Opinion: Motivating workers in tough times

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It’s no secret that keeping employees motivated is one of the primary keys to business success. It’s something the most effective business leaders are always aware of and they act quickly if an issue starts to emerge.  

When times are good, the economy is positive, and business is prospering, it’s not such a task to keep people motivated. But when the economy is difficult or the business is challenged financially, it becomes a significantly more serious issue.

Below are a few tactics to keep in mind when times get tough and motivated employees mean make or break for the business:

-    Ensure goals are aligned with the business mission.  Staying focused on the organisation’s mission is key to helping push through difficult times successfully. Aligning team goals and any social strategies or guidelines to the mission of the company helps to keep everyone’s eyes focused on the same target and headed in the right direction. 

-    Tailor rewards to suit different parts of the business.  Some roles and departments will benefit from flexible telecommuting options, while others may gain an advantage by having their home internet bill covered by the business.  Providing benefits most relevant to an employee’s role helps reinforce to them that their contribution is valuable to the business.   

-    Seek feedback, listen actively and act on concerns.  Actions speak much louder than words, so by showing your people that their worries are also your worries, they will feel heard and more satisfied in their roles. 

-    Plan ahead, share those plans, and bring your employees into the decision-making process wherever possible.  This will help to increase employee engagement and make them feel like they have a genuine say in what’s happening, generating a feeling of, “We’re all in this together.”

-    Get out of the office.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine.  Taking the team out to do some charity activity or volunteer work provides a fresh perspective and a change of scenery that may help people more clearly recognise the positives. It also helps them realise that you are putting in the effort to help them remain motivated.

-    Offer opportunities for development. Even when times are tough, people want to learn and grow.  It’s important to challenge people to challenge themselves in difficult times, to help maintain motivation and instil a feeling of achievement and growth among the workforce.  Learning opportunities don’t always need to be expensive training programs.  A simple internal knowledge-sharing session can spark an idea or learning in another employee that leads to great things.


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