Ben Thompson CEO of Power2Motivate, world leader in employee reward and recognition programs, “Energising your employees during cooler months can be challenging. The weather can take a toll on employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. People spend more time indoors, get less exercise and see less of their friends. However, there are practical things employers can do to keep their team engaged and to help them come to work with a spring in their step.”
We suggest the following 12 tips for motivating employees over winter 2012:
1. Recognize and reward your employees for doing good work. Clearly identify your valued behaviors and goals and appropriately reward teams and individuals. There are great rewards and recognition programs that give employees, supervisors and managers recognition for achievements frequently. Reinforcing positive behavior has a sustainable effect on engagement and productivity
2. Plan for success from top to bottom. “Work well with your colleagues if you want your employees to work well together,” Ben Thompson, CEO. Develop a success plan with each employee or team in the company. Hold weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings to discuss plans and goals, and praise great work that is working towards achieving those goals. Provide a focus point and demonstrate progress towards it
3. Train your employees and keep them up to date with industry trends. Employees need to be equipped to handle their responsibilities competently. The right employee training, education and development results in greater contribution to the business, willingness to learn and develops productivity and loyalty. Encourage and support extracurricular studies and learning. If budgets are tight develop internal learning programs which draw on the expertise of your own team. When people are learning, they feel like they’re growing their personal value and making good use of their time.
4. Build a culture of employee appreciation. Cash incentives and public recognition, while nice, do not always make your employees feel totally appreciated. Take some of your short-term morale boosters, like recognising good work with a handshake and a smile, or idea sharing, and turn it into a business lifestyle. Thanking employees face-to-face on a regular basis also helps improve their ability to accept constructive criticism.
5. Make the workplace comfortable. Make small adjustments to your lighting scheme and bring in fun desk lamps if you can’t banish the overhead fluorescent glare. Keep the office temperature at a comfortable level, and make sure all the technology needed to do the job is available and working.
6. Recognise special events in the lives of your people. Birthdays, weddings, births, the accomplishments of employees — if you have a reason to celebrate, do it. This could be as simple as buying a round of coffee for the morning shift. Gather employees and have all the birthday people from the current month stand up and the rest of the office sing to them. It’s corny, and maybe a little embarrassing, but it helps put smiles on faces.
7. Encourage idea sharing. Keep your employees informed about business developments so they feel like they contribute to broader goals.
8. Build a culture of trust. It is essential to build and cultivate trusting business relationships for success and survival. Try this three-tiered approach to building trust with your employees:
- Capability trust: let people make decisions, involve them in discussions, and trust in their opinions and input
- Contractual trust: keep agreements and manage employee expectations.
- Communication trust: share information, provide constructive feedback and speak with good purpose about others
9. Encourage work breaks. Work goes much faster when you are refreshed and ready to take on the assignment after a break, and it keeps employees from getting stir crazy. Have stubborn workaholics in your office? Make your breaks “mandatory.” Put out some treats in the office kitchen and call everyone over for a snack. It’ll get people interacting with their co-workers, and give everyone a much deserved break.
10. Develop employee people “engines.” Strategically placing passionate and inspired individuals around your organisation to help keep other employees focused, motivated, and happy is a great way to keep employees motivated. When you find people with these characteristics, use them wisely. They’ll certainly make your job easier – remember personality is of huge importance when recruiting
11. Have fun. Introduce quarterly themes in to the business and reward with team building exercises, which could range from weeks-long murder mysteries to an all day off-site activity. Be creative and create some friendly competition between colleagues.
12. Smile more. The social environment at work is a big contributor to burnout, the CEO’s demeanor can directly affect the staff, as workers read the mood of the boss for clues about performance and job security. So, smile more often, talk about fun things like hobbies with employees, or crack a joke — just make sure it’s done in good taste.