How to Keep Your Employees Happy While Pushing Them to Their Limits

happy employee

Sooner or later you’re going to have employees. If you want to create a large company, you’ll have no choice but to hire people to help you out.

Although hiring employees may sound simple, you’ll quickly learn that no one will care for your company as much as you do nor will they work as hard as you will. Every once in a while, you may find some rock star talent to help you out, but those won’t be the majority of the people that will comprise your team.

So, how do you get people to work really hard?

Well, you have to push them to their limits while keeping them motivated, or else they’ll get burned out and quit. Here are 7 tactics I use to push employees to their limits while still keeping them motivated and happy.

Tactic #1: Encourage and discourage at the same time

Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I typically point out in what ways employees can be working more efficiently, highlight what else they can do for the company, and remind them that they need to be creating more aggressive revenue goals.

Over the years, I’ve learned that critiquing people four days a week does help them work harder, but at the same time, it can cause them to quit. So, every Friday, I make sure I compliment them on the job well done and tell them how happy I am to be working with them. I also do the same thing over the weekend through text messages and emails, which makes them feel ecstatic and ready to work hard on Monday.

The reason I choose to compliment on Fridays is because it’s usually a deadline day when everyone is trying to hit all of their weekly goals. So, telling them how well of a job they did shows your employees that you appreciate them and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Tactic #2: Dangle a carrot

The best way I’m able to motivate my employees to work hard, while keeping them happy, is to dangle a carrot in front of them. You will have to figure out what carrot appeals to what employees. If you can’t figure out what appeals to them, you may want to start with dangling money as most people are looking to move up in their careers and make more money.

For example, I know my assistant wants to make more money, so every month that she can help me close two enterprise deals, she gets a decent size bonus. This works well because it not only pushes her to figure out which companies I can sell large contracts to, but it also makes her think about my company’s financial well-being.

I have another employee who loves luxury watches. I’ve offered to buy him a fancy watch if he is able to get my company an extra one hundred qualified leads each day as that will drastically improve the company’s bottom line.

Whatever carrot you decide to dangle, make sure your employee is emotionally attached to it. Playing on logic is great, but dangling carrots that play on emotions are more effective.

Tactic #3: Feed them well

Everyone has to eat! Your employees are not exception, so why not feed them? Google and Facebook are just a few of the companies that feed their employees for free, and it seems to work well. This way, the employees don’t have to leave work to get food, which leads to more productivity.

If you are starting out, you may not be able to provide the level of food services that Google and Facebook provide, but this doesn’t mean you can’t treat your employees to a nice meal once a month. Or you can tie meals to specific company objectives. For example, you can buy lunch on Fridays for employees after you know they have achieved their weekly goals.

When feeding your employees, you don’t have to pick the fanciest restaurants. Just pick a unique place that has a fun vibe. I have found that those types of places are much more appreciated than the stuffy restaurants that you have to dress up to eat at.

Tactic #4: Spontaneity

One of the easiest ways to make your employees more productive is to change the environment they are working in. You can do things like rearranging office furniture, but I prefer changing up the environment by being spontaneous.

For example, I have weekly brainstorming sessions with two of my marketers, and I conduct those meetings in my condo. Last week, we decided to brainstorm while taking a walk on the harbor as the weather was nice. The beautiful thing about this was that my guys were able to come up with some awesome marketing ideas, and they didn’t feel like they were working. Instead, they felt like they were just taking a break from work and relaxing by the water.

The trick with being spontaneous is to do things that your employees wouldn’t expect. Like the example above, it can be very simple and without costing you a dime.

Tactic #5: Give them a voice

Just because someone works for you doesn’t mean they are your “bitch”. They are there to help you grow your business and do what’s best for it. They aren’t there to be your slaves. Everyone has feelings, and people want to be heard. So, when you are in meetings or making decisions about your company, ask your employees what they think.

You don’t always have to take their input, but you’re better off asking them what they think as they could come up with a good solution or a point that you haven’t thought of. Plus, this will also help them think outside the box. One day, they can even start making certain decisions for you so you can focus on the bigger picture.

Tactic #6: Your goal should be to help them accomplish their goals

Before any employee starts working for me, I ask them their five most important personal goals. These goals can’t be tied to work. They have to be purely personal. Once they list the goals, I let them know which ones I can help them accomplish.

In most cases, I can typically solve four out of five goals any new employee shares with me. As people continue to work for me, over the course of each year, I slowly help them mark off each of their goals.

At the end of the year, I go over their personal goals to find out if they were happy with their accomplishments. At the same time, I go over their new goals for the next twelve months and help them accomplish those as well.

The reason you want to help employees in their personal lives is because it will affect their work lives. It doesn’t matter that they should keep the two worlds separate. People simply have a tendency to mix their work lives with their personal lives.

Tactic #7: Don’t stop pushing

Employees have a tendency to correlate bonuses, raises, and promotions with how well they are doing in their jobs and how much they are learning.

So, before my employees have a chance to ask me for a raise or a promotion, I let them know what I expect from them and what it will take for them to receive a promotion.

By doing this, I’m pushing my employees to work harder, and I keep pushing them until they start snapping back at me. Although they sometimes hate me for this, when they look back at what they accomplished and learned, they tend to be happy with their progress.


Using the tactics I mentioned above is a great first step in keeping your employees happy while pushing them to their limits, but it isn’t enough. Over the last ten years as an entrepreneur, I learned one important thing: it’s the small things that really make a big difference.

Get to know your employees, bond with them, and find out what makes them happy in life. If you care for them just like you care for your wife, husband, child, or sibling, you’ll quickly realize that not only will they work really hard for you, but they’ll be happy to do so.

