Regardless of the size of your business, every single employee is truly crucial to any sort of sustainable success. No company can afford to carry dead weight these days, which is why job security may be at an all time low. What that normally does is motivate people to do their best. But if you’ve recently come through several months or even years of having to work your people really hard, they may be a bit drained and beaten down. You can’t just send everyone off for a two week vacation, and there’s always more work to be done. What you can do is take the time to look at how you can motivate your people. It may not be easy, and could take some trial and error. But here are five ways to inspire and rekindle employee motivation.
Although the long vacation may not be on the agenda, consider some sort of long weekend or even a day-long outing that has absolutely nothing to do with work. People need to blow off steam and reconnect as friends and associates. You don’t always have to be the one to inspire them to greatness. If they care about their fellow employees, that could be enough. So organize a golf trip. Take them bowling, or fishing. Do something silly, like go roller skating or head to a water park. Even a nice barbecue in the park, with an unexpected half day off from the office could get motivation going again.
An added perk at the office can also make a big difference. This is especially the case when you regularly keep extended hours. So look at how you can improve the working environment. Perhaps a nice cappuccino machine in the lunch room could add a bit of motivation along with some extra caffeine. Or maybe you should add a gym to the office, so people can enjoy a stress relieving workout when they first come in. Even something as simple as allowing employees to bring their pets to work with them could do the job.
Inspiration and creativity don’t often come in a boring environment, so allow your people to get personal with their spaces. Get a new, bright coat of paint on the walls, and encourage the staff to decorate as they see fit. Suggest people bring in personal photos or framed posters that make them feel comfortable. If they can express themselves through their workspace, they’ll probably be more motivated to prove themselves in their job. And being surrounded by reminders of their family will help with inspiration even in the darker moments.
Competition always breeds great results, as long as it is healthy. So think about a performance contest you could create. Make sure it is results driven, and give people a substantial amount of time to play the game. There should be a definite end point, and a fantastic prize or reward for the winner or winners. Remember, if the goal isn’t inspiring, it won’t cause the results you want.
If all else fails, it may be time to call a meeting. The purpose of this meeting isn’t for you to stand in the front of the room and spout inspirational quotes. It’s really all about giving your staff a platform to express themselves. Make sure they feel free to share the good, the bad and the ugly about their working experience. The goal here is to clear the air, and hopefully to resolve frustrations or petty dramas that have been hanging out far too long. Make sure the group understands they won’t be penalized for whatever they may say, and offer up your own frustrations to get the ball going. It may be a hard process, but everyone will be far more motivated after solutions have been reached.