The coronavirus has shaken the status quo and created untold quantities of uncertainty for business owners and employees around the globe. Whether you’re working from home or trying to reopen a brick-and-mortar business, it can be difficult to stay positive at times.
As an entrepreneur, it’s even more challenging to keep your employees’ morale up. If you’re struggling to raise the spirits of your staff — let alone yourself — here are a few tips and suggestions for different ways to inspire and motivate your employees during difficult times.
Lead By Example
In the same way that you might draw inspiration from the example of strong women in the Bible, in history, or in your own past, sometimes the best form of inspiration that you can provide for your employees comes from your own actions. If you demonstrate forward-thinking strength through your leadership, you will gently yet powerfully encourage your employees to stay motivated and focused on the tasks that they currently face.
You can inspire your team through your own leadership in multiple ways, such as:
- Communicating your vision of future success, creativity, and teamwork.
- Demonstrating innovation and creativity as you adapt and adjust to difficult times.
- Showing a knack for strategy and the desire to be as efficient and productive as possible even in a new work environment.
- Being a decision-maker who can make the tough calls when the rubber hits the road.
- Encouraging staff members to buy into your own passion and motivating them to join you as ambassadors of your company’s vision and goals.
If you make an effort to lead by example, chances are your team will naturally follow you without hesitation.
Check in Regularly
Your staff may be working remotely or they may be actively trying to reassemble and work in an office together. Either way, it’s essential that you reach out to each and every member of your team to check in regularly.
You can do this by making a quick phone call, shooting an email, or stopping by someone’s desk to have a social-distance-appropriate conversation about how they’re doing. Make sure to be respectful of personal issues but don’t be afraid to inquire into how they’re holding up under the stress and strain of challenging circumstances.
The one thing you need to watch out for when it comes to checking in is micromanaging. Remember, you’re not checking in to try to catch your employee for slacking off or to simply watch over their shoulder and make sure they’re hitting their quotas. Constant surveillance and frequent disruptions can have a devastating effect on an individual’s motivation. Always check in with a purpose and make sure you’re prioritizing the worker and not the work itself.
Leading by example and checking in can be beneficial, but at times you’re going to need to connect with your employees on a deeper level in order to keep up their spirits. You can do this by showing empathy in a variety of different ways, such as:
- Actively listening to how a staff member feels and what they have to say.
- Explaining that you understand things from their perspective.
- Avoiding the temptation to jump to conclusions or make assumptions.
- Being genuine and vulnerable in your responses.
- Always communicating with your staff in an open and honest manner.
If you can find small ways to empathize and relate to your staff, you will be able to earn their respect and inspire them to serve alongside you.
Review and Adjust Perks and Benefits
You likely already have perks and benefits for your employees but have you revisited them lately? For instance, free coffee is a great perk — until you’re stuck at home during a quarantine.
If you want to motivate your employees to stay focused and involved during difficult times, take some time to comb over what you’re currently offering your employees. Use a benefits and perks template to consider what you have and what you’d like to add. Then, look for areas where things can be adapted to your current situation or even consider adding new things in.
For instance, if your team is working from home, you can replace an outdated or irrelevant perk like a pet-friendly office with something new, like flex time, company-purchased tech for their home offices, or even a coffee subscription.
Invest in Your Employees
Finally, always remember to invest in your staff’s development and growth. If an employee feels like they’re little more than a replaceable cog in a machine, they’ll likely struggle to stay motivated.
However, if you make an effort to help them develop and grow as a professional, it can help to keep their professional passions alive and well. There are many ways to do this. If you have writers, offer to pay for a Grant Writing or Editing course. You could also try to take an employee or two under your wing as their workplace mentor.
Whatever the particular situation, there are plenty of ways to encourage your staff to continue to grow, even when times are tough.
Staying Focused and Inspired in Challenging Times
From leading by example to checking in, showing empathy, providing poignant perks, and investing in your employees, there are many, many ways that you can motivate your team to keep their heads in the game.
The important thing is that you take time, as the boss, to analyze where your staff is struggling. Once you’ve identified where morale is low, you can use the above tips to address the situation in the best manner possible.