P.S. If you want help growing your business click here.


  1. Very well said!!

  2. John Carson :

    Hey Neil,

    I’m not sure texting and e-mailing employees over the weekend is a good idea — they need their downtime, and not think about work, right?


    • Patrick Thompson :


      I agree, but in all actuality it depends. I will only check my company email if I am in the mood to work, and if its a company phone then its implied that they can contact you 24×7, however if its personal then it has to do with what type of relationship has been established.

      But like you said employees do need time to recharge their batteries, and to much of one thing can become a vice, including work.

      • Who wouldn’t want to be complimented by their boss? Even if it’s over the weekend? “I make sure I compliment them on how well of a job they are doing and how I am happy to be working with them. I also do the same thing over the weekend through text messages and emails”. The odds are any leader of a company taking the time out of their own weekend to show appreciation to their employees will be getting a great return on their time spent doing so.

        • Patrick and Ward,
          Great thoughts, I couldn’t agree more! If an employers goes the extra mile and works on the weekend it encourages employees to work in unison. Promoting the concept of a team can really help drive your business.

        • Nora McDougall-Collins :

          Not only that, but the work week is a lot more flexible now!

      • John Carson :

        Hey Pat,

        That’s why I never use a company phone!


        • Patrick Thompson :


          Yep, I like to be able to shut off my brain if I need to take a break on the weekend, its almost impossible if I am on call.


      • Thank you for this encouragement. I’m trying to work out a Raising the Bar for my employees for my Restaurant Management class. The points you make in your statement is that it holds so true especially when I worked for a company in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga called Zaxby’s. Every point you made was just what happened. I loved working for that company. I miss working for them. Once I am done with my schooling, I hope to go back down there and work in their management program.
        Thanks once again for sharing your points of inspiration.

    • It depends on the relationship you have with your employees. If you have a close relationship with your employees, texting and emailing your employees can expand on this relationship and encourage hard work. I agree though, employees do need their downtime.

    • I also thought the same. But, not everyone sees it that way

    • Even if I hadn’t checked my email over the weekend, I would love to see some encouragement or congratulations from my boss when I logged in Moday morning. There’s no harm with a pat on the back for a job well done any time of the week.

  3. Thanks Neil. Some employees need a bigger carrot than others. Preparation helps you swing a bigger carrot!

    • Definitely. Having everything in place and being organize definitely helps you incentivize more effectively.

  4. Another great post Neil! Even though I don’t have my own company yet (still figuring out what I really want to do and when since I’m still an undergrad), I love reading your posts.
    Also, I was wondering what kind of personal goals do you help them accomplish? I can’t quite imagine what I would need from a boss to succeed in my personal life. Could you just give me a small example if you have the time. Thanks and keep on writing these awesome articles 😀

    • Thanks, glad you found the post useful. Personal goals can range anywhere from financial planning (savings, planning, saving for a child’s education) to helping them achieve their goals on a personal level (improving confidence, reaching benchmarks in life). There are a number of things an employer can do to empower his/her employees.

  5. Wasim Ismail :

    Great Tips for employers. I like the one “Giving them a Voice” as this will make them feel that their opinion counts, and it’s taken into consideration. It works well with me, as it brings out the best of them, as they can see they are having a direct say within the business. Always have an ear for your employees. Make them feel important….at the end o the day, they make you money, if they are happy.

    • Definitely, great points. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Giving your employee a direct say in the business creates a sense of ownership in an ideal.

    • To keep your employees quiet without giving them the opportunity to tell their ideas is just wrong. Employees that have the freedom to speak are much more productive.

      • I agree, employees who feel they can contribute work harder. Also if you allow your employees to share their ideas it is likely that one of those ideas will be beneficial to your business.

  6. Tactic one is the essence. The rest are just recommended. Sometimes it could be a problem if you are too good with your employees. I would add – never befriend them.

    • It depends on what time of business you are running. If you are working on a purely corporate level where there is a large HR department then it may be a bad idea to befriend them. However, if you have the ultimate say in your business then it’s up to you if you want to befriend an employee or not. I agree though, being too good to your employees is not wise.

  7. Thanks for the tips Neal. I will remember them when I have employees.

    Could you give a few examples of Tatic 6? It is a little hard to visualize. If my boss asked me about personal goals, I think I would get defensive. For example, what if the person has a side project, that if went well could make he leave the job? Or if he is having problems at home, with his wife? Could help with that?

    • The personal can range from financial planning (saving money etc.) to planning for retirement. Not sure I would deal with domestic issues, that is highly personal.

  8. Another excellent post Neil. This post just sums of essence of all HR courses. Will learn to implement. Thanks

  9. Shilpi Singha Roy :

    This is a great post and really loved it. I run a small VAs company and I all these days thought that pushing them will give negative results but after reading your post i have to bring in some changes.

  10. Good post. Carrots helps 🙂

  11. Hi Neil,
    Really great post.
    In my experience, keep it professional,chalenge them and be for them is the best recepie to get out of your employees the best.And not to forget : respect and truely listen, mixed with fun- a little 🙂 .
    What and how you give to them,you get it back.
    Thank you

  12. Neil,

    This article was so good I shared it on my company’s intranet in a section I call Eran’s Motivational Documents.


  13. Excellent tips Neil. Very well said, its just not about yourself but also about the people who help you achieve what you achieve.

  14. Sam - Customer Care Contacts :

    Thanks for the tips Neil. I surely will try them and let yaa know how it goes. Tactic #5 I think is something not many does..but could be powerful..

