Are your workers stuck in a rut? Are they depressed over the uncertain state of the economy? Are you looking for ways to motivate employees to perform at a higher level?
Of course, higher compensation and other tangible perks may entice workers to expend greater effort. But those measures can only go so far before the same or similar problems are likely to resurface. Alternatively, there are several low-cost ways to improve company morale that might reverse the trend. Here are seven commonly used methods to examine.
1. Find out what motivates your employees. Have them fill out a questionnaire about issues such as career development, leadership, praise and recognition, performance evaluation and other work-related aspects. Take the time to show your employees that you are interested in hearing what they have to say. This demonstrates a commitment to improving the workplace environment.
2. Establish a connection between the company’s mission and individual goals. Do not make it “all about the company.” For instance, you might set up a display showing significant moments in your employees’ lives. The employees can provide photos, descriptions and memorabilia. Paint a picture of how each employee’s actions fit into the larger goals and vision of the company.
3. Give your employees the resources they need. Set up manageable goals for workers and periodically review their progress. Encourage top performers to share their wisdom and experiences with others. Example: Each month, a different employee can provide insights into solving common problems. Recognize key accomplishments and success stories.
4. Create a team spirit within the organization. This can be as simple as establishing casual Fridays or modified summer hours. Or you could use t-shirts or other theme apparel to promote unity. Give company-wide work breaks as a reward for group achievements. Encourage employees to join pleasurable activities, such as softball or a theater outing, that they can share with others. Do not make work just about work.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. How can you reasonably expect employees to meet goals if they do not know what they are? Spell out your main objectives, preferably in writing. Employees are more likely to be successful if they understand management’s expectations. Workers on the same level may also be encouraged to point others in the right direction without any prompting from above.
6. Hold employees accountable. Break down long-term goals into short-term milestones, and show workers how to reach them. Keep an “open door” policy so workers can freely discuss the objectives at hand or other issues they may confront. Help employees identify challenges, and explain how they can work cohesively to overcome obstacles. Encourage your staff to be problem-solvers, not problem-causers.
7. Take your leadership role seriously. Exemplify the behavior you would like to see in your employees. Do not hide out in an upstairs office; be visible on the floor where work is being done. Be enthusiastic and confident about the company’s vision and its future. Finally, make improving company morale a top priority.
There are no absolute guarantees, but spirits may rise if you implement these steps. Best of all, there is little risk in trying them out.