The pandemic has undoubtedly altered the way people work and the way they feel. Because of community restrictions and safety concerns, people are facing the consequences of staying indoors for prolonged periods. This may lead people to become demotivated, even when they’re working at home.
But America’s issues with keeping employees motivated were already a growing concern before the pandemic. Research released in 2016 showed that approximately 70 percent of workers in Americans are disengaged and demotivated at work. Only a year later, in 2017, another survey of small business employees showed that 56 percent of them don’t believe their managers can even motivate them at all. But you can prove them wrong.
Motivating employees is essential in ensuring your company continues to be productive and profitable, even during these uncertain times.
Below are 9 ways you can keep your employees engaged at their desks, whether you’re working from an office or from the comfort of your homes.
If you have to keep your employees working at the office because of practical consideration, you should do as much as you can to minimize their contact with other people. You could give them access to the take-out information of nearby restaurants or fully stock your pantry. A few packs of bottled flavored water, easy-to-make snacks and a fruit bowl can go a long way to keeping employees full and motivated.
The onus of keeping employees motivated starts with the top leadership of your small business and trickles down. Managers and team leaders have the responsibility of keeping their employees engaged. Talk to these managers regularly and scope out what sort of problems they routinely encounter and how you can address these issues.
Toxic positivity is the mindset of always looking at the bright side and actively ignoring or downplaying negative events. Examples of toxic positivity include saying “Things could be worse,” “Keep powering through,” and the like without any real action. This only exacerbates the problems and can make employees feel like their motivation issues aren’t being taken seriously. Discourage this type of behavior and focus on realistic but still optimistic approaches.
One of the best ways to make sure your employee engagement is as good as it can be is to listen to them about what robs them of their motivation in the first place. Determine if it’s something you can realistically intervene with or something that’s intrinsic to your work. For example, if your customer representative does not like rude customers, there’s really little you can do to change their situation. But if they’re demotivated because their equipment is lousy, you can do something about it.
According to one study, one of the leading causes of demotivation in the workplace is uninteresting tasks. Just because someone is entering data doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it more appetizing to do, especially if they’re going to be doing it for the next few days or weeks. One way you can do so is by using the principles of gamification, which can make tasks that may seem boring instantly more engaging to your employees.
No one likes being lied to, especially employees when these lies can affect their employment or their workload. Neither do you have to bare your soul to them? Find a middle ground between keeping your employees well-informed about your company’s status and capabilities. Doing so can foster trust between managers, upper management and your employees, which can keep them more motivated.
People like being recognized for their hard work, no matter how small the achievement or the recognition. A simple word of praise about their progress during a staff meeting can go a long way. Scale the level of recognition with the immensity of the achievement. If someone is performing better than expected for the week, a shout-out during a meeting should be enough. A sincere thank you and a small token can also be heartwarming for an employee.
Workplace flexibility can ensure your employees remain with your company and that they do their job to the best of their abilities. For example, flexible shifts for some portions of your company can ensure employees who are more productive early in the morning are working by then. Work from home arrangements can be essential, especially given the present circumstances. Be realistic with what you can accommodate and communicate your limitations clearly.
Finally, don’t just promise your employees that you’re going to change your company, actually change your ways. Hosting meetings every week and canvassing for ideas is alright, but if no meaningful change occurs from these meetings, your employees will quickly become disillusioned and demotivated. Enact real change to your processes and you’ll guarantee your company’s employees’ engagement.
Employee motivation is an important aspect of keeping your company alive. Whether you’re a small business or a medium enterprise, assuring your employee’s zeal in their work will help you stay open and not only survive, but thrive in the years to come.