Keeping your team motivated is a complex matter and it’s something that can’t be resolved with a simple reward. There’s only so much salary increase and so many bonuses that you can give out until you’re no longer profitable. Moreover, these are all short-term solutions and the fact that one just got promoted doesn’t mean that they’ll keep working hard over the course of the next year. Instead, you need to work on your team’s overall morale and here are several tips for that.
1. Work-life balance is crucial
First of all, you need to understand that, sometimes, unless you actively trying to prevent this, your team might experience burnout. The best way to prevent this is to rely on deadlines instead of stern work hours and even allow your team to use the privilege of having flexible work hours. Sure, you can’t force them to develop responsible work-life balance, but what you can do is encourage them and even make it incredibly easy for them to do so.
2. A sense of purpose
This part can be achieved in two ways. First, you can tell each of the individuals within your team exactly how hard work benefits them as individuals (higher pay, promotion, a chance to learn or even turn independent at one point). This is the so-called intrinsic motivation and it can indeed be a powerful tool. Other than this, there’s the old-fashioned method of letting your team know how the tiny part that they’re working on contributed to the bigger picture. This too can work quite effectively, especially amongst the millennial workforce.
3. Engage in group activities
Bonding over work is definitely a possibility that you can exploit, yet, it’s much quicker to organize a couple of non-work-related activities and let people blow off some steam together. For instance, you can throw a minor sporting event where separate teams and departments compete against each other. You can also start a dancing competition and ask people to pair up in order to test their mettle against their co-workers. In fact, you can take this even a step further and get some dance trophies for the winners.
4. Value team over individual effort
The next tip is quite tricky. First of all, you need to understand that if you give them the opportunity, some people in your office will try to make themselves look good by making others look bad. This quickly raises the inter-office animosity to a whole new level, which can be devastating in the long run. Not even the most talented overachiever can run a project on their own, which is why you need to learn how to put team effort over individual effort at every point. This doesn’t mean ignoring when an individual is doing a remarkable job; it only means that you need to get your priorities straight from day one.
5. Use corporate culture as a starting point
At the end of the day, you need to understand that it’s much easier to hire individuals who fit your corporate culture than to try and make people just fit in. First of all, this means that you need to build a great company culture, which consists of determining its identity, putting your values into action and revisiting them regularly (it’s a thing that evolves). Then, using these values and identity traits, you’ll have a somewhat easier job at determining who’s right for your organization. Sure, sometimes exceptions have to be made, but then again, this is a handy guideline to lean on.
While it is true that different people get motivated by different things, by creating a positive work environment, you’ll make something that passively affects everyone in your employ. Sure, it’s not easy, but the reward is more than worth it.