  15. Susan Fignar :

    Hi Neil,
    Thanks for the reminders … these are excellent!
    One suggestion – incorporate “energy management” practices and give employees a break over the weekend to rest, replenish and refuel. Save the texts / emails for early Monday a.m. instead of sending them over the weekend. We are a 24/7 society and people are drained and depleted on some level … everyone deserves “self-care” time.

    • Great points. I think the texts emailing schedule depends on the type of business you are operating. If you are working on a corporate 9-5 level then that is fine. However, if everyone is working and collaborating on a project then those communications avenues must always remain open. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  16. Nora McDougall-Collins :

    Great article. If I were to add anything, it would be, “understand your employee’s job and temperament.” I have worked for two organizations who have expected to hire technical staff and then add sales tasks to their technical task list. That is just setting them up for failure both from a time resource standpoint and from a personality standpoint. All employees should be in “sales” in that they should be enthusiastic about the company and they should treat the client well, but just because you hired someone doesn’t mean that you get to switch them to sales because you said so.

    • I agree, good points. I think empowering them to work on a number of tasks at once can also help them be more ingrained in the product. There is definitely a learning curve, but the goal is to make a business a well oil machine that operates efficiently.

  17. Hi Patel,
    I have already received this article via email newsletter & was attracted by the tittle, then read it. Thanks ^^

  18. Nice writeup!
    Just started of with my startup with few employees in, right timing 🙂

  19. well, that was great share and lots of stuff I’ve learned today though. And, I do “It doesn’t matter that they should keep both worlds separate, people just have a tendency to mix their work life and personal life together. “. So, to deploying it, required very much sensibility to not only help me to achieve my target in professional life but also in personal life. Really so inspiring.

    • Awesome, glad you found the post useful. Let me know how implementing all these strategies works for you!

  20. Wow. Thanks for sharing. Always enjoy your insights

  21. Hi Neil,

    I disagree a little bit with changing the environment.
    Personally, I like doing that but there most people don’t like change. It makes them anxious.


    • Change is inevitable in most cases. However, I agree there can’t be too much change. Thanks for reading, enjoy your input.

  22. stephenvolk :

    the greate sharing tip neil patel. Im very sure to try every single tip on my own business. thanks!

  23. Great article! Now what’s a subtle way to put this in front of my boss? 🙂

  24. Hey Neil – another great post. Thanks.

    Quick question. You always have such great images on each blog post. How do you go about finding them, what is your process?

    • I am in contact with some people who do great infographics. There are many people out there who provide infographic services, seek them out.

  25. Hey Neil
    ive gone through your mail ,yes is really fantastic and remember that to have a gud and success company
    make your Employees happy all de tyms


    Hey Neil,
    i really like your artical. I have a small firm name Gautam Enterprises pepsi co c&f in sahranpur u.p. and around 38 people working under me.After reading your artical i have designed a SALEMAN OF THE WEEK board IN MY OFFICE.From few days i have find out that the overall sale is in growth. Some days before the actual sale was 750 carets per day now its almost 1300 c/s per day. Everyday i receiving so many compliments from the higher staff members of the company from the pepsi co plant. i would like to ask you some new more question regarding the behavior to words my staff.
    thanx very much

  27. Nhick @ Cool New Gadgets :

    Very interesting and challenging too.. I think those tips are really working fine for you and I can see that..

  28. Neil,

    I believe that the following 3 strategies will work out for sure:

    -> Dangle a carrot
    -> Spontaneity
    -> Give them a voice

    However I’m wondering that in Tactic #5 (Give them a voice), one should not consider all employees of the company while making certain decisions. Company should have a meeting with only those employees who have been working with organization since long time and mainly who are reliable with practical thinking.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Definitely great points. It depends on the size and scale of your business. If you are working for a corporate entity then it’s not necessary to have every member of your 1000 person team at a meeting. However, if you are working running a small firm or business then it’s wise to include everyone in the mix.

  29. Lauren Young :

    Love this post! I have incorporated some of these steps into my company already, and I may try a few of your other suggestions…

  30. Hi Neil

    You have brought out a lot of good points in this post. I am nowhere near employing or even in a position to employee someone to work for me. I’m still trying to make my first buck in this world of Internet Marketing.

    However, by experience I have been working for a Telecommunications Company for over 20 years and have had many coaching 1 on 1 sessions with my Managers over the years. I have grown and learnt so much.

    I can vouch for all of the above 7 tactics because they have been a part of my successful life.
    I have had so many meals handed to us (employees) such as pizza meals, lunch meals, breakfast pancakes, Sausage sizzles and many more hungry eating assignments. Sure has given me plenty of energy to concentrate on my goals and focus like a positive dynamo.
    The tactic of ‘dangling a carrot’ has also boosted my morale over the years installing the loyalty factor in my make-up.
    I have won many trips overseas especially to Singapore, and Thailand for being the top salesman in the Company.

    It was an amazing experience to travel by super cruiser from Singapore to Thailand. I cant wait to win my next trip.
    So I would definately dangle a carrot to motivate any individual.
    I can also honestly say that if it weren’t for my goal setting, I would not have won these trips. Goal setting would have to be the drive to accomplish anything worth writing down with realistic attributes.
    An old age: ‘ A goal not written is only a wish’. In other words if we do not write our goals down, we cannot expect to attain anything.
    In conclusion I have also noticed over the years that working as a team to accomplish a worthy goal can be obtained with enthusiasm if everyone is on the same page. Everyone in the team needs to know there roles and the procedures of the Companys rules.

