Best Practices in HR

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Robyn Whalen
  July 16, 2019

7 Easy Ways to Encourage and Motivate Your Team Today

Sometimes workplaces need a reboot in the energy department.

If the general vibe of your office is blah, it’s likely that so-so work products are the result. An unmotivated team won’t produce their best work. When leadership is proactive to foster relationships and encourage creativity, it keeps teams working at their peak.

It’s not hard to learn how to motivate a team at the workplace. It’s not expensive, either.

Below, we uncover how to give teams renewed energy and spirit boosts through compliments, conferences, and more.

Read on to learn how to boost your team’s energy starting today:

1. Compliment Often

Feedback is a must for employers to give their team some guidance on what is working and what’s not. As with most leadership styles, there’s a best way to offer feedback — both negative and positive.

So what does that look like?

Experiment with offering a positive comment prior to giving a negative one. It’s hard to hear negative feedback, but if it’s paired with positive recognition of what a team does well, it balances out the negative. Positive feedback pushes people to improve, too. Always getting negative feedback does quite the opposite. Employees will quit if they don’t feel appreciated, workplace surveys show.

How to do it:

  • Look at ways to give recognition and praise
  • Give the whole team a compliment
  • Make it a habit and watch engagement rise
  • Focus on the positive improvements first

Give a boost: Try leading with a compliment at the next meeting for a big project. See how recipients respond to it. Over a period of a few weeks, watch the effects unfold in each interaction you have with workers.

2. Encourage Employees to be Creative and Engaged

The experts in your company want to be asked to use their talents in the best possible way. If leadership doesn’t ask for opinions or allow for open brainstorming sessions, it can stifle creativity quite a bit. Ask employees to brainstorm systems and/or process improvements to help solve problems. Encourage them to bring forth ideas for new projects. Employees who feel they are making a difference will bring more positive energy to their tasks.

Ways to let employees be creative:

Give a boost: Set aside time for employees to explore new skills. Let them take a new class or educational seminar. Allow department managers to conduct meetings outside the office. That kind of company investment may be the best investment for your brightest and most creative employees.

3. Add Conferences to the Annual Events Calendar

Conferences aren’t just for leadership. All departments should have the opportunity to go to a conference that will improve employee skill sets. By doing so, leaders help their teams stay in the forefront of industry trends. Local conferences can be just as helpful, too. Don’t forget online conferences and webinars, which are often cheaper and sometimes free compared to national events!

In your city, look for: 

  • Breakfast business gatherings
  • Luncheons (Chamber of Commerce, networking events, etc.)
  • Day-long, industry-related workshops

Give a boost: Ask employees to find events they would like to attend and have department managers incorporate those into budgets. By asking for their feedback, beneficial conference opportunities may pop up that weren’t even on the company’s radar before asking for employee input.

4. Team Social Hour

Create a happy after-hours event for co-workers to gather outside of the workplace.  It doesn’t always have to be an actual happy hour, either. The idea is to help employees and managers to get to know each other outside of work. Doing so can build stronger connections between team members and leadership. It also demonstrates leadership’s interest in employees as people. When appropriate, consider inviting families, too.

After-hours work events can:

  • Boost employee collaboration
  • Encourage creativity
  • Increase productivity
  • Build stronger employee relationships

Give a boost: Make events lighthearted and fun for the best benefit. Outings like bowling, beach days, escape rooms, scavenger hunts, and BBQs are laid-back ways for employees and leadership to connect.

5. Volunteer as a Team

There’s nothing like giving back together as a team. Not only is it great company PR, but it also helps employees feel like they’re doing some good in the world. Take photos and celebrate the event in a company newsletter and on social media. Workers will love sharing their good deeds with others while also promoting your company’s volunteer work.

Altruistic ventures to consider:

  • Tutoring local school kids
  • Community clean-ups
  • Walking adoptable dogs
  • Serving at soup kitchens

Give a boost: Volunteermatch.org is a great place to get matched up to charities that are important to your local community. Set a date to volunteer as a team at a different charity each quarter.

6. Create Healthy Competitions

Set up challenges to encourage healthy habits and friendly competition. You can set up team competitions by department for the best and widest participation. Simple challenges may include tracking steps, days exercised, or even time exercising. Paired with wellness committee health initiatives, healthy competitions can even be set up for different events for different months.

Some challenge options to consider:

Give a boost: Set a goal and end date and have employees check-in daily or weekly on a shared leaderboard. Give out awards to those who finish in the top spots; prizes can range from gift cards to time off.

7. Office Theme Days

Brighten the office mood with some fun theme days throughout each quarter. While dress-up days are more popular throughout the holidays, you can easily change your frequency to be more often. Let employees know the “theme” for each day well in advance to let them prepare for the more outlandish themes.

Some themes to have fun with:

  • ‘90s or ‘80s days
  • Superhero day
  • Famous writer day
  • Pun day
  • Hat day
  • Pajama day
  • Sports day

Give a boost: You can keep themed days as simple or complex as you want. Some employees may be happy with blue jean Fridays! Ask for their vote.

Implement, Evaluate, and Be Consistent

There is no one-size-fits-all for keeping teams energized. Sometimes you have to sit back and watch what seems to be working best.

If employees are coming into work more excited and ready to work, they’re probably feeling more energized.  If they’re working better together as a team, start incorporating more of those social hour events, for example.

Most of all, know the above steps aren’t a one-time fix.

Get feedback from employees and observe progress on a regular basis. See what events or cultural shifts are leading to changes in attitudes and productivity. What’s lighting them up? Once you find it, keep going with it to encourage and motivate your team to do their most efficient, creative, and productive work.

Tweak as needed, and repeat throughout the year for best results!

What are your favorite ways to encourage and motivate your employees? Share what you know on how to motivate a team in the workplace in the comments below!

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