For most any business out there, quarterly successes and failures are looked at through profit margins, spreadsheets and time management. But while statistics tell a good amount of the story, a company should look a little deeper into the psyche of their business, and more importantly, how high or low is employee morale in its current state?
While it’s necessary to be on point as a CEO with your supervisors, and they subsequently with their departments as well, you must not become complacent with how you present your business for both the short and long haul. Employees need to feel motivated to an extent beyond what skills they provide the company.
You don’t necessarily need to coddle them day in and day out, but a shakeup in the daily routine every now and then can do wonders.
Here are 10 ways to do just that.
1. Do A Survey: Send out a company-wide newsletter detailing exactly what your employees think about their daily grind. What changes are needed? What could be added to make days seem more spontaneous, yet still productive at the same time?
2. Look At Your Current Incentives: How well are you rewarding hard work? If your company’s doing fairly well and you have enough wiggle room to dole out bonuses, consider changing the stakes a bit. Maybe instead of offering cash, why not include a mini-vacation to somewhere reasonably enjoyable? Or if you’re just fine with cash (and most employees would be A-OK with that), sweeten the pot by opening up more avenues for employees to capitalize on a good day’s work.
3. Be More Community-Minded: Sometimes creating an atmosphere that comes off as too autonomous will, over time, make employees feel they aren’t a part of the bigger picture even though they are. You can build a better team foundation by encouraging more opinions on a project instead of limiting them. Even if it’s a bit off-base with the final idea, the fact that they are allowed to participate not only boosts their confidence, it expands their creative juices all the same.
4. Give Praise Where Praise Is Due: No matter if it’s one person or an entire group, giving praise to your staff for a job well done should be a no-brainer. We aren’t attention-starved by any means, but hearing a good word from time to time will lift our spirits. And to be honest, I’m not big on the whole “employee of the month” plaque. A formal congratulations, an email or in-person handshake will do just the trick.
5. Set Better Expectations: Challenging your entire office to achieve greater things is probably the easiest form of motivation out there. Although, make them realistic because if you offer up a labyrinth-esque deadline for a project, chances are you risk employee burn-out soon after.
6. Take On Community Service Opportunities: Giving back to the community is not only the right thing to do, it makes us feel good inside as well. Offer up different ways to go around town to help out the community. It could be something as simple as starting a food drive, doing a unique fundraiser or thinking up something much more long-term. In the end, you’re really lifting everyone’s spirits while also creating better unity within the ranks.
7. Don’t Be Intense At Every Turn: Managers and supervisors are there to lead and monitor because departments must be headed properly to ensure deadlines are reached and questions are answered. Yet, that doesn’t mean they should be going around every day yelling and berating their staff to push forward with every waking second, day in and day out. Know your limits and when the proper time to apply a little pressure is. Employees know they should be accountable, but they also need room to breathe at the same time.
8. Don’t Leave Training Behind: Keeping your employees current with the ever-changing landscape of the industry is vital. That’s why establishing effective learning regiments outside of the basic training seminar at the onset is a good idea. Whether it’s educating them on new software of ways to tackle a project, the fact that you’re not resting on your laurels will benefit everyone involved.
9. Survey Your Office Layout: Do employees feel liked packed sardines in a can inside their cubicle? Is the break room reflective of the same? In essence, get a feel for whether a little remodeling will open up a little more creative freedom and more importantly, a relaxing atmosphere as a whole.
10. Shorter Meeting Times: By reducing the time of company-wide meetings, you allow better time management on the production side of things. Employees can become more focused to their objectives at hand and, also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to trim down the number of days a week to meet. Plan out which meetings are more important, if they should be focused on certain departments, etc.
Even if company thinks it’s hired the most productive, energized staff out there, individual motivation is a whole different animal. Once monotony becomes the rule rather than the exception, the focus of your business may start to waver along with it if the structure and office atmosphere aren’t receptive to change.
About the Author: Kyle O’Brien is a freelance writer covering a number of topics concerning small business such as leadership tactics, project management and many others. He works as a consultant for ej4, a performance improvement company centered around creating effective e-learning tools and videos for businesses.