How do you meaningfully motivate your employees when they are rightfully worried about their jobs and their bonuses? Employees want to be encouraged about the future, but news about the economy, conversations with some customers, and input from others in the organization can often leave them feeling uncomfortable and unsure. Plus, every time they open a newspaper, surf social media or read CNN.com they’re bombarded with bad employment numbers, stories of layoffs, and a fluctuating stock market.
How do you balance these conflicting ideas, maintain a positive environment, be truthful, and keep employees focused both the present and the future? Here are three ways to navigate the storm from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Edmonton:
Focus On Teamwork — Times of trouble make teamwork more crucial than ever. This is the period when you should clarify your company’s goals and missions, and how your particular team and its members contribute to that vision. As a manager, highlight likely opportunities for the future, and explain how your team will be part of those projects. Cementing this team mentality will give them a sense of ownership, which is essential to feeling invested and envisioning a future with the company.
Create Great Communication — Hearing about possible changes through the grapevine causes panic and makes employees likely to look elsewhere for new employment. Make yourself visible and approachable. Listen to concerns, and address them when you can. Make phone calls to off-site employees, email regularly, and physically walk through the office more than you normally would. And consider creating and maintaining an internal online intranet, newsletter and/or social media site to keep employees up to date on company news. Digital tools like these cost little but can have a big impact.
Create Quality Of Life “Raises” — Along with emphasizing teamwork and a communal mission, you can encourage education and learning, which will help employees see that you’re investing in them. See if your company can pay for education, on-the-job training, health initiatives like workout classes or even quality of life “bonuses” like Summer Fridays. If financial cutbacks make that impossible, promote free or inexpensive initiatives, like peer-to-peer mentoring. The bottom line is find out what matters, besides money, to your employees and try to make it happen.
Finally, remember that managers cannot retreat to the office and hope the situation will simply cure itself. Times won’t always be tough, but how you handle your staff during tough times will reflect more on you as a manager than the easy times. See this as an opportunity to grow, and your team will follow your lead.
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