It’s hard to motivate your team. In an age where quiet quitting is running rampant and countless professionals are turning to freelance work, a staff’s overall motivation & engagement can be the difference between atmospheric success and critical failure.

Motivation in a work environment used to be similar to motivation in a sports environment: coaching, encouragement, and pushing people to go the extra mile. Now that remote work is the norm and being picky about your opportunities is standard, motivation comes more from a job and company itself than the boss at the head of it.

That said, of course a leader should motivate – but nowadays they should be taking a backseat to the culture they’ve created. Let that culture be the key to your success.

Here are seven great ways to motivate your team, both personally and professionally.

Flexible Everything

Start by making your people comfortable and happy! Hybrid work has opened the door for employees to request flexibility in all sorts of facets, whether it’s the location they work from, the schedule they work on, or the vacation time they get. It’s best to grant them (almost) all the customization they want.

A Forbes study found that 46 percent of job seekers said that flexibility is the most important factor when it comes to job searching. Once they’re in the office, University of Birmingham research suggests that workers who experience higher levels of workplace autonomy also report higher levels of job-related wellbeing.

Being strict about scheduling and on-site working may pay off in the short term, but it greatly damages your culture in the long term. Give your team room to carve out their own path.

Recognition and Rewards

We love talking about recognition and rewards at HelloTeam so much because they’re an excellent step in any initiative for a leader looking to rally their team. It’s the most basic principle of psychology – rewarding good behavior begets good behavior. Thus, you should motivate your team by offering rewards for their hard work!

You can do this through a fully fledged rewards program, your own company-specific ideas and incentives, or simply through tons of personal recognition. Some certain HR platforms have badges you can customize and award to employees for reaching important milestones.

A manager isn’t the only person who can recognize a talented employee, however…

Peer Recognition

Believe it or not, SHRM discovered that peer-to-peer recognition can be 36% more effective than top-down recognition. When an employee’s work friend gives them kudos for a job well done, it feels particularly important.

Now, we admit that it can be pretty hard to naturally foster a culture of peer recognition. You could hire team members that have an affinity for encouragement, you could discuss it in meetings, or… you could look into a program that enables your team to recognize their peers from their phone/computer.

An HR platform with virtual high fives can act as a peer-congratulater and an avenue for recognition in front of the whole team. We happen to know of a place or two you can find such a tool…

Smart Goal-Setting 

In their annual Employee Engagement Research Update, BlessingWhite Research asked respondents about what would most improve their work performance. Twenty percent of all respondents – and over thirty percent of disengaged workers – cited “greater clarity about what the organization needs me to do and why” as their #1 answer.

There’s nothing more deflating than starting a work day without being sure what you’re doing. That’s why you need to make your team’s goals specific and measurable with smart goal-setting strategies. Maybe someone works better with daily tasks and markers, while another person works better with a long-term destination they accrue progress towards. 

Two of the most proven goal-setting methods are SMART goals and OKRs, which can help individuals and teams alike with goals to strive towards. Motivate your people by giving them something to shoot for.

Give Them Upwards Mobility

Did you know an enormous 93% of American employees say they would remain at a company longer if it gave them career opportunities? We’re all looking ahead, and if your employees don’t have an “ahead” to look at, they’ll lose motivation and either quiet-quit or actually quit.

The solution is to hire more from within your company and to lay out plans for certain team members you know are seeking a promotion. The 2021 Workplace Learning Report actually determined that employees at companies that more commonly hire or promote from within typically stay about double the time as employees at companies with low internal mobility. You can build a veteran team that’s more motivated while saving money on recruitment.

A Company Mission Statement

Organizational mission statements are one of the most underrated ways to engage and motivate employees. If you’re trying to build a culture, why not create a foundation out of one sentence?

A mission statement tells everyone, employee and customer alike, who you are and what you stand for. If you want your culture to center around equity and DEIBA, reference that in your statement. If you believe your company does the right thing and helps people’s lives, reference that. A great mission statement can rub off on your team and excite them about being a part of a worthy cause.

Just remember to walk the walk, of course – live up to your statement!

Get Pumped Up

Our last step is to motivate the old-fashioned way. Whether in one-on-ones, performance reviews, or boardroom meetings, revving everyone up and getting them ready to tackle their goals is an effective and immediate tactic to energize your team.

Coaching strategies vary from workplace to workplace and industry to industry, but the rule of thumb wherever you are is that you have to be able to tell the difference between someone who’s ready to be hyped up and someone who has a few hurdles to get over first.

If an employee’s getting ready to “quiet quit”, they won’t be excited about any sort of motivational tactics – quite the opposite. That’s why you have to keep an eye out for your most disengaged team members and address issues on that front first. Remember to be understanding, encouraging and patient.

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