    Once again

    Thanks Neil

    • Richard,
      Great points as always. Incentivizing is very important, I am sure those trips to those exotic locales were really rewarding. Keep up the hard work!

  31. I’m sorry, but this is trite, disingenuous, tripe. “ecstatic”?

    • That’s a nice play on words. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

  32. I agree with tactic #1. Too many times the employee does,t get credit for a job well done but it seems they will always get told if they didn’t do a job well. Great tips.

  33. Most employees are looking for their benefits and they quit or resign if they haven’t get it as well as the company wants on their jobs.. Your advice is perfectly win win situation between employees and the company.

  34. Favourite Hobbies :

    Great Post Neil 🙂

  35. Try not to bribe them with pizza after you scold them.

  36. whoiscaller :

    I’m not sure texting and e-mailing employees over the weekend is a good idea, too.

    • Depending on the size and scale of your business it may be useful. If you are working in a corporate structure then maybe not. But if you are working within a tight nit, cohesive group then it can be extremely smart to keep things rolling on the weekends.

  37. Trace Cohen :

    These are all great tips to create a happy and healthy company – a great work environment resonates well with clients.

    A few people have mentioned that emailing/texting over the weekend is not a good idea and I would say it all depends on the company. At the corporate level that would most likely be a little much but if you’re a start-up or SMB then you are never off the clock.

    • Definitely, great points. Couldn’t have said it any better. It all depends on the size, scale, and type of business you are operating. Thanks for reading!

  38. I don’t think texting over the weekend is a good idea.
    I’d say praise them for the job well done as it happens.

    The only exception to the texting over the weekend I’d say would be if they have to do some extra work or to handle an emergency situation that wasn’t planned during the week.

    • Thanks for the input. A lot of these tips depend on management style and the scale and size of your company. These methods have worked extremely well for me, but there are definitely other ways to manage as well.

  39. Thanks Neil, I am going to keep this post and refer to it often. I even might print it out, even though I am trying super hard to become paperless! (super hard…)
    I work part time from home, and part time at the office. 3 days vs. 3 days. so this will be a good motivator for me to be more involved on my home days, via email and chat, since I struggle with managing my business from home. One day when my kiddos are older I can work all week long…:)

    • Awesome, I am glad you found the post useful. Sounds like you have your hands full right now, good luck with your business 🙂

  40. Christopher Rees :


    great tips for sure. I never really thought about discovering employees’ personal goals and helping them achieve them. I suspect most other employer’s haven’t either (and don’t care), which can help explain high turnover. By investing in your employee’s on a personal level I can definitely see how you create a bond that’s not easily broken. That’s awesome and thanks for the insight (as usual).


    • Chris,
      Great points, thanks for the kind words as well. I completely agree, don’t knock it til’ you try it. Creating personal bonds with your employees and empowering them can go a long way.

  41. College textbooks :

    You certainly make some great points here. I like how you say to treat your employees well and get to know them. By doing this they will be more happy to work for you. This does make a lot of sense, many people can’t leave their home life behind no matter how much they try, so if you are able to connect and help them with their goals, you are helping them to strive and do better within a company. Happy employees are good ones~!

    • Definitely. I like that thought “happy employees are good ones.”

      • College textbooks :

        I have worked with many different types of people but I have found that the ones who are genuinely concerned, get better production. It makes people feel good about their job and that they are not just a number.

  42. Manish Singh :

    For me its different. A boss which considers himself a boss I just hate him. Yeah ur article is indeed great

    Keep it up 🙂

  43. Michael @ Business Consulting Buzz :

    Neil – great post. I like how you’ve gone beyond what most companies do – focus only on monetary benefits as a way of motivating employees. Research has shown that money is just one motivator, and often not the most important, when evaluating employee morale, determination and happiness at work.

    • Michael,
      I completely agree. I find that money pays the bills and allows you to get nice things. However, your mood at work determines your overall level of contentment as you are spending 40 plus hours a week with the same people.

  44. Michael Bethuy :

    This is an excellent article and full of great advice. The largest challenge in my opinion is finding out what makes someone “tic”. One of our people, for example, loves praise, but others don’t. Some love to contribute to strategic decisions, others don’t. Money matters more to some people, stability to others. This is why building a team full of complimentary people is so difficult to do. There is no magic recipe.

    • Great points. You really have to hone in on each individual and find what works best. Finding a motivating factor is hard, but very valuable in the long term.

  45. Ratlam Business Guide :

    Points were great and very well describe. I’ve find so many good points which will help when i’ll start my business. Thank you so much.

  46. Hello Neil, I’m a director at technical institution , I read your article and I agree what you had done and I’m applying now what you have done at your trick number 1, 5 dan 6 . And I told you it’s very effective.

  47. Witty Artist :

    If all the bosses thought as you! 🙂 There will be no more sad and frustrated employees.

  48. Nice ideas to keep employees happy in job

  49. Even through your blogs, people can definitely get a picture of how you are in the “real” world. I can just imagine hearing your voice with how you speak your words. You’re company is blessed to have you and am sure, your colleagues could say the same to have you as their boss. Cheers, Neil. 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words. I am sure your company is blessed to have you as well, as you seem to search for knowledge of matters relating to business and marketing.

  50. Emily Carter :

    Great post, Neil. These are excellent points to highlight the idea that keeping employees engaged and interested in their work is the most important thing. Not only will it retain the employee, but it will positively contribute to productivity.

    We also wrote a blog post about employee engagement, and it can be found here:

    I think that many of the ideas you listed above will cause your employees to “jump out of bed in the morning.” Great points!

