Employee morale and motivation play an essential role in the success of any organization. Employees are more likely to be productive and committed to their work when they feel valued, engaged, and motivated. The responsibility of a manager is to create an environment that boosts morale among your team members. But how do you boost employee morale and motivation? More importantly, how do you find ways to motivate every individual on your team? 

Ideally, your team will be diverse in all the ways people usually think of. Race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age are the typical ways we think of diversity. However, diversity has another element. People with different motivators, work styles, and ways of thinking about things are vital for a successful team. If everyone on your team works and takes on assignments in the same way, innovation won’t happen. You need somebody there to shake it up. 

This can be a pain for the manager. It makes it more challenging to keep everyone happy. You have to be more creative in how you manage people, but it’s not impossible. Working with people who think differently than you can be challenging, but it will make your team better overall. In this article, we’ll review several ways to boost employee morale and motivation by managing to the one.

1. Build Positive Relationships

One of the primary parts of managing to the one is building positive relationships with your employees. Take the time to get to know them personally. Understand their strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. Show genuine interest in their mental and emotional well-being. Create an atmosphere of trust and respect for your employees. Regularly engage with them in one-on-one conversations to provide feedback, listen to their concerns, and offer support.

In this day and age, where more people are working from home and aren’t in the office regularly (if ever), this may feel more difficult. Building relationships over a webcam isn’t as easy as chatting by the coffee pot. Managers must make a concerted effort to have meaningful conversations and one-on-one time. We know you’re busy. We know you’re pressed for time. This takes a long-term commitment to learning each individual’s story. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do when it comes to how to boost employee morale and motivation. We’ll review several options you can implement that shouldn’t take a massive amount of your time.

2. Job Sculpting

Job sculpting is a technique that has proven to be effective in boosting morale and motivation. This involves minor alterations to your employee’s assignments and tasks to better align with their personal strengths and interests. Simply put, job sculpting gives a person slightly more of the work tasks they genuinely enjoy and somewhat less of the ones they don’t. This doesn’t have to be a dramatic shift in their job requirements. More often than not, small changes work wonders. It is key to find the individual factors that motivate your employee and give them tasks that work with those motivators. You can use job sculpting to keep your employees motivated by redesigning tasks, allowing more autonomy, and enrichment. 

3. Recognize and Appreciate

Recognizing and appreciating employees’ efforts goes a long way. Celebrate their achievements, big and small, and acknowledge their contributions publicly if they’re comfortable with that. Completing a big project, work anniversaries, or excellent customer service are all things to celebrate. However, this doesn’t have to be limited to work achievements. Celebrate your employee buying a new home, getting their black belt, or going on their dream vacation. 

Recognition can take form in various ways; it doesn’t always have to be shouted from the rooftops. In fact, some employees would really prefer you didn’t do that. Verbal praise, written commendations, or employee appreciation events are all great ways to help your employees feel valued. Tailor your approach to individual preferences and motivators for the best results. If you have an employee that is highly motivated by recognition, by all means, shout it from the rooftop. Employees not highly motivated by recognition and prefer to keep a low profile would appreciate a letter or personal message to celebrate.  

4. Aspirational Conversations

In The Best Team Wins, we learn that having brief but regular career meetings is a powerful way to gain insights into how your employee is doing. Structure these meetings to keep them short so they don’t waste your time too much. Typically, you can expect to spend around 15-30 minutes with each person. If a serious issue arises, you’ll spend more time, but ideally, that won’t happen too often. Don’t use these as disciplinary, project planning, or project update meetings. Your topics of conversation should be limited to career development, listening to their career goals and ambitions, and counseling them on how to reach those goals. Holding these twice a month with your direct reports will help have many benefits on morale and motivation. 

5. Foster a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is essential when answering the question of how to boost employee morale and motivation. Encourage open communication and establish a culture that values teamwork. Promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements when possible. Invest in employee development and provide opportunities for growth and learning. Foster a sense of belonging by promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace. Encourage employees to ask questions during meetings and regularly communicate the company’s goals and objectives. These all help foster a positive work environment that will motivate your employees.

6. Empower and Delegate

Empowering employees by delegating specific responsibilities and decision-making authority has many benefits. In addition to boosting morale, this cultivates a sense of ownership and autonomy. Provide clear expectations and guidelines for the project so they know what is expected of them. However, you don’t make them too rigid. Allow the employee to use their personal skills and creativity. Regularly communicate, written or verbally, the importance of their contribution. Make sure they know their hard work is helping the organization succeed. 

7. Support Employee Well-Being

Prioritizing employee well-being helps boost employee morale and motivation. Offer resources and support systems to help your employees manage stress. Consider initiatives like wellness programs, flexible schedules, or mental health support. If you’re working in a building with on-site amenities like a gym, ensure your employees know it’s available. Encourage regular breaks, vacations, and time off. This helps your employees recharge while helping them maintain their physical and mental health. When people feel their manager or company cares about them outside their job requirements, they’ll be more productive. 

8. Continuous Feedback and Growth

Part of managing the one is assessing their job performance and helping improve it through ongoing conversations. Replace your formal performance review with a continuous review. Regular feedback and opportunities for growth are vital to boost employee morale and motivation. Provide constructive feedback to help individuals improve their skills and performance. Provide any necessary resources and training to help employees reach their full potential. Recognize and reward progress to keep motivation high. Be sure to provide clear goals and expectations. Poor communication between a manager and employees can lead to misunderstandings and a sense of loneliness. This is especially true for fully-remote employees. Take some time every week or two to communicate and provide any clarification on projects or goals. 

This benefits the employee on an individual level by helping them reach goals and improving their confidence. An added benefit is an enhanced team dynamic. People perform better when they’re assured the people around them are competent and doing their job properly. If they know everyone is receiving the same feedback and monitoring they are, they’ll feel more confident in their teammates. By performing weekly or bi-weekly reviews with employees, you can stay on top of problems. Employees will appreciate not waiting six months to a year to find out if they’re doing a good job. In Best Team Wins, they report that employees who are checked up on weekly are up to twenty-four times more likely to hit their goals. That alone is worth the time and effort of doing brief weekly check-ins.

Boosting employee morale and motivation is an ongoing process. It requires consistency and dedicated effort from managers. By managing the one, you’re treating each employee as the individual they are. Aligning as much as possible with their unique needs and aspirations will help you create a positive work environment.

Building positive relationships, empowering and delegating, and supporting employee well-being help your employees feel motivated and valued. Continually providing feedback, growth opportunities, and aspirational conversations keep employees motivated and engaged in their work. Be sure to find ways to cater to each individual’s motivators for the best results and use of your time. This helps boost employee morale and motivation while also improving retention rates. Remember, employees who feel valued and motivated will be a priceless asset to your organization’s success. 

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