How can you and your team stay motivated through the dark days of January? New Year’s resolutions and good intentions can soon begin to fade. Help your people hang on to their mojo, and protect their productivity, performance and morale. Here are eight ways to nurture motivation and keep it strong throughout the year.
Get everyone together
It’s helpful to bring everyone together – virtually, if not in person. This gives you a chance to realign everyone’s priorities, bring attention to any important dates and emphasise the company’s goals. You might choose to highlight last year’s successes and ensure everyone knows what this year’s targets are. Clarity is always helpful. It unites the team, allows employees to focus on the challenges ahead, and shows them how their work will make a difference.
Show recognition and gratitude
Sometimes it’s as simple as saying thank you – research suggests that 70% of employees believe motivation and morale would improve “massively” if their managers said thank you more. When employees feel that their work is valued and appreciated, job satisfaction levels rise. People feel a sense of achievement and are motivated keep up the good work. There are many ways to recognise and reward employees but don’t underestimate the value of a sincere but simple thank you.
Strengthen company culture
Fragmented teams, scaled down offices and a shift towards hybrid working can drain your team’s sense of cohesion. Soften the impact of change through clear, positive direction. This will strengthen your company culture by empowering and energising your staff. Consider organisational structure, your leadership style, and your values, as well as pay and benefits. All of these things influence company culture, even small changes can make a big difference. People are looking for a more caring work environment, and these days are more likely to leave their job in order to get it.
Focus on professional development
In the last six months, there’s been a shift in the balance of power at work. The values of many people changed during lockdown, leading employees to value companies that reflect their new way of thinking. The ‘great resignation’, that made headlines last summer, was driven by a desire for change. Tap into this need by offering people a chance to upgrade their skills through professional development. This can be done by meeting your people at the beginning of the year, enabling you to discuss their ambitions, set targets and create a 12-month personal development plan.
Introduce new incentives
In the depths of January, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. Incentives always provide a little extra motivation. Perhaps start 2022 by offering new rewards. Incentives always create a buzz of excitement, giving employees something to push for. But beware, this can potentially backfire. If such recognition is too slow to materialise, or lost among a bigger round of rewards, it can have a detrimental impact on motivation and engagement. Timing is key.
Promote a good work life balance
Employees now regard work life balance as the most significant factor when looking for a new job. According to a 2021 survey of 190,000 people, 65% rated work life balance over anything else, knocking salary off the top spot for the first time in seven years. In fending off fatigue and burnout, it’s important to set boundaries – particularly in a hybrid way of working, when work and home can easily blend into one another. When employees feel overworked, stressed or unfairly treated they become disengaged and disinterested in their job. Help them to restore balance by encouraging them to think about their wellbeing.
Don’t leave people in the dark. Communicating business plans with employees is an essential part of leadership. Even if you can only communicate virtually, help your team to see the bigger picture and allow them to understand how their contributions make a difference. If employees understand where they fit into the equation, they are more likely to work harder in order to achieve their goals, which in turn will benefit the business
Listen and trust
Ask employees for feedback. Stay open to new ideas and suggestions, and show that you’re listening by making positive changes. If employees feel they have a voice that is heard and that matters, they will have a stronger sense of worth. This can be enhanced by trusting and empowering your people. Give employees the authority and autonomy to take control of how their job is done. Employees who are responsible for their own success are much more likely to put their all in to avoid failure.
Leadership is easier when everyone’s riding high, feeling rested after a break and bubbling with ambition. However such a high degree of motivation isn’t easy to keep going. Our training course on motivation explains how to capture it, use it and stop it evaporating when you and your people most need it. In the gap between New Year’s resolutions and the joys of spring, focus on the little things that will help you and your team stay focused on the broader direction of travel.
For more on motivation, visit our complete guide to Professional Development.