1. Communicate every chance you get.
Your employees rely on you for encouragement, leadership, and feedback. Communicating openly and often with your employees is crucial, especially during times of transition. You can significantly improve morale by giving your employees consistent chances to communicate with you and with their team members. Schedule regular meetings to give praise, provide leadership direction, and talk through feedback.
An open-door policy is particularly beneficial. Encourage your employees to come to you with anything they need to talk through—ideas, frustrations, questions—so that they feel listened to and seen. Employees who know that you care will feel more connected to your mission and will be more motivated to step up to challenges as they come.
2. Find opportunities to present a challenge.
Employees who aren’t productive may actually just be bored. Monotonous work will not ignite your employees’ passion and, therefore, will not motivate them to help your company reach its goals. Show them that this position is one that will advance their career and teach them more about the industry. To achieve this, you can present your employees with structured or open-ended challenges—depending on their personality—and ask them to find a solution. The ability to take charge and infuse creative problem solving into their everyday work could be just what they need to be more engaged.
3. Encourage career education and development.
Your employees’ new challenges don’t always have to come from you or the team. Make career development opportunities available to your team and encourage them to take advantage. Learning and networking can motivate your employees to take on new responsibilities or share their knowledge with their coworkers. For a little extra challenge, ask them to present the information they learned to the company or their team.
4. Show your appreciation.
Employee appreciation can go a long way in morale. In fact, in a recent survey, 71% of employees say that they would work harder if they felt more appreciated. You can show that you appreciate your employees with small (or large) gestures such as gifts on birthdays and holidays or celebrating important milestones. Verbal appreciation and giving “shout outs” on your team meeting calls can also make your employees feel seen and valued. Think outside of the box and get creative!
5. Set the tone from the top.
The phrase “tone from the top” has become a cliché, but it’s an excellent guide. Leaders who lead by example show their employees that they believe in what they say. You have a great deal of influence in the way that your employees view your company’s culture. Your actions speak volumes about the business’ core values—more so than a poster with a list of its core values in the conference room.