With the right combination of knowledge and skills, a motivated team can accomplish almost anything. But even the best team can experience dips in motivation at times, and then it is largely up to you as their employer to get your staff back on track.
With roughly 66 percent of employees willing to quit if they feel unappreciated, how can you make sure to properly recognize your team’s efforts and consistently maintain high levels of motivation in the workplace? Fifteen members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share their own experiences and practices to keep their staff motivated.
#1 Be transparent
After years of trying to communicate our vision and how we’re performing, I finally opened up all the information to the team last year. They see salaries, whether we’re profitable, what clients are performing well, etc. Now, everyone knows when times are great so they can be motivated to build on momentum, and also when times are rough, so we can all pitch in to help the business. —Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
#2 Talk about the why
People want to understand how what they’re doing impacts the business and its mission, so don’t be shy about connecting the dots, especially when it comes to routine or mundane tasks. Remind your team how their hard work and dedication is adding value. Your big why is not just for buyers, it can create loyal employees as well. —Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems
#3 Share profit
We use peer reviews to spread profit-sharing to those on the team who go above and beyond and exhibit a helpful work mentality. It’s proven to be a great way to motivate our team and to make sure we reward them for all of their hard work. —John Hall, Influence & Co.
#4 Set daily goals
Every morning, my team and I share one major goal over Slack that we hope to accomplish for the day and later report whether we met our goal. This strategy helps the team feel more connected, accountable and motivated to focus on what’s most important. —Mark Krassner, Expectful
#5 Give frequent positive feedback
You have to celebrate your little wins. No matter how small, be consistent and frequent with praising your staff. The more you do it, the more they will grow to expect it after they submit their work. It becomes a great validation tool and one that can easily increase and spark motivation. —Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
#6 Have a Friday Freeday
We set aside every Friday afternoon for a time we call Friday Freeday. This is a time for everyone to work on side projects or learn about new technologies, whether it is related to what they are working on or not. This gives everyone the opportunity to continue learning and exercising their personal creativity, which acts as a great bookend to every week and jumpstart to the next. —James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
#7 Implement an employee recognition program
Employees want to be recognized for the value they bring to the team, and a great way to do this is through an employee recognition program. Create a community for your team where employees can interact with each other, recognize individual efforts, reward team members and understand your team culture so you can recognize employees in a way that is beneficial to them. —Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent
#8 Break bread together
An initiative that we’ve recently implemented to improve motivation and encourage engagement is company lunches. Twice a week, we take to our office picnic table and tuck into a delicious lunch provided by a corporate food delivery service. This allows our team to catch up with one another and it’s a great, casual way to break the ice with our new hires. —Stephen Ufford, Trulioo
#9 Have fun
Occasionally, we like to do something out of the office just for the sake of having some fun. Last week, we visited a karaoke bar. Before that, we had an office tennis day, and before that, a ski day! Enjoying non-work related time with the team is a great way to improve office morale and motivation, as it helps establish a relaxed, personable culture, and it helps strengthen relationships. —Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments
#10 Hold out-of-office events
Aside from the usual holiday party, I try to maintain at least four to six company outings over the course of the year. Half of these are designated for drinks and dinner—leisure—while the other half is for team-building exercises such as Escape the Room, followed by drinks and dinner, of course. —Stanley Meytin, True Film Production
#11 Walk it out
Our office is located in the largest open-air street art district in the world, so we walk and discuss problems and strategy. This simple ambulatory meeting provides an equal space to create solutions and motivate any team member. We are believers in the concept of flow and in solving a problem at the right time, rather than forcing solutions. Solutions become obvious and fun. —Matthew Capala, Search Decoder
#12 Reward initiative
We encourage employees to voice ideas that could improve our products and workflows. Too many companies don’t give their employees a voice in decision-making. We take suggestions seriously, whoever they come from. It’s hugely motivating when employees realize that we’re happy to give them credit for their ideas and spend time implementing them, rather than having everything imposed by managers. —Vik Patel, Future Hosting
#13 Do yoga, meditate, create vision boards
Initially, we held team yoga sessions, which was helpful. Then, we added five minutes of meditation after the 20-minute yoga routines. These helped everyone focus and release tension. But what increased motivation was having everyone create vision boards, including check-ins, where we evaluate how our reality aligns with our vision boards. —Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance
#14 Play brain games
We play a brain game every Monday meeting to get things going. We rotate who hosts these meetings, so it’s up to the presenter to have something ready. Whether we play trivia or do a team game, it’s always a good way to bring people together after the weekend. A solid brain game can get the juices flowing and increases the motivation of all who are involved. As a result, we saw a huge uptick in productivity. —Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam
#15 Have Friday lunch and fun
We take our team out to lunch every Friday and then afterward play a series of board games, video games and ping pong in the office while discussing the previous week’s performance and goals. It provides a relaxed environment to let go and discuss any problems and solutions to those problems so that everyone is ready and happy for the week to come. —Jason Applebaum, Egear Media
The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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