Motivating Uninspired Employees

How to Spark Inspiration

Do you feel like some days you are wearing down to a thread, trying to motivate uninspired employees? Many managers do their best to coach employees to develop their own sense of motivation to achieve their goals – both on a personal and professional level. Yet many of these tactics are derived from a one-size-fits-all method, failing to account for the person and any impact that may be had on their ability to drive based on their feelings, emotions, thoughts and mindset.

Motivation is driven in large part by dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters transmit chemical messages within the brain by way of pathways. The mesolimbic pathway is the most important reward pathway in the brain and when dopamine’s chemical signal fills this pathway, feedback is triggered for predicting rewards. When your brain knows something good is about to happen, dopamine comes into place, encouraging us to act to achieve outcomes.

But where does this all fit in with productivity? Low levels of dopamine in individuals can make it less likely for them to work for things. Here are some ways you can inspire your employees to develop true motivation.


Offer regular recognition to your employee, reminding him that he is valued and that you pay attention to his contributions in the company. Set aside meetings to offer praise and encouragement to your team as a whole to foster a sense of belonging and accomplishment.


When your unmotivated employees’ successes arise, take time to celebrate with them. This can help to build a sense of community, which is the foundation for a positive workplace. It could be something small like ringing a bell to celebrate achievements or you can offer free lunches or company fundays.

Analyze Excuses and Fears

Sit down with your employees and discuss what could be holding them back from feeling motivated and how they can better manage their motivation. It could be something as little as lack of mental energy, which can leave them feeling drained. Perhaps they need a little help managing their goals. A seminar on fear-setting may be helpful in shifting their concerns into fears, thus helping them to develop plans of action. Goal-setting helps your employees to analyze the main objective they are stuck on and create a list of things that can go wrong and how to fix it from there. This can help to settle fears that may prevent them from performing tasks necessary to continue to move forward.

If anyone on your team is unmotivated and unable to offer creative solutions, you may be able to help them get on track with some gentle nudging. Help them to understand the impact that their lack of motivation has on their own well-being, while encouraging them that they have value to add to your company that you want to see drawn upon.

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