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Relaunch + employee motivation: tips for getting back to business

Usually, several factors and events affect workers’ daily routine, both professionally and personally. And right now, the current situation touches everyone. How will managers succeed in maintaining their teams’ motivation, commitment, and mobilization? Or flattening the curve of the psychological, family, and social impacts these past few months have had on employees? During a relaunch such as this, the answers to all these questions are of utmost importance.
Generate enthusiasm

Whether your company is planning to reopen their offices or have employees continue to work from home, it would be beneficial to everyone involved if you take concrete actions to motivate your team. Why? Because enthusiasm helps leverage your team’s efficiency and stimulation, which has a direct impact on clients and suppliers. In other words, a positive attitude will help generate positive results.

Several studies show that there is a direct link between motivation, satisfaction, and happiness in the workplace. Thus, a corporate culture that promotes and encourages open discussions, benevolence, and transparency increases its potential for success and growth.

Think back to before the pandemic: many sectors were forced to deal with a labour shortage. Fast-forward to today: the economic landscape has changed, forcing everyone to grapple with new challenges and new employer-employee relationships.

The most agile and performing managers will need to focus on hiring top talents, but also (and especially) on preserving the degree of loyalty of each and every employee. And because everyone is different, personalizing your communications is key if you want to make each team member feel included. Make sure to remind them of their value, importance, and role within the company.

Telework and mobility: the pros and cons

These last few months have made teleworking a new reality for professionals everywhere. And many are the managers who have seized the opportunity to implement and accelerate new corporate practices.

Of course, there are some sectors, such as lodging, restaurants, convenience stores, manufacturers, transport, fishing, and agriculture, that simply do not have the capacity to operate from home. But for many others, the horizon has expanded.

Survey: 40% of Canadians are ready to work from home

In a recent survey, Statistics Canada revealed that close to 40% of workers have a job that is doable from home. And according to data collected in March 2020, almost the same percentage of people (39.1%) were, in fact, working from home during that period. This proves how quickly and efficiently the labour market has adapted to the challenges and restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

This new flexibility, although great, also comes with its fair share of obstacles. For many, working from home can blur the lines between home and office, make it harder to balance work and family life, and lead to a certain loss of privacy.

Workplace motivation: home or office?

Probably both! Some employees might feel more motivated by combining the two; going into the office a few days a week to interact face-to-face with colleagues, partners, suppliers, and clients, while staying at home a few days a week, thus avoiding the commute and the stress that comes with it. One thing is for sure: any improvement in an employee’s quality of life will have a direct impact on their professional satisfaction, motivation, and productivity.

In this vein, a survey conducted by Robert Half recruitment agency revealed that of 500 office employees who made the switch to teleworking during the pandemic, 55% found a better work-life balance. And in all, 74% said they would like to continue working from home more often post-pandemic.

Managers in tune to these demands, without looking to control everything, will most likely benefit from a significant increase in employee motivation, production, and loyalty. In Quebec, the Leger Happiness Index offers approaches, tips, and a questionnaire to evaluate and compare employees’ degree of happiness in the workplace. This index is great for both employers and employees, all of whom are sure to find sources of inspiration therein to help with their professional motivation.

In Quebec, during the month of June, the index was at 76.3%, despite the pandemic. As stated in the index: “Happiness in the workplace is profitable, productive, and contagious. The opposite feels like a chain weighing us down. Right now, can a company really afford to have unhappy employees?”

Satisfied employees are more productive and contribute more towards a company’s financial health. Your team is bound to be more motivated if you take the time to recognize their hard work, all while sharing your ambitions and strategies.

By promoting an open and transparent environment, you’ll benefit from an essential factor when it comes to your relaunch: commitment. This profound involvement, both individual and collective, will only strengthen and help grow your business.

Tips for increasing your team’s motivation
  • In addition to the traditional annual evaluations, consider planning shorter one-on-ones on a regular basis. You can get the ball rolling with a simple: “How are you?”.
  • Give positive feedback, making sure to cite concrete examples, and discuss areas of improvement as well.
  • Ask your employees to give YOU feedback on how to improve your approaches and methods.
  • Adopt a humane approach when discussing sensitive issues such as absenteeism, individual and global performance, employee turnover, and lay-offs.
  • Survey your employees in a confidential manner, to better understand their feelings and expectations within the company.
Stimulate improvement at work

  • Apply operational optimization strategies.
  • Re-evaluate the company’s efficiency and work procedures.
  • Encourage mentorship and teamwork.

Improve access to work tools

When employees work from home, they are sometimes limited in terms of access to certain work tools, which can lead to frustration and demotivation, both of which can affect performance. Remember: efficiency helps increase workplace happiness.

  • Are your work tools accessible, efficient, and useful? To simplify teleworking, you could opt for a cloud solution that comes equipped with several features, such as teleconferencing, chatting, collaborative tools, and a single number for all your devices.
  • Do your employees have access to a high-performing Internet connection? If they don’t, you could opt to have them install business-grade Internet to help make working from home easier.
  • Does your company’s digital environment allow employees to easily access files, folders, sharing features, and communication tools?
  • Are your data storage, access, and update solutions safe, simplified, and stored properly?
  • Is your company security optimal?

Be flexible

  • Be flexible, all while remaining rigorous; try not to create any unnecessary stress or pressure, which could lead to demotivation.
  • Find the right balance: some employees perform better when they are allowed to be autonomous, while others prefer a structured work environment, clear and concise instructions, and more feedback.
  • It’s up to you to adapt, not the other way around; by doing so, you’ll be viewed as a reassuring and caring leader.

Improve your communications

  • Be on the lookout for signs of exhaustion, discouragement, or stress. During unprecedented times such as confinement, juggling home and work can lead to stress, insecurities, exhaustion, and discouragement.
  • Be proactive and calm should you need to adjust certain corporate practices.
  • Share important information and upcoming changes with employees.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your true self and demonstrate empathy.

Foster team spirit

In conclusion, a good leader is someone who knows how to celebrate their team’s good work, encourage collaboration, and create an environment where team spirit thrives. When it comes to motivating your troops, nothing is better than making them feel like they belong, like the team is united and ready to advance towards the same common goal.

Organizing team activities, virtual or not, and planning special occasions where everyone gets to discuss openly with one another are great ideas when it comes to breaking social isolation and encouraging team spirit.

Additional tips for preserving employee motivation

In wrapping up this article, and because just like your employees, you too need to remain active, motivated, and ready to take on any upcoming challenges, here are some additional tips.

Garder la motivation au travail malgré le confinement : professor in human resource management at UQTR, Stéphanie Austin shares her top tips, both for employers and employees.

Manager pendant la crise, quelles bonnes pratiques? : a French magazine that offers a ton of suggestions on how to keep teams united and mobilized.

Comment mobiliser les travailleurs dans un contexte de crise? : associate at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Jean-François Boudreault shares his observations, as well as how involving employees in solutions can be helpful.

In the coming years, motivation, enthusiasm, and an employee’s level of commitment will play a crucial role in companies everywhere. Those who hop onboard now are bound to go further in the long run.

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