2020 was a tough year for everyone — your team included. The pandemic caused problems for businesses the world over, and employees have been trying to keep things afloat for their companies for months now. That kind of pressure has a serious impact on worker wellbeing, resulting in something of a COVID burnout epidemic.
As the pandemic continues with no clear end in sight, it’s up to business leaders to help their teams out. It can be difficult to keep a team motivated even in the best of times, so those who are trying to do so now are in for quite the challenge. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost your paddle in the middle of your journey, here are a few ways to get your team moving with the current again:
1. Set clear goals.
Motivation is far easier to generate when your team has something to work towards. Right now, thousands of teams are trying to keep it all together, just trying to see their company through to the other side of COVID. Instead of letting your team slog through the mud with no clear end in sight, give them clear objectives to work towards. Whether it’s increased revenues, boosted efficiency, or higher client retention, give your workers a clear goal to strive for and watch their motivation rise in turn.
Be sure to match these goals with rewards as well. Outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that nearly 35% of companies said they would never offer bonuses last year, but that number plummeted to 19% this year. Tying additional compensation to meeting certain objectives will just give your team something to work for.
2. Focus on motivation’s origins.
Too often teams forget where motivation comes from. This can lead to bad habits being formed over time, and employees getting into ruts that they have trouble getting out of.
Jason Jaggard, founder of executive coaching firm Novus Global, had his own experience with burnout. He explains that motivation doesn’t come from circumstances, but instead from how people choose to manage their thoughts. When motivation slips it’s because your team is relating to their work and each other in non-resourceful ways. By reconnecting with their “why” and taking responsibility for their own emotions, they become more able to navigate slumps.
It may sound preposterous at first — what team finds motivation through a meeting? — but brainstorming is the gateway to better team morale. Even remote brainstorming sessions can help get the ball rolling on what keeps your team excited and thriving into the future. Brainstorming as a path to motivation boosts is common practice among enterprise businesses, so smaller players should get on board too.
Marissa Letendre, an HR consultant whose client list includes the likes of Amazon, has seen employee engagement increase significantly among businesses that allow their employees to brainstorm company wide initiatives for sustaining morale.
4. Shuffle tasks.
No employee is completely siloed: almost all successful businesses have some kind of delegation system in place. Even so, how well do your employees really know what the other members of their teams contribute to your company? The deeper the understanding your workers have of the overall mission, the higher their motivation will go in turn.
Create a list of tasks done by your team that could effectively be switched around without hampering productivity. See to it that each of your workers gets a taste of what the others do on a daily basis; this can create a sense of cohesion among your team that will persist through even the most difficult motivational slumps.
5. Take mental health breaks.
A lack of motivation doesn’t just hurt on-the-job productivity: it has a tangible harm of your workers’ sense of wellbeing. Being unmotivated in your career makes it difficult to get up in the morning and relax during the evenings. Simply put, if you think your team is unmotivated during working hours, just know that they’re being hit just as hard off the job.
That’s why mental health messaging service app Shine launched its National Mental Health Break campaign — and other companies followed suit. Whether it’s a bit of time off in the afternoons or an extra handful of vacation days, your team deserves some time all their own for their mental health. Great leaders know that it’s their responsibility to give it to them.
Motivation is a crucial part of doing business, but it’s in short supply during times like these. As you work to rally the troops through to the finish line, make motivation a central part of your strategy — your workers will thank you for it down the line.