The numbers are staggering: 69% of workers share that this has been the most stressful time of their professional careers, with 70% feeling less productive due to increased stress and anxiety over the past year.
Employees’ needs are different now than they were a year ago, and, as a leader, while you may not completely understand the daily obstacles that your employees face, there are still ways to improve your leadership style to support and push them to succeed. We put together a few handy tips to help motivate employees in the new year.
Even if your team’s productivity has fluctuated over the past year, it’s more important than ever to highlight wins and offer positive feedback right now.
The proof is in the pudding – 75% of employees who are recognized by their manager once a month report being satisfied with their jobs, and that number jumps to 85% satisfaction for those who are recognized weekly.
Recognition doesn’t have to be team- or company-wide to be effective, even in one on one sessions, employees that feel valued are proven to be more engaged with lower rates of turnover. If you have to provide negative feedback, there are a variety of techniques you can tap into, like “sandwiching” – offer praise, then point out the behaviors that need improvement, before wrapping up with a final positive statement.
We found out in 2020 that Zoom fatigue is all too real, but it’s still important for your employees to feel they have safe spaces where they can connect with each other (think: virtual watercooler).
Create opportunities where workers can spend time together beyond the context of work by encouraging informal meetings, like eating together, chatting over coffee, and happy hours.
Better yet, motivate employees by talking to them about the way they spend their time offline and create programs that tailor to those hobbies. Book clubs, cooking competitions, exercise classes, and philanthropy are all age-old culture boosters that translate well to a virtual environment.
People don’t know what they don’t know. And making the transition from being in-office five days a week to completely-remote working has meant a lot of lost knowledge transfer.
In most cases, workers don’t even realize that they’re losing each other as resources because the information exchange was previously so informal. If a team member had a question, they could just drop by their coworkers desk or send them a quick message. Today, after months of communication breakdown and time apart, those once-thoughtless moments are now all but extinct.
To combat communication bottlenecks, encourage complete transparency across your team and your organization at large. One way to do this is by offering “office hours” where team members can drop into a video call with you, or each other, to ask questions, strategize, or just chat. By promoting 360-transparency, everyone knows what’s going on and why, pushing employees to work together (and usually producing a greater result.)
Working from home comes with a host of perks, like flexible schedules and cutting out commutes, but autonomy goes beyond office hours. Workers desire a true sense of ownership in their work, and the more autonomy they’re granted, the more motivated and trusted they feel.
As burnout and outside pressures take a toll on countless workers, mental health and work-life balance have also skyrocketed to the forefront of leaders’ minds. Support your team members by offering mental health days or breaks within the work day to give everyone a much-needed brain break.
Ultimately, expressing appreciation and humanizing the remote workplace as much as possible will be keys to driving your employees in the new year. We’re all traveling through uncharted waters, so the additional support and understanding when things continue to stay a little sideways will result in loyal, hardworking team members for years to come.
Looking for traditional ways to motivate employees and improve your team and organizational performance? Check out our weekly podcast, TalentStorm, for great insights on talent and leadership every Thursday morning!
Esteban Gomez is a marketing consultant with interviewstream. He loves learning and has a passion for traveling, having visited many countries including China, Colombia, Italy, and Peru.