Down to Business with Britt

Helping solve your workplace woes

 Dear Britt,

I do my best to engage my employees and keep things interesting. But a lot of our work is, well, work. Granted the work is important, but sometimes boring, and it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise. How do I motivate my people around these things?

I hear you. No matter how much we love our work there are still aspects that make it feel like a j-o-b. One solution is to gamify. Here are the three principles to gamify anything and reengage with even ho-hum work: target, track, and thank.

Target: Set small micro-goals. Your role as the boss is to communicate what success looks like and help your employees identify roadblocks. For example, even a self-proclaimed spreadsheet geek may find that data entry gets tedious. Does procrastination arise and the work builds up? The goal may be to complete the data entry as it trickles in. Is the issue that enthusiasm ebbs and flows? A goal could be to approach the work every day with a fresh mindset. This is where respecting different personalities on your team is crucial. Your employees are much more likely to set meaningful goals and explore efficiencies if they are in some control of the process and what’s relevant to them.

Track: We all know you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Every day track progress, with no judgment, whether on a phone app, through a Teams group message, or even sticky notes to the side of your desk. Did you show up with a great attitude? Check. Did you answer important emails right away instead of letting them linger? Check. Get competitive with yourself and your weekly progress. If you or your employees are having a hard time meeting the goal, block off time and commit. The role of a boss here is to check in individually to see how each person is doing, provide feedback and reinforce the relevance of the work.

Thank: We all crave praise. And keep in mind, younger generations grew up getting attaboys for nearly everything. There’s no point in resisting this, so borrow from positive psychology and focus on rewarding the behaviors you want repeated. Especially if you are gamifying your own job, there is no use in beating yourself up if you don’t meet your goal. But most importantly, find ways to celebrate when you do. Did you show up with a positive mindset every day this month? Sounds like you deserve flowers! (Or whatever feels indulgent to you.) As an employer, your mind often goes to bonuses. However, studies have shown praise and recognition are actually more motivating. Showing thanks doesn’t have to cost a dime or require much time, but again, you have to know the personalities on your team and be consistent with it to avoid favoritism. Gratitude could be as simple as a handwritten note of recognition or a one-on-one lunch with the boss. Just don’t forget to pause and celebrate. In the end, it’s less about big achievements and more about small goals repeated over time that become healthy habits.

Set relevant micro-goals, measure and track success, and then celebrate the little wins. In this way, we become competitive with our past performance and push ourselves to do better. That means learning self-motivation with less motivation coming from you as the boss.

Do you have a workplace woe you’d like help working though? Ask Britt. You can share your question with us by emailing

Brittany Cooper is a relentless optimist and collector of beautiful moments. Her superpower is making others feel seen. She is a lifelong Montanan and relishes living in the Beartooths with her husband and daughters. Take a short quiz at to discover your leadership and influence style.


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