How to Keep Your Team Motivated During Tough Times

Taking Care During Difficult Times

The business world can be an unpredictable place. There are times when an unexpected slump can suddenly hit even the most successful companies. 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 valuable tips to keep your team motivated:

Keep communication lines open

There’s nothing more terrifying than being left in the dark during 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 essential, such as the steps your company is taking to adapt to the current situation. This will keep them in the loop, and 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 if they need to talk about their concerns. 

Ask employees for suggestions

Every time you reach out to team members, ask them if they have any ideas or suggestions that they think will help the company. Being open to their feedback can increase the level of engagement and keep your team motivated. 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 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 their hard work, especially amid 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 completing a big project. It will surely increase their motivation and motivate them 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, 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 stop it, your team may think that you no longer care about them or that you’ve lost faith in the business. Through training seminars and workshops, keep the ball rolling 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 knows a particular 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 usually would. Remind them of the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and that you don’t want them to burn out.

You can even offer them a flexible work schedule 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 essential to show compassion and empathy during these situations as your employees are indeed experiencing struggles at work and in their personal lives.

But before anything else, you can only keep your team motivated if you are encouraged 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 morale during tough times, too. 

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

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

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