Even the best employees struggle with motivation from time to time, making finding ways to give employees a boost of motivation when they need it most is an important skill for any business owner or manager to develop.
Lack of motivation can quickly lead to burnout, a common experience for many employees, especially in high-pressure work environments. Burnout can be defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. If left unaddressed, burnout can negatively impact productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. In fact, a study by Gallup found that burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take sick days and 2.6 times more likely to be actively seeking a new job.
If you were wondering how to motivate your employees in 2023 and avoid burnout, you've come to the right place.
Causes of Burnout
Burnout is often caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Workload: When employees are expected to take on too much work or work long hours, it can lead to physical and mental exhaustion.
- Lack of control: When employees feel like they have little control over their work or their work environment, it can lead to feelings of helplessness and frustration.
- Unclear expectations: When employees are unclear about their role or responsibilities, it can lead to confusion and stress.
- Lack of social support: When employees feel isolated or unsupported by their colleagues or managers, it can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
- Values mismatch: When employees feel like their values are not aligned with the company's values or their work is not meaningful, it can lead to a lack of motivation and purpose.
8 simple ideas for improving workplace motivation
There are plenty of effective ways for motivating employees. From high-level managerial culture decisions to making the little moments magical, you can easily start increasing workplace happiness for your team and diminishing burnout without blowing through your budget or spending too much of your valuable time on this matter. Let’s dive right in!
1) Create manageable goals
The power of small goals has been studied extensively, so it’s a great place to start our list. When building goals that your teams will use as targets for their work, make sure at least half of those goals are manageable and not too big in scope. If most of the goals provided are going to take months or even years to achieve, it won’t do much as a day-to-day motivational tool.
By having achievable goals right in front of them, your teams will be more likely to stay motivated because that next target feels like it is within reach. There is a degree of satisfaction that comes with achieving any goal, and you want employees to feel that satisfaction regularly, rather than only once in a while. Yes, it will take some effort to build these goals in a logical manner, but the reward of them feeling success is worth the cost.
2) Lead with positivity
One of the primary objectives for anyone who leads people is to keep those people feeling motivated and optimistic about the future. And being generally positive is a big step in that direction. That doesn’t mean everything has to be sunshine and roses, of course, and constructive criticism is always going to be part of the job. But maintaining an overall air of positivity is a trait that the best leaders share and your organization as a whole would be better off if all managers followed that example.
There are plenty of strategies that can be used to be a positive, stabilizing presence as a leader. As a starting point, focus on being a member of the team, working alongside employees to actively solve problems and reach company goals. When the team sees you working hard to help them succeed, you’ll garner respect and help to keep their motivation topped off. During busier times, sending employee appreciation messages to your team can be a simple way to help drive that positivity.
3) Don’t miss meaningful occasions
Throughout the year, there are sure to be many notable dates that come and go on the calendar as it relates to your staff. Everyone on the team has a date that they got hired into the business, so that work anniversary is going to come around once per year. There are also birthdays and other personal milestones that deserve to be celebrated.
These dates are a great chance to make people feel valued and seen within your company. For example, regularly sending employee anniversary gifts to show your appreciation is an easy way to show your team that you value their efforts and have remembered this important date.
You may also want to take advantage of Employee Appreciation Day for this purpose. Employee Appreciation Day is an annual event each March and it serves as a good reason to plan something meaningful for the members of your team.
4) Embrace a seasonal schedule
When you think of the traditional nature of work from generations ago, there was a seasonal nature to labor. For instance, farmers would spend part of the year working very hard on planting in the spring or harvesting in the fall. That intensity of work was not maintained for 12 months, however, and there were periods when they slowed down and worked on less urgent tasks.
This seasonality has largely disappeared in the modern workplace, and burnout is often the outcome. If you are asking your teams to work at the same high level of intensity week after week, month after month, they are going to struggle to stay motivated. When designing the schedule that will determine what projects your employees work on, keep in mind the concept of seasonality and how it can help your teams “recharge” between periods of high effort. Even just taking a week from time to time to work on some easier tasks and prepare for the next big project can help keep burnout at bay.
5) Randomly demonstrate gratitude to team members
People love a good surprise. Make it a point from time to time to reward some or all of your employees will thoughtful appreciation gifts. These kinds of surprises can serve to break up the daily grind and remind team members that their efforts are valued and appreciated.
Snappy Gifts can help you show your support for the team in a convenient and affordable manner. During a busy part of your company’s year, order some gifts that can be presented for no other reason than to say thank you for the hard work that your employees have been delivering.
In addition to gifts, you might reward employees with time away from the office to spend as they wish. For example, during the summer months, look for opportunities to give everyone some extra time off, such as closing the office early on Fridays.
6) Be understanding
Life, and work, don’t always go the way we plan. Despite the best efforts of your employees, some projects aren’t going to work out as desired, and clients or customers may be lost along the way. Or, time at work may need to be missed for personal reasons, like an illness or family matters that must be attended to right away.
People greatly appreciate working in an environment where they are respected as people who have lives outside of the office. When work life and personal life are forced to clash, being met with an understanding boss or manager who is patient and understanding can make all the difference. And, when it’s time to get back to work, that employee will be likely to feel far more motivated to deliver great work for a company that was so understanding and respectful during a difficult time.
7) Set the right tone with new employees
As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. When you welcome a new employee into your team, that’s a great time to do something unexpected and show them how excited you are to have them join the company. As a starting point, you can send out a welcome to the team email that introduces the new employee to everyone on the staff and helps them to become quickly integrated into the office environment.
Generally speaking, motivation isn’t going to be a problem for a new employee, as they will want to work hard from the start to prove their worth and show what they can bring to the team. With that said, it’s still important to set the right tone and reinforce the idea that they have made a good choice in deciding to join your organization.
8) Reward great performance
Perhaps more than any other tactic, consistently rewarding great performance in your organization is a great way to keep employees motivated. When someone consistently delivers results that move the company forward, and then that person is rewarded with something like a promotion or raise, it sends an important motivational message to the rest of the team – do good work, and it will pay off.
It's important for this to be more than just lip service. If your company is always talking about valuing performance and effort, but it never shows up in a tangible way, motivation may tail off. It will be hard for employees to find the desire to go the extra mile unless they see a clear path for how that effort is going to benefit them in the future. Consistently promoting from within and showing a willingness to financially reward those who stand out is what can turn a good company into a great one.
Increase motivation in your workplace from today!
There will always be an up-and-down nature to workplace motivation. At certain times, it will seem like your team is flying high and they need no encouragement at all to keep doing a great job. When that motivation wanes, you can lean on some of the ideas above to pick everyone back up and get on track once again. Snappy Gifts would love to play a role in keeping your employees at the top of their game, and help you show gratitude and appreciation at the moments that matter most for your team. Sign up for free today to get started or, if you already have an account, make someone smile with a thoughtful gift to show them how appreciated they are!