

If you need some ideas around how to motivate staff, you can check out Motivate & Retain Staff  from the Department of Labour.


DoL recommend investing time (and sometimes money) in planned staff training and development. This can range from helping develop career plans to one-on one training and even delegating new duties to workers to help build a sense of responsibility. Taking this time to develop your staff member will show them you value their role in the company and have a view to promote them.

Flexibility and Work/Life Balance

Your staff have their own lives to lead. If you can work with them to create a work schedule that ensures the role’s duties are completed while allowing the employee to satisfy family commitments, your staff will likely be loyal and motivated to work hard for you. Some staff may even be upskilling through study which can greatly benefit your business with more capable employees.

Motivation is more than just dollars and cents

Remember staff motivation doesn’t come from just competitive pay. When staff are working 40 hours a week, the people, environment and job satisfaction all play vital parts in retaining a productive, happy team.