Entrepreneur and CEO advises on the best ways to motivate staff in difficult times.
Motivating staff is always important, but it becomes especially critical during times of uncertainty. These times can leave employees feeling demotivated and lead to decreased output and energy. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with inflation and interest rate hikes, have made the past couple of years some of the most uncertain in decades. As an entrepreneur and CEO, I have had to work hard to find innovative ways to keep my team motivated and propel our businesses forward in the face of adversity.
As the trend towards flexible working arrangements and remote work continues to grow, it’s becoming increasingly important for leaders and managers to find new ways to drive their team and maintain a sense of connection and collaboration. One key strategy is to emphasise the importance of teamwork, even when team members are working from different locations.
Leaders should remind their staff that everyone is working towards a common goal and that each person’s contribution is essential to the success of the team. Emphasising this message helps to reinforce a sense of unity and shared purpose, and can help to build trust and rapport among team members.
It’s important for leaders to be approachable and supportive of their team members. Remote work can be isolating, and it’s important for team members to feel that they can reach out to their manager or colleagues for support and guidance when needed. Leaders can make themselves available through regular check-ins, virtual office hours, or other channels that allow for open communication and feedback.
What’s more, it’s essential for leaders to demonstrate their commitment to the success of the team by providing the resources and support needed for remote work to be effective. This might include providing technology and equipment, establishing clear communication protocols, and setting realistic expectations and goals.
The key to motivating your staff during times of uncertainty is to incentivise them. Give them responsibility for tasks outside of their usual remit, ones that will help the business get out of sticky situations. This will make them feel needed and valued, and incentivise them to progress forward in a positive manner. You can also promote one or two people to a higher or more complex role to demonstrate that the business is not going anywhere and create a role model for the other staff members, motivating the entire team.
Once everyone is in their groove, it’s essential to maintain momentum. Feeling the team spirit is non-negotiable in boosting morale and encouraging a good work ethic. While we may not be together physically, we can still connect virtually. Create a team WhatsApp chat and communicate regularly throughout the day. When communication is flowing, people are reminded that others are working, and no one wants to be left behind.
Group chats are also a great way to maintain a company culture of recognition and appreciation. If an employee feels underappreciated or overlooked, they will be the first to lose motivation and engagement. When there is a win at work, praise those responsible to the whole group. In the absence of a physical pat on the back in front of their peers, give them a shout-out on the virtual group chat and reward them, publicly. Prove to everyone that credit is given when credit is due.
In addition to recognising work-related milestones, celebrating personal achievements can also have a positive impact on the morale and motivation of your staff. Some personal milestones that could be celebrated include weddings, new babies, graduations, promotions, and retirements. When you acknowledge and celebrate these events, you demonstrate that you care about your employees as individuals, not just as workers.
Furthermore, celebrating non-work-related achievements such as a marathon run, a volunteer work, or a hobby achievement like completing a painting, can help your employees feel recognised and appreciated for their unique talents and interests outside of work. This kind of recognition can create a sense of belonging and can also foster a more positive work environment.
Sending gifts or e-cards to acknowledge these personal milestones can be a thoughtful gesture that demonstrates your appreciation and support. You could also consider creating a special bulletin board or space in the workplace where staff can share personal achievements and milestones with their colleagues.
Finally, don’t wave goodbye to real-life events entirely. Sporadic team outings are great for lifting spirits and decreasing the risk of burnout. Surprise the team with a lunch out at a sought-after restaurant or a day off when the sun is shining. These fun acts of appreciation keep the work atmosphere light during otherwise dark times.
In summary, there are several strategies you can use to motivate your staff during times of uncertainty. Firstly, remind your staff that you are a team and that you need each other to succeed. Next, incentivise your staff by giving them responsibility for tasks outside of their usual remit and promote one or two people to demonstrate that the business is not going anywhere. Then, create a team WhatsApp chat and communicate regularly throughout the day to keep the momentum going. Use group chats to recognise and appreciate your staff, celebrate personal milestones, and organise sporadic team outings to keep the work atmosphere light. By using these strategies, you can keep your staff motivated, even during uncertain times.