It’s hard to stay productive when motivation is at an all-time low. Since the Bronze Age, battles have been won and lost solely due to troop morale.
In the office, it is no different. Nowadays, managers and small business owners are looking at new ways to boost their employees’ morale and increase their overall performance.
Here are some 7 ways to do so effectively.
Give Them the Tools They Need
You can’t expect your workforce to “plough” the fields of paperwork merely with Bronze Age tools.
If you wish to stay competitive and maintain peak performance, you need to arm your “soldiers” with the right equipment. There’s nothing worse than having to go about things manually — this is what causes employees to go on auto-pilot mode the most.
Instead, you want to streamline your workflow and automate all the non-essential processes that just get in the way of things; for instance, making (daily, weekly, monthly) reports.
These tools include project management software such as Basecamp and Trello; communication apps such as Skype and Slack; cloud storage; Google Drive; etc.
With these in hand, your employees will be able to work not only faster but smarter, and won’t have to deal with menial labor as much (which is the ultimate mood breaker).
Focus on Recruiting People that Are a Cultural Fit
If we don’t count sleeping, we spend more time at the office than we do at home.
Hence, in some weird way, our workplace becomes a home away from home. That is why it is imperative to create a pleasant (family-like) atmosphere for your workers and co-workers to enjoy. This will not only make them more comfortable but will also maximize their productivity and co-ordination.
One way of doing this is by carefully selecting people that fit well together and are of the same mindset — a culture fit.
Now, apart from making them better colleagues, you’ll accomplish one other thing — you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary conflicts and frustration caused by personality clashes.
These will cost you both valuable time and resources; not to mention that they could even spell whole projects to fall apart. So, recruit smart, and think about the future.
Provide Proper Training
There is nothing worse than sitting in a tiny cubicle, left all by yourself, without any instructions on what you’re supposed to do (and how).
We watch horror movies to get that thrill of the unknown, we don’t need that inside the office. A worker is more likely to accomplish more if they know exactly what is expected of them and are properly trained to perform the said tasks. Give a man a fish… you get the idea.
Now, this will not only make them work better but more efficient as well. Namely, by successfully training (and re-training) employees you provide them with a sense of accomplishment.
This, in turn, boosts their confidence and, as such, plays a huge role in their overall performance.
According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that invested in their employee’s training programs enjoyed higher income per employee averages (by 218%) than those who did not.
What’s more, they also had better employee retention levels due to higher employee satisfaction.
Pay on Time
This one is huge.
Though some employees might claim that their job fulfills them and that they do it out of sheer pleasure, the majority is in it for the money.
Kings were dethroned and tyrants removed by their own armies when “checks” were nowhere in sight. Luckily, today, thanks to the advent of technology, business owners need not fear mutineers inside their own ranks.
There are neat employee income cards that cut much of the unnecessary paperwork — along with cashing fees — that come with checks. In essence, these cards provide employees with quick and easy access to their money; the whole payroll process is fully automated, allowing everyone to sleep soundly at night.
As a result, they will have one less worry on their minds (and fewer headaches from having to deal with all those misplaced or missing payrolls).
Provide Small Incentives
You’d be surprised just how small incentives can go a long way. Mind you, these needn’t be monetary rewards, but something as small as a day off or a gift voucher.
Set clear rules and create some friendly competition amongst your workforce. For instance, for every target (or milestone) reached, throw an office party or organize a night out with your team.
You can even go all the way and organize competitions between whole teams and/or other departments; the winners get the spoils.
In general, this should present some harmless fun and additional encouragement for your employees to perform better.
Though, be mindful that some employees are more competitive than others and will go to great lengths (even sabotage) if the prize is too appealing. Hence, try being more creative with your prizes to avoid such a scenario.
One of the worst things you can do inside the office is act as a literal overseer and breathe down your employees’ necks. Your office is not a kindergarten, your employees should be able to take care of themselves.
Superfluous micromanagement just causes unnecessary frustration in your workforce which will see their performance levels drop. What’s more, they’ll get the opinion that you don’t put a lot of faith in either them or their abilities.
Avoid using time-tracking software or, for instance, personally checking every single task (no matter how menial) as it will only clog the machine even further with unnecessary bureaucracy.
Instead, trust your employees and delegate more. Provide them with some autonomy and they will complete their tasks a lot faster and learn something along the way.
Cut Down on Meetings
Speaking of unnecessary bureaucracy, reduce the number of meetings as much as you possibly can.
These are not only great mood killers but (surprise, surprise) great productivity killers as well.
A lot of times what was said on these meetings could’ve been compiled and sent via email instead. Just think about it, if you take a whole team of people off a project for an hour or so (repeatedly), you’re lowering the amount of time they have to work on the said project.
In the end, this just brings added frustration to the whole because time was lost, when it could’ve been used more wisely, thus lowering their performance.
In conclusion, work on creating a close-knit community of colleagues and take it one battle at a time. Celebrate those small victories and convert all of that positive energy into productivity.