Everyone has experienced burn-out or a season of feeling sluggish about work. It can be hard to get through a major project or busy season if employees feel this way and if it lasts, can make it hard to retain good employees. No workplace is perfect, but there are ways to foster an environment of support and motivation.
Nobody wants to feel like a number or an unknown timesheet. Employees want to feel noticed and a part of the team. Responsible and effective communication not only provides employees with the information they need to perform their jobs well but also so they can make the best decisions. Communication does not only include staff meetings and one on one evaluations, but could mean daily interactions, congratulating staff on life events, or wandering around the office to check in with departments. All will show your employees that you are engaged and care about their work. If you are doing your best to communicate actively, it will cut down the chances that your office will become dysfunctional. With an open-door policy, employees will feel more comfortable to address concerns head on and be motivated to come to a conclusion before it can fester and spread throughout the workplace.
A lot of motivation comes from independence and just doing the work itself without feeling micromanaged. After clearly communicating boundaries and areas that you want to receive feedback on, provide more opportunities for self-management and autonomy. This may include adding the employee to specific email lists within the department or giving them more of a voice at meetings. For employees that desire or need more independence, let them head up a project or a team.
One of the reasons for burn-out or complacency is that employees want to continue developing skills and knowledge but don’t get the chance to. Work becomes menial when there is no more challenge in it. Plan trainings that are interesting or even unconventional. Sit down and discuss what goals the employee wants to accomplish in 6 months or a year and ask how you can help them achieve them. Cross train employees in other roles and responsibilities to allow them ways to flex different muscles.
Recognition is vital for motivation. Do not wait for a big sale or major project to be completed to hand out praise and rewards. Visit an employee at their desk and verbally thank them for a specific contribution. Buy coffee and donuts one morning or simply write a thank you note. This will let them know that you see what they are doing and appreciate it.