Finding quality facility management and property management workers can be a real challenge, and keeping them motivated can be even more difficult. While the work itself is crucial, it isn’t glamorous and workers may feel underappreciated.

We asked 25 FM and PM professionals for tips on how to motivate staff and have compiled their tips and ideas below, separated into five main sections.

(It’s interesting to note that nearly all these motivation ideas play into Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, either applying to the basic needs like safety and physiological needs, or psychological needs like esteem and belonging.)

Monetary motivation

Of course, your staff isn’t working just to have something to do. To them, it’s a healthy income and a way to provide for their family.

  • Good pay – A healthy pay rate is a great starting point to keep staff motivated
  • Providing incentives and bonuses – So many respondents said that they use bonuses to motivate their staff, in one way or another.
  • A weekly bonus for a job well done – Reward exemplary workers when they have a great week.
  • Profit sharing – If your company is set up in a way that you can allocate surplus profit to employees, this will give them a sense of ownership and pride in the company that leads to superior work.
  • Routine raises – The raises don’t have to be huge, but giving annual raises to your best staff members will increase motivation and lower retention.
  • Gift cards as rewards – Instead of just increased pay, gift cards as rewards for something specific like groceries, gas, or restaurants can be a great motivator, especially when the worker’s family can enjoy the bonus too.
  • Employee of the month bonus – Highlighting an employee of the month can provide a boost in pride, as well as financially.
  • Team bonuses – Make team members’ bonuses dependent on everyone doing a good job, so that they don’t want to let the other team members down, and can work together to try to win the bonus.


Goals as motivation

Clear and defined goals help people know what they are working towards.

  • Monthly goal setting – Let your staff know up front what is expected of them for the month, including small tasks as well as larger tasks.
  • Turn daily and weekly goals into a game – The winner could be the one who first gets all of their respective projects and service requests completed.
  • Keep the goals clear and obvious – Whether they are working towards a bonus or other prize, or just in normal operations, remind them that we are all in this together and working towards a common goal.


Rewards as motivation

Not all rewards have a dollar sign.

  • Paid time off – Knowing that a break or vacation is coming up can be a great motivator to keep going, especially when the time off is paid.
  • Free vacations – Try offering a trip to anywhere in the US for top staff members with great records for the year, whether they hit all weekly / monthly goals, had perfect attendance, or the most positive feedback from tenants.
  • Free food! – People do love to eat, and by providing a free lunch monthly or weekly that can be enjoyed communally, you can boost the staff while encouraging team building. And if your facility allows, providing beer at the end of the week can be really enjoying way to help your staff relax and decompress before they head home.


Mental and emotional

            Knowing how to motivate staff on an emotional level is important.

  • Impart a sense of pride in the property – Finding a way to make them feel proud of the properties / facilities they help maintain allows them to feel more motivation to keep them in great shape.
  • Praise – People do need an “attaboy” every now and then, so let your workers know when they’ve done a job well, and make sure they know you’ve noticed any extra effort they put forth.
  • Never talk down to anyone – Being overly negative with your workers is a fast way to burn bridges and put their motivation in the toilet.
  • Respect – Showing respect to your workers, and making sure they show respect to each other, helps keep the work environment positive.
  • Give certificates to formally recognize great performance – A certificate they can hang on the wall, or show to family when they go home, can make a difference.
  • Contests or games, to motivate your naturally competitive staff – Workers may love trying to outdo each other. Try “gamifying” tasks to be completed. For example, have a manager take their team, and whoever performs best gets a $50 gas card or something similar, plus recognition amongst other workers that they won whatever game or contest was held.
  • Providing encouragement – Managers and supervisors encouraging staff to stay positive and work well together seems obvious, but it can fall to the wayside sometimes in a hectic environment.
  • One on one meetings – one on one evaluation meetings that focus on the good aspects of any given employee’s work. Focusing on the positive can reinforce quality work and lift spirits, and let employees know that you are aware of what they are doing that is right, and not just what needs to be improved.
  • Build a relationship with your workers – They have to trust you and know that you will work just as hard as them, and help them with whatever problems come up. If employees see you putting in a lot of effort, they will too. If they see that the boss doesn’t care, why should they?
  • Awareness of their work’s impact – Show them how their work actually helps the building operations and the tenants. Introduce them to the tenants so they can put a name and face with the people who are impacted by their work.
  • Special events – Having monthly parties and cookouts for employees and families can improve relationships between co-workers, as well as between management and workers. It gives everyone a chance to get to know each other beyond work hours too.
  • Be innovative with your management – Showing employees that you’re willing to try new management styles helps them believe you’re open minded and willing to evolve over time.
  • Care about your employees, not just the business – While the bottom line is extremely important, it’s not everything, and workers should know that you care about their experience, and not just their work output.
  • Team building – Make them feel like they are part of the team and a representative of the team


Autonomy and power

            Freedom and flexibility within their work can be a huge motivator to empower employees.

  • Giving them a say in how things get done – The FM / PM employees who are in the weeds every day getting the job done will see new ways of completing tasks more efficiently. Let them bring these new ideas forward, and give their input in how management tasks get completed. Everyone likes for their voice to be heard, and you’ll be amazed at what great ideas may pop up.
  • Let them choose job sites – When possible, rewarding quality employees with choice of a job site helps motivate them to work well.
  • Upward mobility – Allow employees to work on larger scale jobs based on good performance. Knowing that there is a chance to move up in the ranks and on to better jobs keeps people motivated.
  • Flexible goals – Allow your workers to determine the deadlines and specific time requirement for reoccurring jobs, which gives them freedom to get things done when they want to. For example, say that a certain task needs to be completed once per week, and let workers do it on their own schedule, instead of declaring that the certain task has to be done every Tuesday morning.


We hope you find some new ideas for motivating your staff here.

What’s your best motivation tip for facility management / property management staff? Leave it in the comments below!


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