  51. I never understood the point behind employer asking -‘top 5 or top 3’ goals during interviews. Thanks for explaining that point.

  52. Hi Neil

    I just wanted to share something with you in relation to this post and the importance of keeping your employees motivated.

    Today has been a great day at the office with the Company I work for. Why? After 20 years with the Company, my employers decided to shout me a luncheon and congratulate me for all the years of hard slogging. I must of made millions for this Company over the 20 year period. As I mentioned in my other posts, I seem to be an automatic Dynamo ticking over second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, hopefully year by year until I see sunshine rays in the horizon.
    I seem to be like an enthusiastic pauper hanging around the feet of Princes,kings & Queens of Internet Marketing Gurus waiting for that moment of enlightenment. “Ar yes! I keeping saying to myself”. I’m going to try that and that.

    My main focus is to build my list. This has to be the only opportunity to see the sun rising in the distance. ” Thank you Clickbank where ever you are”.

    I might have mention this before Neil-Dangling that carrot has kept me going. My team mates had the cheek to show a younger photo of myself from 10 years ago.Today was surely one of those carrots. I sure had a good meal. This all happened this afternoon. Then it was back to the grinder.

    I’m going to be hanging around here Sir for a long while Neil, if that is alright with you. I need that link juice. One day I might have the privilege of being a IM king like yourself Neil. But then again I better not get ahead of myself and start thinking like a proud person. Humility is where I would rather be.

    One day if we ever cross each others path I would be honored to shout you a burger from Burger King or any food of your choosing.
    I have been to so many one on one sessions with my managers over the years – implementing, analyzing and improving my performance. Its been great learning so much knowledge stored away in my memory banks. Just oozing out waiting to take on that next challenge.
    Well Neil. The time here is 8.12pm. I’m going to bed soon and will be up again at to start this all over.

    Have a great day


  53. One important point to add about “feeding them well” – the feeding acts as social bonding for the team – it’s a bit like a team building exercise where all you have to do to win – is eat!

  54. Marine Chandlery :

    I find the best way to get the most out of my staff is to make them feel like they own a task. Then it’s my job to offer support, advice, and encouragement. When you offer most people a bit of responsibility, and trust them, they’ll usually rise to the challenge, and sometimes raise the bar one you!

    • Good points. I think creating that relationship and empowering your employees is essential to seeing them, and your company, grow.

    • I think creating that relationship and empowering your employees is essential to seeing them, and your company, grow.

  55. Marc Bitanga :

    Goal alignment is a great way to motivate employees. Sometimes not easy to do in certain situations. But when it lines up, it’s a no brainer.

  56. Harsh Patel :

    Awesome post. I’m going to modify this for a classroom setting. I teach 5th grade in South Chicago and as I read the post, I kept thinking: this sounds just like my students! I reward them, set personal and academic goals, etc. Except instead of money, our currency is stickers.

    I appreciate the constant free advice.

    • Nora McDougall-Collins :

      Bravo! My Mom was a teacher in the Cabrini Green area for some years. She did everything she could to bring the outside world to the kids, including getting pieces of fur from a furrier for children whose only experience with animals was rats and pit bulls; so, the children had never touched fur that didn’t bite.

    • That’s awesome. I used to look forward to getting stickers in grade school. It really incentivizes the whole approach to learning, which is okay 🙂

  57. Neil,

    Great info. I’m a bit more laid back in my management style. Whats a good place to start pushing a little harder?

    • Goal attainment and motivation. Helping your employees reach goals they, or you, set for them is extremely important.

  58. Nice points Neil, you are well in the Field of managing an Employee, well said in 7th point “Don’t stop pushing”, yes i agree we don’t make our employee pressure. we should motivate our employee. I learn a good kind lesson here..Thank you

    • Thanks, glad you found the post useful. I definitely agree you should always keep pushing and steering your employees in a positive direction.

  59. If every company owner would think like you Neil there would be no people to hire because they would not leave their job 🙂 I love the way you see things and it is too bad that only a very very small percentage of employers think this way. I’ve seen employers who talk to their employees like they are slaves and this is outrageous but these days people would do anything to keep their job so they just listen and move on.

    • Definitely. I think empowering your employees is the best way to cultivate growth and a team atmosphere.

      • If you don’t communicate with your employees and if you are not treating them right they won’t be 100% productive and will eventually leave which means that you will have to do it again with a new employee and so on. All of this is a waste of time and it will hurt your business.

  60. it’s a really awesome post i’m totally agree with your points you have given me a great information i’ll kept them in my mind forever.

    • Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. Glad you found the blog insightful and useful for yourself. 🙂

  61. Free food is the #1 incentive I believe. I get free breakfast every morning & Snacks. This is a huge win! Something for free is what really makes people happy. Waking up in the morning knowing I do not have to make breakfast or clean up are cooking just makes life easier!

    • Yes, I agree. Food is something we all need so why not use it as an incentive! That’s awesome that you get free breakfast and snacks every morning, your boss must appreciate your service.

  62. The strategies work really well when you have a small team. But, if you have a 100+ employee company, it’s not very practical to connect personally with each employee.

    But, agreed, you don’t start off with a 100 employee company. So as you go along, you have the chance to “dangle the carrot”.

    Motivating employees is a big job. Especially, motivating people who are motivated by money. No matter how much they are paid, they always want more. Not everyone might be like this, but most people I saw are like this

    • That’s definitely true. While it isn’t the case for everyone, some people are greedy and cannot work within the framework of incentives..they always want more.

