Business Strategies Highly Effective CEOs Use to Motivate Their Teams

10 min read
Jun 18, 2021

When you are running a business, your team is your greatest asset. Keeping your team engaged and excited about their work is the key to ensuring your company's success. Creating a healthy work environment in which your employees are inspired and motivated to do their very best can go a long way to boost innovation and productivity while reducing turnover rates. When your employees are actually excited to go to work every day, they will work harder to ensure that your company thrives and meets its goals. This is where your business strategies come in handy.

The important role employees play in a company's success is something every great CEO knows. In fact, it has often been the belief that companies should put their customers first. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson claims that Virgin's success is the result of his employee-centric management strategy. Branson claims that team members who are happy and proud of their work will be more motivated to do their best to represent the company. 

By keeping employees motivated, successful CEOs ensure that their teams continue to innovate and ensure the company's success. There is no single way to ensure your team stays inspired as each company's culture is unique. However, there are various business strategies every CEO can implement to help boost workplace motivation and productivity. Here is a look at 13 business strategies highly effective CEOs implement that help motivate their teams to go the extra mile.

13 Team-Motivating Business Strategies Highly Effective CEOs Implement 

1. Pay Your People What They're Worth

One of the most important things that any employer should be doing to ensure their staff is motivated is to pay their employees what they are worth. One of the biggest causes of employee burnout, lack of motivation, and high turnover rates are employees feeling undervalued. If employees feel as though their level of skill and contribution is not being compensated for properly, they will not feel motivated to go the extra mile. 

When setting employee salaries, it is then critical that you take some time to research what other companies in your industry and geographic area are paying people in similar roles. Ensure that your employees are compensated properly and feel as though their work is valued. This is how you can easily boost motivation and drastically reduce turnover rates. Do not let your company lose great employees simply because you are not paying your team what they are worth.   

2. Provide Opportunities for Learning and Development

In addition to good pay and benefits, many employees now look for positions where they will have access to programs that will help them to continue to grow such as training and development courses. Many applicants want to find a position where they will be able to continue to learn and grow. Not only so that they can do better at their jobs, and advance their careers, but also for their own personal development. 

Investing in training and development programs helps your employees gain skills that will advance their careers. It will benefit you as this will ensure that your staff is updated on the latest technology and industry news. Additionally, your team members will be more motivated when they have consistent access to development programs. Employees often come back from trainings motivated to implement what they have just learned and excited about future career opportunities. 

You can further motivate employees by providing them with access to a variety of trainings that suit their needs. Even if they are not directly related to their current position, employees can often benefit from trainings that teach them transferable skills that could be useful in another position, or later on in their careers. Having the opportunity to participate in such development programs will excite and motivate your staff. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claims that such training programs are essential in motivating and valuing staff. Even when they result in staff moving on to different careers.       

3. Reward People for Hard Work

A tried and true method for motivating employees is to recognize their hard work by awarding prizes and bonuses. Rewarding high-performing employees for a job well-done with can incentivize employees to do their best work. It can also be fun for employees if you mix things up. Try providing personalized rewards such as gift cards to a team member's favorite restaurant. You can also motivate whole teams by rewarding high-performance teams with dinner at a nice restaurant. Small gestures can go a long way in showing that you care for your staff and that you recognize the hard work they are putting in. This will motivate them to keep doing their best. 

4. Show Your Appreciation

Rewards, incentives, and prizes can all be great motivators. Sometimes a few simple words showing your staff your gratitude can have an even more meaningful impact. A large contributor to employee burnout is receiving no feedback, or worse, only receiving negative feedback. Thusly, when leadership goes out of their way to acknowledge an employee's achievements, this can go a long way in helping them to feel valued and motivated to continue to put in maximum effort. It is easy to forget to do so. Thank your employees for everyday tasks and recognize even minor achievements. 

5. Create a Positive Work Environment

As you are likely all too aware, an individual's environment can severely impact their creativity and productivity. The fact is that no one will feel motivated to work if their office environment is unpleasant. You should then take some time to consider these business strategies. Create an enjoyable space for your employees to work in and where they won't have a hard time being inspired. This may include ensuring that there are spaces where employees can work privately, that there is a good ambiance, and that there are relaxing spaces where employees can take breaks. It is also vital that you create a healthy place to work. A place that is clean and has plenty of fresh air and natural light. 

Also, vital to creating a positive work environment is ensuring that there is healthy work culture. A great way to achieve this would be to model the types of behaviors you want your employees to exhibit. You should also do your best to make sure that coworkers treat each other properly. Since toxic work relationships can severely dampen productivity. Having access to a clean, relaxing, and respectful work environment can be critical in helping to motivate your team.  

Team of diverse employees having fun in the workplace.   

6. Allow Your Employees to Fail

Another great part of your business strategies is to motivate your staff and spark innovation to create an environment where it is safe to fail. The reality is that we all make mistakes, and failure is part of being human. However, what sets a great CEO apart is that they do not punish failure. Instead, they encourage their team members to keep trying. 

When managers punish failure, this leads to a culture of fear that can hinder progress and innovation. The fact is that innovation often requires one to take risks. But your team may be too timid to take risks if they fear repercussions from potential failure. In fact, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, normalizing failure is key to success. Bezos claims that if your failures aren't growing, then you aren't taking the right risks that could foster success. 

