In everyday business, it’s natural to experience peaks and troughs in performance against KPIs. However, if you’re noticed trends and your KPIs are way off track, the first place to look to resolve the matter is with your people – after all, it’s your people who perform the duties to attain your business goals.
Its very easy to focus on the bottom line and as a business owner or manager, KPIs are likely to be what most of your success is based upon. When you look to uncover what the causes are, you will find at least a percentage of the problem is in the morale of your staff which will directly impact their performance.
However, this is not always easy to identify on the surface.
Looking out for these signs can offer a great indication as to if your employees are disengaged and not as motivated as they could be.
- Negative changes in performance – missing deadlines, poor quality work, low volume delivery
- Decreased enthusiasm – staff have become more negative or pessimistic when talking about up and comings work-related tasks or projects
- Increased absence from work – there is a spike in sporadic sick days
- Increased staff turnover – staff are leaving in high volumes and potentially don’t return after a period of sick leave
What Affects Staff Motivation?
There are many factors that affect staff motivation and not all of them will be to do with the workplace environment. In fact, it’s more likely to be your staff’s personal problems and these may or may not be linked with work situations. For example; an employee is feeling lost in life and as such may be questioning their career choice.
Whilst you cannot control what happens in your employee’s personal life, you can provide certain support measures to help them manage this within the work context.
Here are four very effective and powerful approaches you can take to get staff morale quickly back on track and begin to see your business results improve.
Sadly, many leaders fail to get to know their employees to avoid becoming too ‘friendly’ and losing authority. Yet, the very best leaders are not feared by their staff, they’re respected, and that respect is mutual.
What’s the very best way to gain the respect of your staff? Trust and transparency.
One of the biggest areas which can have a near instant impact on your employee’s motivation levels is building a supportive and trusting relationship with them. Get to know them – what are their interests? how do they spend their free time? What’s important to them?
The best way to achieve this is to provide opportunities to meet with them on a one to one basis regularly.
In these one-one meetings be sure to start by chatting about non-work-related things – ask ‘how are you feeling?’… if their answer is ‘ok’ or you sense a less than positive emotions behind it…dig deeper with another question… ‘what does ‘ok’ look like?’
Be sure to not make this the Spanish Inquisition! Don’t just ask questions, have a conversation and reveal your vulnerabilities too by opening up when the opportunity to empathize with them arises.
A leader allowing themselves to become vulnerable is another great way to gain healthy respect from your staff.
In doing so, you not only uncover powerful information about what makes them happy (or not), you also show them you see them as an individual, they’re important to you and you are here to support them through any difficulties they may be facing.
Providing opportunities in the workplace to have a bit of fun or just do something different can really help keep your staff refreshed, renewed and motivated.
Try scheduling a few activities throughout the year to give them something different to look forward to. Whether that’s a staff away day or perhaps hiring motivational speakers to reignite their passion.
It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it achieves the outcome of staff engagement. However, avoid choosing things you’d personally like to do and instead ask your people what they would most enjoy and put it to a majority vote.
Take an individual and flexibility approach to your leadership style can be the difference that makes the difference here.
Once you have an established relationship of health mutual respect, you will begin to find your staff will open up to you when they’re in need of support.
It’s important at such times, to provide a tailored approach and address their individual situation and needs.
As an example, let’s say in a one to one, you uncover that one fo your staff is struggling with a personal issue which is negatively impacting their productivity. Ask them what they need to make the situation easier for them – do they need to come in a bit later to be able to attend regular appointments – be flexible and allow this whilst keeping within the contractual obligations (as in they would need make up the time).
If it’s a mental health problem, encourage them to visit their GP if they haven’t already done so.
Another important aspect to achieving consistent staff morale is to provide feedback! Be sure to acknowledge your employees’ individual achievements.
It’s also just as important to respectfully address areas for improvement as this for many means they will strive to improve in order to gain even more recognition, especially once they know you dish it out! After all, they can’t change something if they’re not aware of it!
There is a fine balance though. By providing feedback as part of your regular catch up it can become an expectation that is met with understanding rather than negativity. So, pay attention to performance and make note of achievements and opportunities for the growth of your employees.
If you want to provide rewards you can do so, but here’s the interesting thing – it’s doesn’t have to be financial!
Rewards can vary and for some acknowledgment and recognition is enough. For some it will be setting them a challenge and for others it will be providing opportunities to do something they enjoy doing, like a special project.
The key is to find out what constitutes a reward for them. You can do this by asking them the question ‘what motivates you?’ You can then tailor your approach based on their response.