The day in and day out of work, and life in general, can take a toll on us all and impact how we interact with others. For instance, one Dale Carnegie study found that as many as 45 percent of the workforce is not engaged and another quarter are actively disengaged. Yikes!
And if you aren’t purposeful and proactive in building your team back up, it can leave your crew feeling stressed out, underappreciated, and perhaps devising an exit plan. In order to pull these employees back from the fringes, employers have to be willing to expend some effort, though not necessarily cash. When employees feel cared for and believe in the company as well as their leadership, the employer-employee relationship tends to become stronger as a result.
Here are seven simple, inexpensive ways to keep your team motivated and engaged.
1. Celebrate milestones.
Remember what I said about the monotony of life? Work is no different, so breaking up the days, weeks, months, and years by celebrating key milestones can breathe life back into your crew. Show your team that you care by celebrating work anniversaries, sales records, birthdays, marriages, and births or adoptions of children. Virtually everything is fair game.
2. Cultivate a culture of growth and learning.
In our constantly connected society, people — including your employees — can get bored easily, especially if they’re tied to a singular, unchanging role. One way to combat this is to create a culture of learning that is linked to an internal career ladder. Teammates can cross-train and develop additional skills that, ultimately, lead to new career opportunities within the company.
3. Remember people first, employees second.
Sometimes we can get stuck in this one track mind setting and forget that our employees are people too — not just busy worker bees — complete with multifaceted, robust lives outside of work. Your employees need to know that you care about them as people first and foremost and then as a valuable addition to your team. Take an interest in their lives, hobbies, and dreams. Value their opinions, both personally and professionally. Tap into what matters most to them. An Energy Project study found that employees who feel cared for by supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the company and are 67 percent more engaged.
4. Be available and present.
You’re busy, likely to the point where you feel like you can’t take on even one more task. I get it. But you can’t let your “busyness” interfere with being present and actively engaging with your team. Believe me, they know when you’re truly focused on the conversation and when your eyes are wandering and your fingers are inching closer to your smartphone.
Research by Gallup has shown that employees place a high value on communication from leadership in regard to both professional responsibilities as well as their lives outside of work. Engagement increases when employees feel their managers are invested in them and take the time to communicate frequently too.
5. Ditch poor performers.
This one sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But keeping poor performers on the payroll can destroy company culture and coworker motivation in no time flat. Your productive, hardworking employees can quickly become frustrated, resentful, and downright angry when others are floating by, seemingly impervious to any consequences. Weeding out bad apple candidatesearly in the interview process is ideal, but if they sneak through, cut your losses sooner rather than later.
6. Arrange team competitions.
Team competitions can be another way to break the day-to-day monotony and also provide opportunities for teammates to excel in different areas, including soft skills such as leadership, problem-solving, and communication. Employees not only learn to work together toward a common goal, but the exercises can foster comradery, new friendships, and mutual respect. Competitions, like sales contests, can certainly take place inside the restaurant, but don’t hesitate to conduct team-building exercises in other locations too. You can usually find lots of fun team-building activities with a little digging. From escape rooms to sports to obstacle courses, try to think outside the box.
7. Pay for performance.
Verbally recognizing an employee’s achievements and contributions can go a long way to spurring motivation and engagement. But if you want to up the ante, consider boosting their pay or offering a bonus. And if your budget won’t accommodate those incentives, try gifting a valued employee an extra personal or vacation day instead. Regardless of the option you choose, your employee will feel valued and appreciated.
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