May 29, 2014. Behavioral economists study what motivates employees to do good work and display engagement in their jobs. Employers, managers, and supervisors can glean some useful tools from these lessons.

Watch the TED Talk HERE.

Eliminate Negative Motivation

1. Meaning. Employees thrive when they see meaning in their work. An unmotivated employee may not see why their role is important in the larger organization. A poor performer in accounting, for instance, may not understand why their work benefits the company. Explain his work in the bigger picture.

2. Acknowledgement. There may be no greater drain on morale than when a person or team works hard at a project, but the company changes direction and that work is no longer needed. Even when a project is not needed or needs some work, acknowledge the work and endeavor to take some value from the project. This can be as simple as discussing what the employee learned along the way.

Promote Positive Motivation

3. Challenge. Mountain climbing - people want to be challenged. We value our work more as the difficulty level rises. Keep people challenged.

4. Progress. No one wants to do work but get nowhere. Show your employees how they have made progress. Even if they do the same thing every day, a sense of accomplishment encourages us to do more and do better.

For more information regarding employment law and how to motivate employees, contact the Goosmann Law Firm at or call 712-226-4000.

Follow Jeana Goosmann and Emilee Boyle Gehling on Twitter @JeanaAtGLF and @EmileeAtGLF!

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