  63. Kevin Kimes :

    I’ve never been “the boss”. But, I probably will end up having to hire some help within a year or so.

    As one who’s always been the employee, I must say that number 7 sounds quite bad. If I were being pushed so hard that I actually would “snap” at my boss, I would probably already be losing sleep, have dangerously elevated blood pressure, and be suffering problems in my personal life from the stress.

    Of course, I have never worked for a boss who actually demonstrated a caring attitude about my personal well being and progress, either. (That is probably why I choose to no longer have a boss.) So, perhaps, the snapping would come at an earlier and less detrimental point if working for a person like you than it would have for my former employers.

    • Great points. If your boss is pushing you as hard as they should be it must be during the early stages of employment….anything after, is just perceived as confrontational (which would increase blood pressure) .

  64. Yogesh Patel :

    That was a complete guide. The point of providing food like Google and Facebook for free really makes many people to stay longer, work better and provide good output results.

    I Have been a part of Google GIS team, Hyderabad and I loved their environment.

    • Definitely, that’s great that you work for the team there. They have a great structure when it comes to employees perks and benefits.

  65. Good point. The picture is very well chosen. They certainly look like they like their job. Are those your employees Neil? 🙂

  66. Kristian Pettyjohn :

    Some great advise. In business school my professors would always quote Peter Drucker in that “the business of business is business”, however, one day as I was walking through campus contemplating this phrase I really determined that while this has some legitimacy, truly, the business of business is people.

    Great post Neil, it is solid advise. Cheers.

  67. Kristian Pettyjohn :

    Also, just a random thought, what is your opinion if an employee has a personal passion to run their own business in the same field as your company, let’s say website design or whatever. Do you help them / approve of this (though I know you can’t fully stop them anyways) knowing they will be competition?

    It is my experience that employees in the long run are committed to their careers and not their employer, so in some way, I would see them branching out a positive thing, as they will be learning more and helping me longer if I help them accomplish their dreams. What is your take on this scenario?

    • This scenario happens more often than one would believe. You cannot get upset about this; however, you can be upset if they steal the ideas of your company and were actively working to do so. Ultimately, however, I try to judge character before I hire. It’s vital!

      • Kristian Pettyjohn :

        Fair enough, I would be curious to hear a few tips on judging character for hiring, from your point of view.

        I’ve been chewing on why we hire who we hire lately. In particular, I always notice a clear difference in service at a well managed local bank here in Anchorage where I live, versus Wells Fargo. Obviously they offer the same services, and the employees live in the same areas, but the warmth of the employees and the consistency and quality of service are always far superior at the local bank. Regardless of the local vs. national difference, the local bank clearly knows how to hire a certain type of personality and service orientated worker. What are your top 5 items, characteristics or be it personal qualities you personally look for in employees Neil?

        • I really don’t have a list of items that I can share. However, I completely understand your observation. I think the small time bank has a better ear to the community, whereas, Wells Fargo is a corporate entity. Corporate entities tend to streamline the hiring process with gimmicks, HR departments, and personality tests (all of which are not good indicators of character) If you know your community you can judge character much better.

  68. Michelle Mendoza :

    Great advice! Your employees are the reason why your company will either succeed or fail so like you said it is important to keep them happy. I had a friend work at Google and he thought it was just the bees knees.

    • Yes, it is essential to have employees who are dedicated to you and your product!

    • Employees are the ones that really bring profit to your company. If you hire low quality employers for a lower fee your income will also be less but if you hire high quality employees for a higher your income will also increase and the image of your company will also be much better.

      • Michelle Mendoza :

        This is true. I am currently reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and thsi book states that it success is all about getting the right people on the bus first. Then you think of a plan to help your company.

  69. Hey Neil, your each and every article is awesome, i can’t myself from commenting.

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    Feed them well. That is a good point. All the companies should follow the example of Google and Facebook and offer free food. That is one of the reasons why these two companies always tops the list of “best places to work”.

  71. This post provides some excellent advice, Neil. I would have to agree that showing your employees appreciation with company lunches, bonuses, and compliments is a nice moral-booster. We also have a meeting each quarter in which we discuss our new goals and coordinate a company outing that everyone agrees on. The company outings range from after-work “bar crawls” to Whirleyball and Laster tag to seeing a movie collectively. It gives everyone an opportunity to grow closer which fosters a familial company environment.

  72. Hi Neil

    You have shared a very good idea for pushing the employees, but i think some of the ideas will won’t work such as changing the environment…

    • It’s not a black and white model for management, however, it does work on a small scale if implemented correctly.

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  74. Microsoft Contact Management Software :

    This one’s great Neil. Actually, managing your employees is much more like managing your leads. If you don’t know how to handle them properly, then they would leave you behind. Great post by the way.

  75. Zohan @ ScreamingTips :

    Great tis, Encouraging them will make them more interested to the work and surely will love the work they are doing. Who does’nt like an encouragement 😀

    • Great points, encouragement is definitely great. It tends to motivate an employee in a way money cannot.

  76. What ever you will trying to stat , but one thing i got from my 3 different office that always give employees full opportunity to give ideas and the CEO of the company should be frank to the employees

  77. Hello
    It is very tough for me to manage employees but now i would try this ideas for smooth co-ordination with them. Let see how these ideas will work for me.

  78. Jimmy@Garden sheds :

    That’s quite a very good technique there. Our employees are indeed the most important personality in our business. They’re the ones working for you. So, you really have to encourage them to do well.

  79. “Get to know your employees, bond with them, and find out what makes them happy in life. ”

    While I agree with you, how does one make that happen? Any suggested opening gambits? I have found this the hardest, especially with employees who simply don’t really think they should share such information with their ‘boss’.

