Growthink Blog

How To Motivate Your Employees


Entrepreneurs must have many skills. They must be able to spot opportunities. They must be able to create plans to seize those opportunities. And they must execute on those plans.

And, for most opportunities, and clearly for those opportunities that are really big, execution involves hiring and managing employees. Because no single entrepreneur can do everything themselves.

But you just can't have any employees. Companies that succeed have employees that are highly motivated.

So how do you ensure that your employees are motivated to succeed?

Clearly, giving them fair salaries helps. And clearly, stock options that allow employees to benefit when the company benefits are good practice.

But, there is an even better way. In fact, authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton in their book, The Carrot Principle, found a better way.

Where did they come up with this better way? Well, they conducted a study involving 200,000 people over a ten-year period.

Importantly, their study showed that the key characteristic of the most successful entrepreneurial managers is that they provide their employees with frequent and effective recognition.

That's right, significantly better business results were realized when managers offered recognition in the form of constructive praise and meaningful rewards (typically non-monetary).

The authors found that recognition is most effective when it is:

  • Positive (don't mention any negatives when giving praise)
  • Immediate (comes soon after the job well done)
  • Close (presented to employee(s) with their peers in attendance)
  • Specific (precisely recognizes why the task/job they performed merited recognition)
  • Shared (allows employee's peers to also comment during the recognition presentation)


Carrots are needed to motivate employees. But what I found most interesting about the author's findings was that recognition is more effective than monetary rewards. This is a critical finding for all managers, and particularly entrepreneurial managers who typically operate in cash-restrained environments.

The authors created a "Recognition Frequency Log" that you can use to keep track of how you recognize your employees and for what. You can download it here:

Knowing how to motivate your employees will allow you to build a team that is as passionate about success as you are. And this will ultimately lead to your company achieving its goals. So, while it may not seem like a mission-critical focus today, it's definitely worth your time and effort. So don't delay...

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