Whether you own your own business, or manage a team, there may come a point where one day you look up and realize that there are little performance issues plaguing your workforce.
Workers aren’t showing up on time, people are lax in their productivity, responsibilities are blurred, quotas ignored, and there’s a general feeling of apathy and boredom.
If you’re in the early phases of a startup, or are looking to make big changes to spur your team forward, the good news is that there are a number of things you can do to get your workers back on track.
Here are five essential tools that entrepreneurs can use to motivate and inspire your team and transform your workplace into a thriving, buzzing hub of productivity.
First, and foremost, it’s important to sit oldand new employees alike down, and communicate your big picture vision. Clearly explain the performance problems and inform them why something needs to change. At this stage, you’ll want to have a clear strategy, with plans to get there.
Present these as new opportunities for workers to grow with the business – a chance for their professional development, not just your bottom line. Be careful not to point fingers or pass blame. Instead, this should be a positive session that will fill them in on where they are headed as a team.
During this time look for ways to motivate your team, and get them fired up about the changes that you’re going to implement. Many people will be adverse to change, especially if they were comfortable with things the way they were, so provide some incentives to encourage them. There’s a lot of different motivations behind an employee’s performance.
Money is a motivation, but behind the money is the motivation to elevate one’s status or to provide for oneself or a family. Money can be provided in the form of bonuses for team members who reach monthly quotas along with other financial incentives like raises that are based on specific goals for the individual or for the team overall.
Three other common motivations are:
- Higher Purpose
Underperforming employees might be missing one or some of these, but you can give them a chance to gain it. Provide your team with more responsibility. Trust them to make good decisions based on their knowledge of your vision. Discuss with each person their lifetime goals and find a way to align their goals with their tasks so they can work toward a higher purpose. And also give them the tools to master their craft and work toward their life goal.
Ask for feedback from your team. One way to get helpful discussion going is by asking your workers which aspects of their jobs they enjoy the least. This can fill you in on areas where resources or time may being wasted, and show you potential places where you can improve working conditions or efficiency. For example, maybe your workers hate how inefficient a specific process is or feel that they have a better way to do a certain task. Often, your workers who are on the ground will have firsthand experience with many tasks and issues, and may be your best allies in coming up with ideas for improvements.
Next, involve your team in the decision-making process. As you identify and discuss various problems, guide the conversation on towards solutions. Try to identify the root cause behind surface issues, and work with your team to come up with potential solutions. As we mentioned earlier, people want to be involved in solutions. They like have responsibility so make the solution collaborative when possible. There will be times when you have the best idea for a solution, but be sure to provide clear reasons and motivations for why. Set performance goals with your workers for improvement, and then hold them accountable to reaching those set targets. Clarify everyone’s roles and their responsibilities, reiterating their importance and showing them how they fit into the bigger picture of the company.
Finally, encouragement can go a long way towards motivating your workers. According to a survey by Glassdoor, 53 percent of employees say that they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss. Appreciation also motivates people to work harder, helping to prevent burnout. When we think of constructive feedback we often only think about feedback that is negative. We tell someone where they can improve, but positive feedback is just as or more important. We respond positively when someone tells us we’re doing something well and we’re likely to continue doing that. Encourage your team as they make progress towards their goals, and be sure to thank them for their work.
Whether you’re managing a small team, or overseeing the entire department, taking the time to check in and discuss strategies and solutions, and formulate action plans with the help of your workers, will allow you to create solutions that everyone will be on board with, and will help your team to get back on track once again.