Managers are always looking at ways to motivate employees, as happy and engaged workers are more productive and raise workplace morale. There is also a huge bottom-line cost when workers are unmotivated. It has been estimated that disengaged workers waste up to two hours per day  at work, costing business $300 billion annually.

While everyone agrees that motivating employees is important, companies could  do a better job at it. While many employ carrot/stick systems, they acknowledge that this model of reward/punishment does not foster creativity. Thirty percent of executives admit that motivating their employees is actually their toughest job. A whopping 89 percent of employers think that the reason workers quit is related to money, however just 12 percent actually earn higher salaries at their next jobs. It is becoming clear that other important factors such as autonomy, mastery and purpose are important influencers.

Weekdone, which sells performance management tools, recently published the results of a survey revealing that 67 percent of workers cite praise from managers as the most important motivator. This was followed closely by attention from leaders (63 percent) and more responsibility (62 percent). While 60 percent of the respondents admitted that cash bonuses are highly motivating, just 52 percent mentioned pay raises and 35 percent mentioned stock options as driving factors.

Below, Hubspot suggests 6 ways to motivate employees:

Heap on the Praise. In addition to compliments, offer specific, analytical feedback about how the employee handles his or her tasks.

Communicate. Only 40 percent of employees say they are well-informed of their company’s goals, strategy and tactics. Clarify the bigger picture, and show how the employee’s personal goals and objectives align with the company’s. In addition to company-wide meetings, schedule regular, one-on-one meetings.

Provide More Responsibility. Employees feel proud about contributing to a project, even if it is difficult. Don’t be afraid to assign more demanding tasks, as many employees will rise to the challenge. Provide ample opportunity for employees to contribute ideas and suggestions.

Develop an Appropriate Bonus Structure. Make goals challenging yet realistic. Periodically review the reward system, and when necessary, change it. Well-structured incentive programs can increase employee performance by as much as 44 percent.

Give Generous Raises. Discuss the amount and terms with the employee beforehand, and correlate the raise with the results and development of the employee. The total should be about 10 percent in order to have a significant impact.

Measure Performance. Use a performance management tool (such as one made by Weekdone) in order to fairly and accurately measure accomplishments and gauge development.