“How to inspire your team” is a popular topic among leadership teams. How popular? A Google search of those words yields more than 400 million results.
But with so much information out there, how do you know what works?
Start with reputable sources. Forbes, Inc., and Monster are ideal places to begin learning how to motivate your team. Bookmark the sources you like, and follow the thought leaders who write pieces that resonate with you.
In order to give you a jumpstart, here are 5 of our favorites.
1. Challenge your employees
Employees want to be challenged. Surveys show that 83% of employees who are asked to take on challenging new projects are more likely to stay with their employer.
Start by finding out where your employees stand, and help them make a plan for growth.
- Ask about their career objectives, current workload and whether they feel they’re being challenged.
- Allow each team member to dedicate a few hours a week to a passion project related to your business.
- Give them time to make and share their progress with the company.
Not only can this exercise inspire new ideas and initiatives, but it can also inspire coworkers to come up with ideas of their own.
2. Avoid unnecessary meetings — virtually or in-person
The average professional wastes nearly 4 hours in unproductive meetings every week, and COVID-19 added a new layer to that problem. Studies have shown that constant exposure to online meetings can affect mental health and increase stress levels, which means meetings may be an even bigger drain now that so many are virtual.
Cut down on meeting burnout by:
- Creating an agenda for every meeting, and distributing it in advance
- Inviting only the people who really need to attend
- Starting and ending meetings on time, even if everything hasn’t been covered
Showing your employees that you respect their time is a key piece in the puzzle of how to motivate your team.
3. Offer ownership
Accountability is key to fostering employee and company growth, but just as important is ownership. When you ask employees to help you keep others accountable, you’re showing them that you trust them with the future of your company.
Ask employees to take control of something they care about.
- Do they want to boost sales, improve project management, start a recycling program? Let their interest dictate what projects you give them ownership of.
- Set a timeline for completion and then take a step back. Let them take charge of the project and check in periodically to see how it’s progressing.
- Once it’s complete or a new process is ready to be rolled out, let your employee deploy it to the company, which will underscore the confidence you’ve placed in them.
4. Create a healthy, happy environment
When it comes to how to motivate your team, where you work is as important as what you’re working on. Environment has a real impact on productivity, contentment and creativity, and happy employees are more likely to stay engaged and motivated long term. In today’s workplace, health has to be your top priority, but that doesn’t mean your space shouldn’t also be comfortable and inspiring.
Start with safety. Explain the precautions you’re taking to employees, and use surveys to determine who can work in the office safely. If your company already uses Time Tracker, COVID-19 screening questions can easily be incorporated into everyone’s clock-in process.
Create a space that is inviting and enjoyable to work in. Is your office a place employees will want to spend their time? If not, make strategic changes.
- Ensure everyone has enough personal space and privacy.
- If noise is an issue, offer noise-cancelling options for employees who request them.
- Maximize natural light and consider alternatives to harsh fluorescent lighting.
- Create areas to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
- Encourage healthy activities by offering nutritious snacks and exercise opportunities, which can be as simple as sharing nearby walking routes with the office.
Don’t forget about remote employees. Virtual employees have different challenges than those who come into the office. Ask about their home work environment, and offer support in whatever way is feasible for your company. That can include everything from virtual group lunches to stipends to pay for Internet and home-office upgrades.
5. Say thank you
When you’re trying to figure out how to inspire your team, simple acts of appreciation are often overlooked. But saying “thank you” can have a big effect. Studies have shown that 70% percent of employees say a “thank you” from their manager would have a “massive” impact on their morale and motivation.
Up your appreciation game by:
- Being polite. Say “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” to foster a kind, positive environment.
- Letting your staff know that you value their work, and be specific about why.
- Recognizing people publicly — in person, via email or on social media — for the work they do.
Employees who believe in what they do tend to take pride in doing their jobs, do better work and contribute to the company more often.
Give employees the tools they need to do their jobs effectively
As you implement the tips above, be sure your employees have the tools they need to see how and where they’re spending their time. A free, 14-day trial of Time Tracker is a great place to start.