Motivating employees is about ensuring that your employees feel appreciated and supported by the organization. Showing your employees you care is the best way to get them to invest their time and energy into their jobs and make a difference. The most important piece of employee motivation is showing that appreciation and giving rewards in a way that works for the employee you are trying to reach. Quiet, hardworking employees do not want public attention drawn to them, but giving a gift, reward, or praise in a one-on-one atmosphere will show them appreciation and motivate them, rather than make them uncomfortable in front of their peers. To an innovative thinker, knowing a bit more about the "big picture" and how their work affects that makes a big difference. Taking time to provide them some more strategic information, in addition to a reward will go a long way. Analytical employees want to know how their piece fits into the greater puzzle, and want to be compensated based on the size of their piece. Giving them spot rewards, such as a restaurant gift card, for small achievements, and larger bonuses for reaching long-term goals will show this employee organizational appreciation, and motivate them into the future. Tailoring motivation and rewards to how an employee will best recieve the praise is important. If you reward and motivate an employee, but the delivery embarasses them, belittles them, or does not speak to their professional goals or intellecutal style the impact of the reward and motivation could be lost.
For more information on how to motivate effectively check out this Time Magazine article.