Quick look: Highly motivated teams are happier and more profitable. However, employee burnout is on the rise, and team motivation and energy are in need of a boost. Let’s explore 10 tried-and-true methods that small- and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders can follow to revitalize their teams.
An energized work environment is essential to business success, not only in terms of growth and revenue, but with regards to internal organizational health, employee retention and the ability to recruit top talent. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, employee engagement – defined as “those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace” – has reached a new high at 35%. Additionally, Forbes reports that highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable.
However, even the most productive teams and/or individual team members can eventually burn out or lose some of their energy, which can result in missed deadlines or substandard work.
This is why, as team leaders and managers, it’s important to know how to motivate and energize your team when needed. Doing so can help reignite productivity and enthusiasm, which will ultimately lead to organizational success. If you’ve been wondering how to keep your team motivated, these 10 tips can help.
1. Get to know team members and their personalities
Teams are comprised of individuals, each with their own personality and communication style. When one team member loses steam, the rest of the group may be quick to follow.
One way to overcome this obstacle is by getting to know your team members, and more specifically their personalities. Every individual is different, has a different style of working, and requires different methods of managing. Often, a one-size-fits-all approach can make things worse.
By getting to know each member of your team, you’ll learn how to best approach and manage everyone to help bring out their full potential. Managers should meet with each member of the team on a regular basis and encourage not just talking about work in these meetings, but hobbies and personal lives as well, if the employee feels comfortable.
2. Encourage continuous creativity
There are many reasons why a team can lose focus, experience lower productivity, or get burned out. These situations can be frustrating for teams, especially as deadlines loom.
Managers can take steps to avoid these scenarios by encouraging team members to be creative and develop ways to improve current processes or even build entirely new initiatives. When team members feel like they are making a difference in the business, they become more invested in a project (especially if it is their idea). Additionally, this type of team dynamic encourages the group to come up with ways to make current processes even better.
Not only will this creativity help boost productivity, but it will also significantly increase engagement – both of which help re-energize a team.
3. Ask for feedback
Successful managers and leaders take their employees’ thoughts, concerns, and feedback into account.
This helps individuals feel more valued within an organization and team. Employees who feel they are heard are nearly 5 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. Asking for feedback also helps managers find ways to improve engagement and morale within the group.
Once they receive employee feedback, managers should act on it. Soliciting feedback but refusing to make change erodes employee trust. On the other hand, employees who see the impact of their ideas feel like important members of the team.
Teams that have and encourage an open communication style often feel more connected with their manager and know that they can come to their leader with any questions or concerns. Encouraging this two-way communication helps reduce stress and potential conflicts, while helping to boost productivity.
4. Celebrate special occasions and milestones
Incentives and rewards play important roles within organizations and teams of all sizes.
Whether teams host a group lunch to welcome a new hire, bring in a cake for someone’s birthday, or go out to celebrate the completion of a major project, collectively recognizing these milestones can boost a team’s morale, happiness, engagement, and more. A bonus? These gatherings are a great tactic for attracting and recruiting new talent to the company.
5. Learn from your employees
Many people think that in a manager-employee relationship, it’s the employee who should be learning from their manager. However, the best managers also view reverse learning – where a manager or mentor learns from a team member/mentee – as a tremendous opportunity to improve their group’s dynamic.
Each individual brings something new and unique to the team, and this differing knowledge and experience can be a learning opportunity for leaders as well as other team members. Everyone can benefit from developing new skills or ways of approaching certain problems, even managers, and doing so can help teams become re-energized as they learn from their peers.
6. Don’t forget the big picture
Sometimes a project can become stalled, especially when team members lose focus. When this happens, it’s critical for leaders to remind their staff about the goals both the team and organization are striving to achieve.
Reminding your team about the big picture can help re-energize and steer them back on track while also helping to overcome any concerns or obstacles preventing the project from advancing.
Sometimes a team simply needs to take a step back from their work and focus on the end result in order to boost creativity and productivity.
7. Be empathetic
It’s crucial that employers and managers practice showing empathy in the workplace. Work is just one part of employees’ lives, and sometimes they are experiencing a personal difficulty that is impacting their work.
When an employee is going through a hard time, it’s important for leaders to be empathetic. Managers can reach out to employees whose behavior seems out of character, and ask what, if anything, they can do to help. Doing so not only helps to improve the individual’s performance, but shows the entire team that their leader will understand, and is available to help, if they’re ever in a tough situation. This is critical for boosting employee happiness, loyalty, and retention, and enables managers to help employees overcome their problem and become re-energized.
8. Shift strategies
So much of business (and life) is trial and error. Sometimes when a project stalls, it seems like no solution can be found. When this happens, energy and productivity can drop significantly.
To avoid this, leaders should attempt to shift efforts and strategies in order to get the project back on track. One way to do this is by following one of the tips above – encourage creativity. Sparking a solution-focused conversation can allow team members to present ideas that not only solve the issue, but help to improve productivity and revitalize the team. Leaders shouldn’t be afraid to step in and alter current strategies if they are no longer working.
9. Be a role model
One of the most important things a leader can do is be a positive role model for their team. Teams tend to reflect their manager’s leadership style and work ethic, which can directly impact their ability to accomplish goals.
In the face of a challenge, a leader’s ability to be a positive role model can instill a sense of calmness and relief among employees, helping the team overcome any issues that are holding them back from reaching their goals.
Positivity begets positivity and being a positive role model also sets the tone and expectations for how the team should conduct themselves, which helps with overall productivity and energy.
10. Always say “thank you”
Everyone likes to be recognized for their time and effort on a project. By showing gratitude, managers can re-energize a group and boost the team’s morale, especially during stressful periods.
It’s also important for managers to express gratitude for their team and everything that they do for the overall organization. This helps employees feel that their work is making a difference and helping the company reach key goals.
Expressing gratitude is more important than ever given the current tumultuous labor market. Research has shown that gratitude may help improve employee retention – and considering the number one reason workers leave their job is because of the relationship they have with their immediate manager, saying “thanks” is a must.
A revitalizing resource
SMB leaders have a lot on their plate – the job market is tight, competition is fierce, and the world is still recovering from the reverberations from the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, you’re not alone when it comes to developing a plan on how to energize your team.
A professional employer organization (PEO) like ExtensisHR can help you boost morale by:
- Providing a variety of leadership training courses on topics like motivating teams, optimizing performance, establishing and achieving goals, and more.
- Allowing you to offer a tailored benefits package designed to increase employee satisfaction and productivity.
- Providing dedicated HR guidance (that’s a simple call, chat, or email away) on a myriad of issues
- And more
Looking for more tips to keep your team motivated? Contact ExtensisHR today to discover how our experts can help.