“Define Productive”: How to Motivate Your Workforce When Morale Is Low
Even the best of employees can lose steam in productivity. Stagnation and lack of career challenges may cause even the most loyal workforce to lag and drag. A downturn in business or even lower financial outlooks also may put a ratchet in the motivation of your employee. How do employers and project managers define productivity for a company when faced with these challenges?
Fear not. There are ways to reinvigorate your team with energy and enthusiasm and increase their on-the-job motivation.
Every team has high-performing stars, and while those employees positively affect your bottom line, their intrinsic motivation toward their own jobs should help you shine the light on how to boost up your other team members. When morale is low, and the workday becomes a redundant habit, here are five ways to take your team from sluggish to stellar:
1. Highlight strengths.
Gallup notes that productive employees have jobs that focus on their strengths. While you cannot change every employee’s position to provide them with a role that fits their exact dream career, you can find out what they love and where they excel. Sit down with team members one-on-one during reviews and discuss how they view their strengths. Compare their responses to their position in the company, and help them find ways to integrate their best attributes into their current role.
2. Reward successes.
Companies often provide bonuses or rewards to team members who hit the highest sales volume or a specific quota. Others design contests to encourage good natured competition and allow team members to earn rewards for outstanding performance. Opportunities to earn prizes or bonuses give employees something to work toward. Just be sure to check with your CFO to ensure that tax issues are squared away for bonuses or prizes.
However, as Ben Peterson noted in his article for Inc., rewarding employees also may come in the form of a job promotion or other career advancement opportunities. Allowing an employee to head up a project or promoting them to a position with bigger challenges shows them that you appreciate them and trust them to help advance the company’s bottom line.
3. Feed your team.
Free food is becoming one of the biggest trends in the corporate world. Why? It makes employees happy. An article in Forbes cited a survey by Seamless (a takeout service) about the workplace food perk. The results showed that more than half of the 1,200 respondents would take a job if it offered free lunch, and many noted that free office food “would make them feel more valued and appreciated.” Others even would attend optional meetings if food was available. Think about stocking those cupboards!
4. Give them a break.
Many Americans don’t take their vacation days, even though they have accrued the time off. Some employees feel guilty leaving work to take time away for a personal break. Others are so overworked that taking time off isn’t feasible. Don’t discourage your employees to take time off, and don’t make them feel guilty for taking their earned vacation days. The time away will make them better employees when they return.
5. Encourage team bonding.
Connection is important for a team to feel cohesive. Help employees connect with each other and bond by scheduling activities for team members to actively engage beyond work. Some employers take their team to do volunteer work, others head to a retreat. Even something as simple as encouraging music around the office can go a long way.
Every company has lags and downward moments, and times of low morale can affect the entire team and overall productivity. So, what’s the solution? Define productive as a mission of the company from the top-down. Yes, that means even the employers need to break bad habits. Help engage your team, both individual and at a macro level. Encourage team bonding, celebrate big and little wins, encourage employees to take time away to regenerate and maybe even implement some free snacks to tide over employees during long hours.