The year 2020 is one we won’t soon forget. Whether you had to close temporarily, or your business surged, everyone is exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious about the future. Vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel, but most pandemic precautions will need to continue well into the new year. So how can you turn things around and motivate your employees in 2021? Here are five tips.
Set an example
Your employees will mirror your mood, so focus on staying positive. Yes, 2020 was challenging, but there’s a whole new year ahead. Learn to frame problems as opportunities, make creativity a priority, and give everyone permission to laugh. You’re all in this together, so work on becoming the positive, forward-thinking person you want your team members to emulate.
Social distancing will be necessary for some time, so let as many people as possible continue to work from home. For those who need to be on-site, offer flexible scheduling. Some people do best in the mornings, while others don’t hit their groove until noon. Letting your employees follow their natural biorhythms will also improve productivity by tapping into the times when their motivation is highest.
Clarify expectations and celebrate achievements
People are the most motivated when they know exactly what they’re working toward. Skip the minutiae, set clear goals and milestones, and celebrate every time the team meets a milestone. Be sure to give clear feedback on what they did well, so they know which behaviors to repeat. Also, offer tangible rewards, such as a gift card or a bit of time off, for reaching major goals.
Just five minutes per hour can boost motivation by giving employees time to rest and refuel. Keep healthy snacks and plenty of water on hand, and remind your team members to eat and drink regularly. If it fits into the budget, consider adding a game or two, such as air hockey or foosball, to the employee breakroom. Otherwise, suggest a short walk or other relaxing activity.
Hovering over employees while they work can make them feel self-conscious and demotivated. Tell them what you want and then trust them to produce it. Make yourself available for assistance, but go from the assumption that they are capable. This will boost confidence and, ultimately, motivation.
Give your team members the opportunity for growth. Offer management training or classes in specific skills. Let them pick upside tasks that are outside their primary job duties. This will help them feel like they are growing and moving ahead.
Though 2020 was rough on everyone, and 2021 will likely be a transitional year, there are steps you can take to boost your employees’ motivation. Think positive, lead by example, and help your team members find balance, and you can all move forward together.
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