By Danny Clenaghan, Managing Director at Argos for Business

British workers highlighted the importance of a simple thank you in the workplace, revealing that ‘feeling valued’ by their boss is the top motivational factor in helping them achieve more during their nine to five. Taking on responsibility (26 per cent) and making a difference (28 per cent) were also identified as top motivators in the workplace.

Argos for Business commissioned the research, which delved into the UK’s motivation levels. It discovered that 40 per cent of employees stay in their current job because of good relationships with their colleagues. By comparison fewer than 24 per cent highlighted pay as a factor keeping them in their current role, and only three and a half per cent placed importance on an annual bonus.

When asked when people feel most enthusiastic about work, nearly a third (28 per cent) of employees advised that they feel at their most motivated at 10am (on a typical day shift), and the majority of the UK’s workforce feel at their best on a Wednesday.

Following this research, and to inspire passion and appreciation across the country’s workforce, Argos for Business launched the UK’s first ever Employee Motivation Day on Wednesday 21st January 2015, encouraging bosses to instil best practice for the year by recognising and motivating employees.

The campaign was held in January as it is predicted that one in three employees weigh up their career options at the beginning of a New Year, and the cost to individual businesses can be significant.

Accounting for all elements of the recruitment process, including advertising costs and recruiter fees, through to loss of productivity and training for new recruits, each employee lost could cost up to £30,614 to replace. Businesses choosing not to implement a year-round motivational strategy should consider this substantial sum and whether they can afford to lose some of their most valued assets - experienced employees.

As the research shows, motivational strategies need not cost the Earth, or indeed anything at all. Offering a genuine thank you, a duvet day or allowing your team to leave 30 minutes early on a Friday, can go a long way in ensuring bosses hold onto valuable team members. Rewards and recognising good work both form the basis of a long-term motivational strategy, encouraging employee enthusiasm, and can impact positively on staff wellbeing and improving staff retention.

Thanking employees for a job well done is always welcome and more personal touches can go a long way too. Acknowledging those who go the extra mile by instigating regular reward systems, such as ‘employee of the month’, is simple but hugely effective.

To help drive motivation, we dedicated a whole day to giving and receiving recognition and motivational compliments. It was fantastic to see employees, managers and business owners getting involved with our Employee Motivation Day campaign.

Motivated employees should be at the heart of every business, as a continuously engaged and driven workforce is more efficient, which in turn impacts positively on a business’ bottom line. Retaining key members of staff is important to maintaining a business’s performance, as long-serving team members are more experienced, with a solid understanding of business operations.

We worked with motivational speaker Adrian Webster and he has compiled tips for employers looking to keep staff motivated:

1) Ensure employees feel valued

Argos for Businesses’ research revealed that feeling valued is the most important aspect of a job for 43 per cent of workers. Thanking employees for a job well done is always welcome, but in a smaller team, more personal touches can go a long way. Acknowledging those who go the extra mile by implementing regular reward systems, such as ‘employee of the month’ is simple, but hugely effective.

2) Focus on solutions, not problems

If a problem arises, focusing on the solutions available can prove highly productive, rather than dwelling on whatever it is that went wrong. Evaluate any issues and put a clear strategy in place to prevent a recurrence. This gives staff the confidence they need to tackle the issue assertively.

3) Be honest and open

In a small team, being honest about any upcoming business challenges or decisions creates a real sense of inclusion, while valuing the opinion of the whole team builds trust. HR consultant Thomas Giles calls this ‘sharing the dream’, and he rightly points out that staff members are bound to put in more effort and feel more job satisfaction when they can share in the company’s success.

4) Be actively involved

Staff members appreciate a ‘visible boss’, who has a daily presence in working life. Being approachable and available to discuss any issues that may arise will give staff a real sense of belonging to a team.

5) Lead by example

Staff, particularly junior members, will be looking to learn from the way those in managerial roles conduct themselves in the workplace. This provides an opportunity to teach subtle lessons by ensuring best practice is visible in the office on a day-to-day basis.

6) Start the week with a team meeting

Holding a team meeting at the start of each week is a great way to organise priorities and delegate tasks, and also gives staff members the opportunity to raise any concerns they may have. The team will leave feeling organised and prepared for the week ahead.

7) Get social

Encouraging everyone to get social outside of working hours is a perfect way to help the team bond in an alternative setting. Without the distraction of office life, staff members can get to know each other on a personal level, which in turn creates a positive dynamic within the team.

8) Create a workspace with a great atmosphere

If the work setting is a pleasant one, staff members will look forward to coming into work. Simple touches like comfortable desk chairs and a brightly decorated office can make all the difference.