How do you make your team feel good about coming to work?
If your work isn’t appreciated, your efforts aren’t noticed, and you don’t feel valued, would you like to go to work? No one would, and it would lead to falling employee engagement and poor productivity.
American motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.”
A happy and driven employee is likely to be an engaged team member, which is why it’s every team leader’s responsibility to make employees feel valued and motivated.
We list down six ways you can ensure that your team feels good coming in to work every single day:
Be flexible in multiple ways
Continued research shows that a flexible workplace improves work-life balance, boosts motivation and ensures engagement. It also avoids employee churn and retains talent. So offer flexibility in any way you can – it could be the freedom to arrive and leave early, one afternoon a week off or telecommuting options a couple of days a week.
Why: Working with an employee’s individual schedule tells them that you value their contributions to the organisation. Giving them some leeway ensures that they feel good – about themselves and the firm.
Be a leader, not a boss
The words boss and leader are not interchangeable, and every good employee knows that. Teams that produce the most effective and long-lasting results are those directed by leaders, not bosses. So be adaptable, accountable, guide the team (as against controlling them), and enable and encourage them to take suitable risks.
Why: Unlike bosses who motivate with fear, leaders motivate by figuring out what lets their team members to perform at their highest potential.
Offer a platform and listen to their ideas
Listening to employees is critical for every organisation and team leader, but is a tool that’s often ignored. Seek their opinions on projects, timelines and inquire about changes and improvements they would like implement for better workflow. If you get some genuinely great ideas, use them. An occasional workplace show-and-tell is a good idea to share practices that work best for every employee.
Why: Telling employees to share their tips and methods validates the fact that they are valued, boosts their confidence and makes them feel good about returning to work.
Learn to give credit, accept blame
Most employees are unhappy as bosses often take the credit for their teams’ success, but don’t stand by when goals are not met. A leader who takes responsibility for failure is rare, but also much appreciated. Be specific with praise to reinforce behaviours through positive feedback. And make sure you make the praise public. An achievement certificate for an employee who’s done really well or a dozen cupcakes for a hard-working team are simple ways to make employees feel acknowledged and appreciated.
Why: Public recognition of achievements, big or small, is the best way to give employees a pat on the back and boost team morale.
Delegate and let team members make important decisions
The trouble with most bosses is that they have a fear of delegating, fearing that no one else can do the job as well as they can. However, it’s important to delegate so that the team takes ownership. Assign tasks and let go but follow up periodically to ensure that things are on track.
Why: Verbal appreciation, bonuses and perks are important, but showing that you trust someone’s opinion and expertise is far more valuable. Letting team members make important decisions for the organisation makes them feel valued, instills pride and boosts self-esteem.
Move things out of the office
Spending time together out of the office is a great way to strengthen the bond between teams and employees. Be it an off-site event or an unexpected team lunch, it puts the focus on things other than work and makes employees feel valued. Try scheduling fun and engaging activities outside work hours once in a while — cooking classes, sporting events or book signings. Celebrate important milestones such as birthdays and company anniversaries.
Why: In-office perks are important, but out-of-office events show employees that they’re worth the extra investment. And they’re fun.
The bottom line? The more you recognise an employee’s specific contributions to the team, the more irreplaceable and valued they’ll feel.