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Want Employees to Work Harder? This Is What Works

Want Employees to Work Harder? This Is What Works
Motivation, not punishment, encourages employees to work harder. / Credit: Fresh carrot image via Shutterstock

It's the carrot, not the stick that keeps employees motivated in the workplace, new research shows.

A study by online career site Glassdoor revealed that more than 80 percent of employees say they're motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work, compared to less than 40 percent who are inspired to work harder when their boss is demanding or because they fear losing their job.

Showing gratitude also helps keep workers from developing a wandering eye. More than half of those surveyed said they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss.

While more money is the type of recognition employees would prefer most, employers can also keep their staff happy with a number of less-costly methods. The study found that 46 percent of employees would feel more appreciated if their boss gave them an unexpected treat, like snacks, lunches, dinners or thank you notes, while 24 percent would enjoy a company-sponsored social event, such as a holiday party or happy hour.

[8 Amazing Job Benefits That Keep Employees Happy]

"There is a wide variety of ways to show employee appreciation that can go far towards keeping employees satisfied, engaged and retained," said Allyson Willoughby, Glassdoor's senior vice president of people and general counsel. "Even inexpensive forms of appreciation, like thank you cards and treats, or offering flexibility like telecommuting, show employees you value them."

Other forms of no-cost appreciation that employees want from employers include:

The research shows that with Thanksgiving approaching, employers have a number of opportunities to show their staff some gratitude for their hard work. Topping employees' wish list is having the day before and after the holiday off. Other perks employees would appreciate around Thanksgiving include a cash bonus, a grocery store gift card, a pre-Thanksgiving meal at work and the option to telecommute in the days before the holiday.

The study was based on surveys of 2,044 adults over the age of 18, of whom 891 are employed full or part time.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.