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Tips to keep your employees engaged

Even though spring is just days away now, many employers are struggling to get their workers back to their pre-winter levels of engagement and motivation. So, here’s 10 tips to pull your employees from their cold weather funk and back to their productive best.

According to Power2Motivate CEO Ben Thompson, the long winter months can take a significant toll on employee energy levels.

“It can take a toll on employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. We start spending more time indoors and get less exercise. There are practical things employers can do to keep their team engaged and to help them come to work with a spring in their step.”

1. Encourage idea sharing. Keep your employees informed about business developments so they feel like they contribute to broader goals.
2. Recognise and reward your employees for doing good work. Clearly identify your valued behaviors and goals and appropriately reward teams and individuals. There are great rewards and recognition programs such as Power2Motivate that give employees, supervisors and managers recognition for achievements frequently. Reinforcing positive behavior has a sustainable effect on engagement and productivity.
3. Make the workplace comfortable. Make small adjustments to your lighting scheme and bring in fun desk lamps if you can’t banish the overhead fluorescent glare. Keep the office temperature at a comfortable level, and make sure all the technology needed to do the job is available and working.
4. Recognise special events in the lives of your people. Birthdays, weddings, births, the accomplishments of employees — if you have a reason to celebrate, do it. This could be as simple as buying a round of coffee for the morning shift. Gather employees and have all the birthday people from the current month stand up, and the rest of the office sing to them. It’s corny, and maybe a little embarrassing, but it helps put smiles on faces.
5. Smile more. The social environment at work is a big contributor to burnout, the CEO’s demeanor can directly affect the staff, as workers read the mood of the boss for clues about performance and job security. So, smile more often, talk about fun things like hobbies with employees, or crack a joke — just make sure it’s done in good taste.
6. Build a culture of trust. It is essential to build and cultivate trusting business relationships for success and survival. Try this three-tiered approach to building trust with your employees:

  • Capability trust: let people make decisions, involve them in discussions, and trust in their opinions and input
  • Contractual trust: keep agreements and manage employee expectations
  • Communication trust: share information, provide constructive feedback and speak with good purpose about others

7. Encourage work breaks. Work goes much faster when you are refreshed and ready to take on the assignment after a break, and it keeps employees from getting stir crazy. Have stubborn workaholics in your office? Make your breaks “mandatory.” Put out some treats in the office kitchen and call everyone over for a snack. It’ll get people interacting with their co-workers, and give everyone a much-deserved break.
8. Develop employee people “engines.” Strategically placing passionate and inspired individuals around your organisation to help keep other employees focused, motivated, and happy is a great way to keep employees motivated. When you find people with these characteristics, use them wisely. They’ll certainly make your job easier – remember personality is of huge importance when recruiting.
9. Build a culture of employee appreciation. Cash incentives and public recognition, while nice, don’t always make your employees feel totally appreciated. Take some of your short-term morale boosters, like recognising good work with handshake and a smile, or idea sharing, and turn it into a business lifestyle. Thanking employees face-to-face on a regular basis also helps improve their ability to accept constructive criticism.
10. Have fun! Introduce quarterly themes in to the business and reward with team building exercises, which could range from weeks-long murder mysteries to an all day off-site activity. Be creative and create some friendly competition between colleagues.

Lorna Bretthttp://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au
Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on Twitter @DynamicBusiness