How to Keep Your Team Motivated During Tough Times

The business world can be an unpredictable place. There are times when even the most successful companies can suddenly be hit by an unexpected slump. An example of just such a disastrous situation is the ongoing Covid pandemic, which wrought havoc across the globe and continues to undermine business progress. During challenging periods such as this, you can expect to see a drop in sales and a lack of determination from your entire team. The question is, how do you keep your team motivated when morale is low?

As a leader, it’s imperative to remember that your employees look to you for encouragement and reassurance. Consider yourself as the energy that keeps the engine running. To help you focus your actions, here are a few useful tips:

Keep communication lines open

There’s nothing more unnerving than being left in the dark during times of uncertainty. Lack of communication leads to false assumptions and vulnerability to rumors. To avoid these, constantly reach out to your team and share all the information that you deem important, such as the steps your company is taking to adapt to the current situation. This will not only keep them in the loop, it will also make them aware of the company’s new goals and what everyone can do to help achieve them.

Communication is especially vital when your team is working remotely as this arrangement can leave them feeling isolated. Check up on your team regularly by the means they’re most comfortable with - instant messaging, email, video calls; and assure them that they are free to approach you at any time if they need to talk about their concerns. 

Ask employees for suggestions

Every time you reach out to team members, be sure to ask them if they have any ideas or suggestions that they think will help the company. Being open to their feedback can increase their level of engagement. It will make them feel valued and trusted. Doing this will lead to a higher commitment from your team and improved talent retention.

Asking your employees for solutions is not ‘passing the buck’ - it’s proof that you are an inclusive leader. What’s more, you might be surprised by what your team has to say; their ideas may even be more effective than yours! Knowing that their opinions are valued will give them the feeling that you are indeed helping each other get through the challenges your company is facing, which can be truly rewarding.

Give recognition and rewards

Nothing lifts someone’s dampened spirits better than being recognized for all their hard work, especially in the midst of constant bad news. So, don’t forget to recognize your team’s efforts and achievements. It’s even better if you can provide them with positive feedback right after the completion of a big project. This will surely increase their motivation and pump their energy up to work hard on the next task on the to-do list.

Rewards may not immediately come in financial or material forms. If sales are down or business is slow, you can recognize your people’s hard work with genuine gratitude - which can be just as rewarding! Words of praise have the power to make someone’s day better. Just make sure it’s sincere. It can be as simple as dropping by their desk, surprising them with a video call, or sending a heartfelt email,  just to say ‘thank you for all that you do’. 

Continue to invest in training seminars and workshops

One thing you shouldn’t put aside, regardless of the situation, is the development of your  employees. Growth is a great motivator. So, if you put a stop to it, your team may think that you no longer care about them, or that you’ve lost faith in the business. Keep the ball rolling through training seminars and workshops to create positive learning opportunities. 

Ask your team what they want to learn, then create an individual development plan for each one of them.

If you’re worried about the cost, there are plenty of affordable training courses online. Another way is to use internal resources. Check if anyone has knowledge on a certain topic that will benefit the entire team. Don’t let the tough times make you stop giving your employees a chance to grow. Continue to show them that their future is still important to you and the company. Look at it this way - investing in their development is also investing in your company’s growth.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Tough times can be stressful; there’s no doubt about that. Sometimes, this makes employees think that they have to work harder than they used to. Make sure your team isn’t pushing themselves to the limit by putting in longer hours than they normally would. Remind them of the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and that you don’t want them to burn out.

If possible, you can even offer them a flexible work schedule, especially if you have shifted to a remote working arrangement. Show them that while you need them to continue doing their best for the company, you also value their welfare. It’s important to show compassion and empathy during these situations as your employees are surely experiencing struggles not only at work but also in their personal lives.

But before anything else, you can only properly keep your team motivated if you are motivated yourself. It’ll be hard to urge others on if you’re not in the best place emotionally yourself. 

Your employees will notice this no matter how hard you try to hide it. So, find ways to boost your own morale during tough times, too. 

Employees tend to emulate their leaders, so always lead by example and they are sure to follow.

“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author:

@Dianne Claveria

Date:

11-30-2021

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