Has your team been behaving a little more like the zombies from the popular television show, The Walking Dead, and a little less like the bouncy bunch they usually are?
Have they lost the lively sparkle in their eyes, or have things become a little monotonous lately?
It might be time to shake things up a bit!
There are numerous ways to re-energise your team – from the extravagant to the simple, depending on your budget. In order to be sustainable, it’s recommended that you exercise prudence in your decision.
Based on your assessment of the productivity within your team (or the lack thereof); you can use the following tools:
Institute a routine of regular, one-on-one meetings with your team
Although this might sound uninspiring, think of this as a manner in which to take genuine interest in the lives of your team; cultivate understanding between you and your team members, and use it as a platform to encourage them, as opposed to a session to run down a list of deliverables for the next day, week or month.
Also, there’s no rule that says you should sit at a desk when you have this meeting. Create a casual environment where your team will be relaxed enough to speak freely. Show genuine interest in your team’s work/life balance.
Align individual economic interests with company performance
Within a team, deadlines are always looming, and if your team is not motivated, it’s highly likely that you may miss a few. And this is not a good reflection on your team’s capabilities.
Introduce incentive schemes and recognise star performers – employees that go that extra mile to get the job done.
This could range from rewarding your colleagues with an extra hour for lunch, to half a day off if they meet their deadlines, or simply providing a lunch for your team after a hectic deadline. You could even create an employee of the month board (with a prize of some chocolates… yummy), which recognises the employee that has either performed well, or improved the most, etc.
In the world of business, things are constantly changing, so prepare your team to cope with these changes by promoting a learning environment. This will not only motivate your team, but also encourage productivity among them.
This does not have to be an expensive exercise – there are seminars online, or you can enquire from your auditors about courses that they are running for updates in accounting standards.
Also, by upskilling your team, you are enabling them to work independently, and creating a talent pool of your own – which could be beneficial when you need to recruit for the department. This is also a highlight to attract new recruits – showing that the company cares for their employees and promotes growth within.
Promote team spirit
This can be done in various ways. Remember, if your team spirit is low, this is a sure sign that they are demotivated.
Start with the small things – whether it means standing up for your team, or taking your team out to socialise or de-stress after a tight deadline. Both show a commitment from you to your team.
Create an annual/quarterly/monthly event that your team can look forward to and bond outside of the work environment. Where they can let their hair down and show their colleagues a different side of themselves. This will also allow you and your team to have a better understanding of each other.
Also, depending on your company and their corporate-social initiatives, you could work together on social upliftment projects for your areas. For example; donate a few hours to collect books for unprivileged schools, collect old baby clothes for abandoned children, or make lunches for underprivileged school children.
Be understanding and flexible
All employees are different and have different circumstances. Some are married/single, with/without kids, etc., and all of their needs are different. It’s important to be understanding of those needs in order to promote a more productive working environment.
If a team member is running a little late because it’s the first day of school for their child, or if their spouse is in hospital, or even if they need to run an important errand, make it known that as long as their deliverables are met, you’re okay with allowing for that flexibility. This is becoming a key feature in modern organisations.
Remember, through the many different ways to motivate your team, the key points to note are the following; understand, listen, be flexible, recognise star performers, and create a work environment where your team can be productive without any impediments. This will be sure to take them from walking dead, to striving success.