    • It’s really hard. You have to gain trust, once you do that then a relationship can flourish. Take them out to lunch sometime.

  80. Yasir Yar Khan - QSL :

    I have a long way to go before I’ll be worrying about managing employees, but you can only work towards something if you know what you want the end result to be. It’s good that I’m getting a heads up about a lot of the intricacies through you that I will hopefully face someday soon. Thanks in advance I guess 😛

  81. I definitely wouldn’t want to work for you. And I sure most of the developer-types don’t like to under this kind of management style.

  82. The Marital Therapy Center, PC :

    Totally agree. The strategy will really work if its thought for a small company.

  83. Hi neil, another good read article from you, I’m getting fond of viewing your site daily, just cant get enough. My favorite here is “feed them well”, I recalled how my boss treats us for lunch or snacks, it doesn’t have to be expensive or fine dining, but that simple deed allows us to bond and get to know more of each other, having fun at work is a very important element in one’s career. My second favorite is “give them a voice”, employees around the globe doesn’t want a bossy type of superior and everyone of us is entitled for our very own freedom of speech so we have to exercise our rights. As long as we know we are not doing anything wrong, let’s fight and stand for our opinions. As a matter of fact, we can contribute more and achieve better results if we brainstorm and combine our creative inputs.

    • Thanks Marie, I appreciate the support. Those two are definitely big ones. When you share and communicate with employees you achieve ultimate results.

  84. Wow. I wish my boss would do that for us. But good tips for those who have their own business. If ever I would start my business I’ll take note of these things. It looks like you treat your employees very well. And it seems very effective. I once worked in a company who pushes us to hard but does not gives us any bonus, and pays us little too. That’s why I quit the job, because I felt another company deserves my hard work :D. thanks for the very great post.


  85. Sara@WebLoverz :

    Thanks Neil for sharing that…Usually its difficult to make them happy at that time…

  86. Buy Waist Beads :

    You have some practical ideas here. I like the idea of compliments on Friday as long as good achievements are acknowledged other times as well. I know some might scoff at ideas like “feed them” , but that really does tweak a lot of people’s buttons.

  87. One Stop One Shop :

    If my boss took a page from this post he would get his whole staff to push harder. But you know what? he is complete opposite.

  88. Dear Neil,

    This is a really great, there is something which i feel that you can add, remembering your staff birthday and sending card with your own hand written.

  89. Hey Neil, thanks for sharing a good 7 tactics. Employees plays a very important role in the growth of the company. So to treat them nicely is very essential, so that they can give a better productivity for the company.

  90. military Flights :

    I have a long way to go before I’ll be worrying about managing employees, but you can only work towards something if you know what you want the end result to be. It’s good that I’m getting a heads up about a lot of the intricacies through you that I will hopefully face someday soon.

  91. Tactics 4 catches my fancy a lot and I’ll quickly be implementing it. Thanks Neil. Since i got across your blog a week ago I have totally fallen in love with it. It’s what I just need at this moment of trying to build my first company

  92. Bryan McKenzie :

    It’s tough to manage employees, because the word employee could refer to anyone on Earth. I think the key to succesful management is being able to read the group you are working with and apply the right managerial skills to that particular group.

    • Good point, it is definitely beneficial to be able to know the type of people you are working with. That way you can better understand how to manage them. Thanks for your input.

  93. online examination system :

    The employee should get participated in both gain and loss of the company,at the same time the employer should analyze why the work is not going on and take steps immediately to solve it, Am i right Neil?

  94. Dear Neil
    I found your advice rather motivating. I work for a corporate company and while leaders pay to develop these tactics you mention, to junior leaders, they do not in essence practice what they preach. They listen with deaf ears and this is frustrating. They call meetings for brainstorming but will ultimately stick to their ideas. Sad. Wish there was a way to make them realize the effect they have on us without having the company suffer the consequences. I love the company, but not …

    • Thank you Ragni,

      I am sorry to hear about your difficulties at work. Some people can’t handle the truth and rather be right then fix what is wrong. Hopefully soon, they will see how their lack of corporation is bad for the company and change.

      Best of luck.

  95. website company :

    I try to provide good food to my employees for free on specific days to keep them motivated. I also give them extra bonus for good work keeps their spirits high. I am eager to implement tactic no 2 and see how it works.

  96. Nice writeup. I have a question – my employees’ work is very monotonous. They work in a warehouse, packing boxes, sorting inventory and it is all pretty much the same work earning $10/hr. The thing is they are already very motivated without me having to do too much. They have great attitude and we are lucky to have them but it took 2 years and a lot of hiring and firing to finally find such willing employees. I am so scared we will lose them. We recognize them for their hard work by praising them and have given them 2 raises since they joined at $8/hour. Is there anything else we should be doing when an employee’s work is not very exciting or if it is often not deadline oriented. Thanks

    • I would say just keep some of these tips you read above in mind as well as keep an enjoyable work environment. Listen to what they need or want. By doing that it shows you care and will keep them happy.

  97. How to make people to perform an activity which is repetative in nature yet it a core activity to know their own productivity. Its been over years still I dont see they doing it ontime. Can you suggest some good idea to bring the rigor. Need help.

    • Try some of the tips suggested above and see how they work for you.

      • Don’t do it Sudeep. The above is HORRIBLE advice! Employees are not dumb, they can see right through this stuff. Treat your employees respectfully, do their job with them from time to time, and reward hard work equally, let no good deed go unrewarded. There is also room for discipline when it is warranted, but always dole it out professionally and respectfully.

