As 2018 gets going, business leaders around the world will certainly be thinking of new ways to make improvements, and thus add a few more zeroes to the bottom line.
One mistake that many executives often make is to focus so much on the products and services side of things to the detriment of the people who actually make up the company, and make every innovation, product release and fulfilled order possible.
Whether you fall into that category or not, these five tips will help you build up the morale and energy of your employees, and set your business up for amazing productivity in the new year.
1. Set collective goals and break them down
We often hear about the importance of setting personal goals and restating them on a regular basis. With companies, it’s even more important, since there are a lot of people whose eyes need to be kept on the ball.
Make sure that all employees are deeply aware of the company’s vision, and as much as possible, get their input on what the overarching goal for a month, quarter, or year should be.
Having done that, break down the goals by departments and by individuals to make sure every single person knows what they have to do for the collective target.
For best results, make sure the goals are SMART– specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Doing that will make sure that instead of saying, “You need to make more sales,” you’d say, “For the next two months, we need you to close 10 deals per week.” Clear goals always yield better results.
2. Keep track of performance
Records are important for any project, and boosting your employees’ morale is no different. Having the entire picture will enable you to identify the specific units and employees that you need to focus on, and you’ll also be able to compare the results in different periods to see the effectiveness of your plan over time.
There are many ways to do this, from performance reviews and questionnaires to even desktop monitoring.
What you need to do differently is to be open and transparent about what you’re doing, and why it’s important. That will ensure that everyone understands and participates with a contributory mindset, as opposed to getting defensive.
3. Open communication channels
An open atmosphere that encourages feedback is crucial to the motivation of your employees. It’s what allows you to talk to an employee about drops in their performance without causing a negative reaction, and it’s what empowers an employee to come to you with their concerns.
One good rule of thumb is to give praise to individuals in public, but dish out personal criticism only privately. Don’t go overboard with the compliments though, or your compliments will lose their effect and you’ll begin to seem patronizing.
Depending on the size of your organization, town hall-style meetings would be a good way to exchange ideas on specific issues that your employees may have.
Be as specific as possible when asking for feedback. That way, they’ll know that you’ve done some work in discovering their pain points, thus making it more likely that they’ll open up on key issues.
4. Introduce a reward system
Positive incentives are great at keeping employees hyped up and pumping out their best work throughout the day.
There are a variety of ways to reward employees, but the underlying goal is to make sure that they feel recognized and truly appreciated for excelling at their work. You could give them a bonus, send them a handwritten note or give them a gift.
If you’re going the gift route, it’s best to ask around to find something that they’re going to like, or you could go with something evergreen.
Whatever you decide to go with, let it be a public presentation (though you can make exceptions so you won’t discomfit especially private people) so others can get the message that hard work will always be rewarded.
5. Build a fun culture
The culture of the company is an oft-repeated factor when it comes to workplace productivity, and for good reason: A positive workplace culture can have a significant effect on profitability, while a negative one can ruin it.
An open-door policy is important, but you should also consider other factors to see if they can be improved.
For example, the physical convenience of the workplace is often overlooked. Check to see if there are ways to improve the ergonomics of the workstations or the placement of essential appliances like the photocopier. Go over and above the minimum safety regulations so your workers will see that you care for them beyond the bottom line.
Other things you could implement are group outings to watch a game, see a movie, or just go across the street to eat at the nice restaurant there. As they say, the team that plays together, stays together.
In all, improving workplace morale is a continuous project that’ll require you to be creative, focus on what works and amend what doesn’t. Follow the five tips above, and you’ll be way ahead of the competition in building a highly productive workforce.