How to create highly motivated and engaged teams and keep the talent you grow

Building a winning team is essential for any business that wants to achieve rapid growth and profitability

How to create highly motivated and engaged teams and keep the talent you grow

As organisations strive for excellence, the ability to nurture and retain talent emerges as a vital strategic imperative. This article explores the multifaceted approach to cultivating environments where motivation thrives, engagement flourishes, and the talent nurtured remains steadfastly committed. From empowering leadership to fostering a culture of continuous growth, we delve into the actionable strategies that pave the way for not only attracting top talent but also retaining and harnessing their full potential. 

Attracting, training, motivating, and retaining top talent is no easy feat. So, what are some key strategies for creating highly motivated and engaged teams that will stick with you through thick and thin?

Think of the end goal 

First and foremost, it’s crucial to start with the end in mind. What are your goals and objectives? What kind of culture do you want to create? As Jack Welch (the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric) put it, “Change before you have to.” In today’s fast-paced business environment, the perfect team of yesterday may not be the right fit for tomorrow. Be prepared to adapt and evolve as needed. In business, I believe that it’s no longer about survival of the fittest but more the survival of the fastest!


When it comes to attracting top talent, remember that the best people are rarely looking for jobs. You may need to headhunt or even steal them from your competitors. Offer competitive salaries, benefits, and equity or profit-sharing opportunities. But don’t stop there – think about what sets your company apart. What kind of training, development, and progression opportunities can you provide? As Michael Abraschoff, a highly successful US Navy commander (NY Times Best Selling Author of “It’s Your Ship” and a leadership and teamwork expert), said, “People WANT to do the right thing!” Give them the tools and support they need to excel.

Focus on motivation

Once you’ve assembled your dream team, it’s time to focus on motivation. As Kip Tindell, the founder of The Container Store, put it, “Employee first culture.” This means creating an environment where people feel valued, empowered, and engaged. Offer radical empowerment and trust your team to make decisions. Provide ample training and development opportunities. For example retail company The Container Store offers 270 hours of training in the first year alone to their employees, compared to just 8 hours at most retail companies. As a result, their quirky, servant leadership culture landed them on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” 19 years in a row, including #1 twice and #2 twice)

Of course, even the best teams will have their fair share of “Nags and Thoroughbreds,” as the saying goes. It’s important to recognise the difference and take action when necessary. As Welch put it, “Failure to deal with poor team members is crippling to fast growth and profitability.” Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions and remove the “rotten apples” from the bunch.

Retaining top talent

But what about those top performers – the “best players” that you can’t afford to lose? This is where retention strategies come into play. Think about what motivates your team members. Is it positive motivation, like chasing their dreams and aspirations? Or is it negative motivation, like the fear of failure or losing their job? Clear boundaries and expectations, along with incentive schemes and benefits, can go a long way in keeping your top talent engaged and loyal.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of social glue and cement. Create a culture where people feel like they belong, where they have friends and mentors, and where they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.” Seek out feedback from your team members and take action on their suggestions and concerns.

In conclusion, building a highly motivated and engaged team is no easy task, but it’s essential for long-term success. Start with the end in mind, attract the best talent, train and motivate them relentlessly, and work hard to retain your top performers. As Tindell put it, “Great, Good, Average” – aim for greatness and never settle for average. With the right strategies and mindset, you can create a winning team that will propel your business to new heights.

Mike Greene
Mike Greene

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