9 tips to motivate deskless employees

Motivating employees. Surely this is not the first time you hear that it’s pretty much synonymous with increasing engagement and satisfaction, improving work performance, and reducing employee turnover. Motivated employees are more engaged and productive, call sick less often, and are a positive calling card to the outside world. But what exactly shall you do to boost the motivation of your deskless employees? How do you motivate someone, and what can you do better? In this article, we give you 9 useful tips for intrinsically motivating your employees and how you can measure the motivation of your staff.

Tim Schreuders

9 tips to motivate deskless employees

Table of contents

Tip 1: Share strategic plans and goals with your people

Communicate business goals clearly to the entire team and explain why you are pursuing these goals. In this way, your plans also become their plans, and goals feel like shared goals. Moreover, people know what is expected of them and why.

Tip 2: Ask your employees regularly for their advice or opinion

Two-way communication is vital. Research has shown that getting employees to think along has a binding effect. According to Gallup, motivating employees to think along and give them a voice is one of the most essential pillars for employee engagement.

Ask your team for their opinion and send out employee surveys throughout their journey in your company. Better yet: meet your employees for a more personal face-to-face every now and then.

Employee Surveys via Oneteam

Tip 3: Show your appreciation

Many studies have shown that you can’t buy intrinsic motivation in any case. Meaning that you need to come up with something better than a pay rise to boost employee motivation from within.

Your deskless employees mean a lot to your organization. They deserve recognition and appreciation. You can’t thank them enough for what they contribute.

Send a personal message or recognize them publicly after a good promotion. Thank your team via the social intranet, send flowers or a card, and don’t forget birthdays and holidays. Even the good old employee-of-the-month promotion is still doing well in many companies.

Tip 4: Team building

Organizing team outings or group activities promotes team spirit, strengthens mutual trust, and helps to attract and retain talent. There is plenty to do, both offline and online. Go out with everyone – from stock filler and cleaning lady to manager and management – for a night out. Or invite the whole team to a barbecue at your home. Online pub quizzes, virtual movie nights, and online escape rooms have become the most popular in recent years.

Tip 5: Pay attention to someone’s private life

A healthy work-life balance is something that you as an employer are partly responsible for. Don’t expect people to respond directly to messages in the evening, show understanding if someone wants to go home early because a child needs to be picked up, and ask about someone’s driving test/weekend/school test. Being human always works in your favor.


Tip 6: Give space and trust

The more freedom an employee is given to perform his tasks, the more initiatives he will take and the more often he will develop solutions. So trust your employees and give them responsibilities. It will increase their sense of independence and make them more involved.

Tip 7: Give employees influence on rosters

Number seven is in line with the last two tips but still deserves a separate place in this list. Has the cook already worked four Saturdays straight, and does he want to go away for a weekend with his family? It should be possible with a timely leave request.

Would a cashier prefer to work six-hour days so that he can pick up the children from school, or would a catering employee want to swap shifts? Try your best to meet their requests, and you will see: they’ll go the extra mile.

Tip 8: Provide education and training

70% of employees at high risk of turnover believe they should leave their organization to advance their careers. Being aware of your employees’ development wishes and growth ambitions can help you retain them before it’s too late.

You can offer courses and (online) training courses or encourage the sharing of knowledge between employees and branches, just to name a few. For example, try offering your employees microlearning packages to improve their skills in an interactive and fun way.

eLearning via Oneteam

Tip 9: Celebrate successes together

Do you consciously reflect on an important milestone or team result achieved? Good idea! And it’s easy to prove. For example, it can be enough to offer pastry in the cafeteria if the branch turnover skyrocketed that week. By celebrating successes, the general atmosphere in the workplace becomes lighter and more joyful, increasing the energy level and motivation.

How do you find out if employees are motivated?

One of the best ways to find out if your deskless workers are motivated is to have a conversation. Ask, listen and try to improve things where possible.

Another idea is to conduct an employee satisfaction survey. In this way, you collect feedback and determine the actual motivation level. To make this easy, you can make use of an employee survey app. It gives you quick and easy insights to immediately start increasing the motivation of your employees.

What discourages an employee?

Next to the do’s for increasing motivation, there are also some don’ts to mention. What discourages and demotivates employees that managers or employers should avoid doing?

  • Sanctions or penalties. It is more effective to reward desired behavior and to encourage an employee from time to time.
  • Take over tasks and responsibilities. The trick as a manager is not to be too controlling and impatient. Of course, you can do it faster yourself. But don’t you want the employee to learn it? Then give them some time.
  • Dictatorship. Handing strict orders cuts off creativity and doesn’t encourage employees’ thinking and problem-solving capacity.
  • Being ignored or not taken seriously. Does anyone have an initiative or feedback? Listen! In this way, you not only stimulate the creative capacity and motivation of the employees, but you also benefit from the results. – no one knows better your customers than your deskless employees!

Keep employees engaged with an employee app

We already mentioned it in tip 1: important information should be shared. It is crucial to ensure that you reach everyone, and this also includes the employees on the floor who work without a computer. Using a jungle of channels – one time email or WhatsApp and the next intranet, Facebook, or a newsletter – isn’t the best idea either.

Choose one suitable employee platform for streamlining all your internal communication, so that all your employees know where they can find information. Watch the explainer video below, and learn how Oneteam’s employee app can help you boost your employee engagement. Interested in learning more? Request a guided product demo and experience the benefits yourself.

Tim Schreuders

Tim Schreuders

Tim Schreuders is the Customer Success Manager at Oneteam. In his role, he is responsible for helping customers get the most out of Oneteam. He turns the valuable user insights into practical tips for the Oneteam blog. Fun fact about Tim: He’s a Oneteam user encyclopedia. Ask him anything and he won’t stop talking.

Stay ahead

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on blog posts around the topic of employee experience.