  98. You discourage your employees Mon-Thur, purposely hold off Friday. You ‘dangle carrots’ to keep them.

    You’re nothing but a son of a bitch and I hope all of your employees with sense enough to quit, eventually do so.

  99. Great post. #4 is great advice and something that would break things up and possible inspire even more creative thinking.

  100. Mirko Ceselkoski at :

    Excellent advice, just what I needed this week. I’ve hired 2 new people and trying to get them to work more efficient and keep the great mood!

  101. Online Mastering :

    i prefer the old slave-driver technique lol

  102. hey neil,
    “Tactic #1: Encourage and discourage at the same time”, totally agree with it. other tactics are also fabulous. this article was good to read.


  103. Very interesting and challenging too.. I think those tips are really working fine for you and I can see that.Thanks!,,

  104. ‘how to better whip your slaves and make them still like it at the same time’

  105. Asking questions are in fact pleasant thing if you are not understanding anything
    fully, but this post offers good understanding yet.

  106. I am in manufacturing. One of the best ways I have found to motivate employees is to learn their job and perform it with them. It could be 15min to an hour, but you are getting your hands dirty with the guys that make things happen. Not only do you motivate them, but you gain their respect and broaden your own understanding of what the employees deal with every day. It can be fun for everyone involved as well.

    • Biff, getting your hands dirty and working with the team definitely builds respect and is great for team building. You also bring up a great point about empathy. It allows you to understand what they go through each and every day. Keep up the great work!

  107. Hi Neil,
    Some of the points you raised are good, but I think you should think about the first 4 points you raised.
    Encourage 1 day and discourage 4 days, this should be done in the right way but not for the way your doing it.
    Dangling carrots, if your team are happy they will want to improve their work without doing it for a reward, or they will only do a good job thinking your going to give them something.
    Feed them well, yes it’s good to celebrate success or have events to get everyone together, but not to feed them everyday or you will find workload will drop eventually due to eaten to much, relaxed to much, spend too much time in rest room, etc., etc. Spontaneity, a lot of team members I work with are not that keen on movement of furniture, some team members are comfortable in their surroundings and don’t like new environment. yes you can move with the times and try different things, I think you need to be careful when it comes to movement of fixtures and fittings. Maybe talk to team first to see what they want and if possible, comply with.

    • Mick, you bring up some great points. I think you should really cater to your employees to an extent. The tactics you mentioned like switching up the environment, and such can really do a lot to improve the work environment. I have found that dangling carrots will always work. People like to be incentivized…if you fail to provide room for improvement and opportunity people can easily get bored. Thanks for reading and great feedback!

  108. Typical Americanism, treating employees like brainless animals. Actually, wait, this may work for a matrix manager in a relatively big corporation, but will fail miserably in a technological start-up. I’ve seen enough examples when so called managers ruined healthy working atmosphere by enforcing all sorts of motivation schemes that turned the authentic business-like working to the sort of kindergarten (with pigs and chickens :-)). Needless to say, all that was in clear conflict with the interests of the stakeholders. But, wait, who said that their interests must match? LOL

    • If it doesn’t match people typically don’t stay long. You want a healthy relationship as it is expensive from both a time and money perspective to keep finding new people. That’s why people hire others who fit within their corporate culture.

  109. So working people are slaves? How sad that u think this way.

    • Pat, I don’t feel that way at all. Perhaps you misinterpreted the post. I think hard work pays off but there is definitely a mutual respect that employers and employees should have for each other.

  110. I’m surprised a lot of people agree with your tactics, not sure if they are just not self aware or clueless. How do your employees respond when they realize that dangling a carrot (illusion) is just a lie and your top talent leaves you? Peter principle and old school management will not work in this era.. I have seen this type of management and when the economy picked up a lot of great workers left this company.. These are not sustainable tactics.. And should be viewed with a grain of salt.. The best way to motivate people is to profit share..

  111. It’s all illusion, and once you truly realise that then you will no longer see any rational reason to get some to work for you. Money is created and given to someone who works for someone else, but what use is that money really? Depending on the society in which you live, sure it has uses, but only because those who ended up at the ‘top’ got greedy with their newfound control.
    Neil Patel and many others like you, I hope for your own personal benefit that you’ll one day feel disgust in yourself, and consequently learn that to feel disgust in oneself can liberate you from the imagination of your self.

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    Again, thank you.

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  115. Hi Neil,
    What would you recommend for the flip side; when your boss is also the owner, and the carrot is always dangling and never given when goals are met? When the boss does not take “I am at my limit, things are now falling behind because of it” into consideration and still gives more tasks (then faults you and claims they were not aware, despite the issue being raised at several meetings).
    Thank you for your time.

    • That doesn’t sound like its a healthy employee/employer relationship. It sounds like there needs to be a lot more communication between you guys.

      • Are you able to recommend anything to open up better communication? The rest of the staff and I do not want to explode at our boss, as that obviously doesn’t help anything either, but we are at our wits end trying to figure out how to say “please listen to us” and be heard.
        So far we have tried meetings, one-one discussions, and private email correspondence to raise concerns. We have also made a point of tracking all of our completed tasks and received instructions via email to each other so that we have multiple backup when the proverbial comes back around to us.
        In any case, I’ll continue to catch up on your blogs, as you provide some great insight and advice in here that we’ve already implemented to make inter-staff relations happier, thank you!

        • Read this book. The author talks about the phases your boss is going through.
          Understanding what’s going on his mind will help you figure out a way to have an effective conversation with him.

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