Creating a space where it is safe to try new things, and potentially fail, helps to foster the creative process, motivate employees, and prevent burnout. Of course, this does not mean that you have to be happy about failure. Failure is never the goal, you just need to give your team the opportunity to think big without fear of failure in order to create an environment where innovation is possible.     

7. Give Your Employees Autonomy

Virgin founder Richard Branson is an advocate for autonomy in the workplace. And every CEO could benefit by following his lead. The reality is that no one likes a boss who micromanages and constantly looks over their shoulder, second-guessing every decision they make. Working in such a stressful work environment can inhibit productivity and creativity.

Branson believes that it is important to put his trust in his employees and give them autonomy. He allows them to take responsibility for big projects. He believes that employees will feel more responsibility for the brand and recognize that their work is important if they have the autonomy to make their own decisions. Giving employees the autonomy they deserve can then boost employee morale and productivity.

8. Make Work Fun

There is often a misconception that a productive work environment can not be fun. However, just because you and your team are working hard, this does not mean that you can not mix some fun into the workday as well. In fact, making the workplace fun has been found to be an extremely effective part of business strategies to motivate employees. The goal is to make employees excited about coming to work.

A popular way employers create a fun work environment is by implementing a strategy known as gamification. This involves applying game-like concepts to everyday work tasks in order to generate motivation and create friendly competition in the workplace. Gamification can be particularly useful when incorporated into training activities to boat engagement. You will discover that there are countless ways that you can incorporate games, prizes, and competition into the workday. Making routine tasks fun and keeping your team motivated and excited to come to work every day.

9. Create a Culture of Collaboration

You can also help to keep your team motivated by creating a culture of collaboration within the workplace. Employees are likely to feel burnt out and unmotivated if they do not feel as if their input is appreciated. It is then important that CEOs create business strategies where everyone's opinion is solicited and listened to, and where collaboration is encouraged. 

Your team is much more likely to be motivated to complete a project if they feel like they have some ownership of it. You should then take the time to invite team members to contribute their ideas and questions. Create an environment where your employees feel safe to make suggestions by actively listening to input. And whenever possible, implementing employee contributions. When your employees are made to feel like valued members of the team whose input matters, they will be more likely to take ownership of projects.     

Team of diverse employees having fun in the workplace while getting their job done. 

10. Focus on Team Bonding

The average full-time employee spends 40 hours a week working in an office with the same people. Create a healthy work environment where your team gets along well and finds it easy to collaborate. Create a sense of camaraderie amongst your staff. A simple way to do this would be to focus on bonding exercises that help to bring your team together. 

Whether it's the occasional all-staff lunch, regular team-building exercises, or monthly bowling nights, taking steps to foster healthy working relationships amongst your staff can boost motivation and productivity. When teams have a sense of camaraderie, they often find it easier to work together. Additionally, while no one wants to come to work if they don't like their coworkers. If your team sees each other as family, they will look forward to working on projects together and will be motivated to come to work.   

11. Respect Your Teams Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest contributors to employee burnout and a high turnover rate is a lack of work-life balance. Employees who feel overworked will not feel motivated. They may even have a hard time focusing on the task at hand if they feel as though they never get to see their friends or family and are constantly tired. 

It is then critical that every CEO understands the importance of respecting that their employees have lives outside of work. It is key that you do not overwork your employees. Encourage them to not let their work rule their lives. Make it clear to employees that it is important that they leave work behind when they go home, and that you want them to take time off as needed. This will ensure that your staff is able to maintain their mental and emotional health. Make them feel energized whenever they come into the office.  

12. Provide Sufficient Annual Leave

The key to providing employees with a sufficient work-life balance is ensuring that they have enough vacation and personal days. Having extended time away from the office regularly can actually help to boost productivity, creativity, and motivation. This is why companies such as Virgin and Netflix have begun to introduce unlimited annual leave policies

This may sound counterintuitive to maintaining a productive workforce. However, many employees often need time away from the office to clear their heads and/or take care of personal matters that might have otherwise distracted them from their jobs. Thusly, not every company has the resources to offer an unlimited leave policy. It is important that you give your employees sufficient time off or even a flexible work schedule. So that they are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You will likely find that your staff is happier, and as a result, more productive, if they are able to detach from work on a regular basis. 

13. Offer a Flexible Work Schedule

Another great way to help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance is to offer flexible work schedules. Flexible working has been a hot topic as of late. Many major companies are discovering the benefits of providing flexible work opportunities. But many companies have also found that flexible work schedules provide employees with a renewed sense of drive and purpose. 

When employees are allowed to decide where and when they work, this gives them the flexibility they need to better manage their personal and professional lives. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for team members with kids, as it removes the stressors that can come with trying to balance their work and home life. With the ability to create a work routine that best suits their needs, employees will be able to better focus when they are on the clock. 

Additionally, when employees are given the opportunity to choose where and when they work, this makes them feel trusted and as though they are an important team member that is valued by the company. This is why major CEOs including Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have begun to implement flexible work policies.


These are just a few of the most common business strategies highly effective CEOs use to motivate their teams. You should consider taking some time to think about what business strategies you can use that will best motivate your team.  And come up with a plan to implement these changes in the coming weeks. You will likely be surprised by the extent to which small changes in your business strategies, such as making sure to show employees your appreciation, can go a long way in motivating your staff.

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