How to Stop Procrastinating Staff (and Boost Morale Too)
It's one of the big things on the minds of the majority of office managers out there and one that has no easy answer;
'How do I make my staff work harder while also keeping them happy?'
It's a fair question, we all answer to someone and they almost always want more. These days, we're expected to work harder but we are sometimes given more freedom in the way in which we work and operate. These two approaches can usually clash but there are ways they can work well together.
As you may already know, harder work = better productivity = more profit = happier directors. However, this can often be at the expense of the morale of the people lower down the working ladder. On the other hand, happier staff = better productivity = more profit = happier directors. So how do you find the happy medium? In this post we're going to cover a few ways that you can help to boost your staff's morale whilst at the same time encourage them to work harder, in some cases without them even knowing it.
1. Be Inspirational.
It might seem like a simple concept but it can be a tricky one to grasp. More often than not people need inspiration, in every walk of life. They need to hear things that will make them feel better and that will encourage them to work harder. This can be both on an individual basis as well as within a team. So how can you approach this in the workplace?
During an inspirational meeting with your team, talk about what a terrific job they're doing but how you're going to need more from them. Make sure to start on a positive and end on one too. This is known as sandwich feedback as you're sandwich-ing anything negative between the positive feedbacks. For example, if you're going to tell your team how well they're doing, then do that. In the middle add how you're going to need that level of dedication even more and then end by once more telling them how terrific they're doing. In that same context, briefly tell them why you need to keep up that level of work, like if one of your biggest clients is sending more work your way over the coming months, but make sure to end on a positive that will satisfy your staff.
If you're speaking to an individual, talk to them about their achievements and how well they're doing at particular tasks. This shows that you're noticing their skills and that, in doing that, they're obviously drawing positive attention to themselves. Be sure not to sound patronising though because that will have an adverse effect on the member/members of staff you are wanting to inspire.
Transformleaders.tv makes a very interesting point on being an inspirational leader:
"The more inspired we are, the more our limbic brains will communicate that inspiration to others at a very deep and subconscious level. Here's a quick exercise to prove this point. Pick your favorite (sic) inspirational leader. Now ask yourself, were they inspired themselves? Did they have a message that they were so convinced of, they could not help but convince you about it?" (more on Transformleaders.tv)
Being inspirational is indeed a psychological issue, as is most of management, but this is one of the key ingredients to make for a happy team of people that work hard and feel like they are doing well.
Which brings us nicely onto our next point.
2. Let them know they have a say.
We like to feel involved, it's built into most of us. We like to feel that what we're doing makes a difference whether it's to our family, to the environment or our jobs. We spend a huge amount of our time working so we like to feel proud about what we do. It's essential to make staff feel as though they are contributing to the greater good of your organisation. On some level they already know it, but there's nothing better than actually hearing it from someone who is in a higher role than they are.
It's also good to make employees feel that they have a say in how the company works in day to day operations. This is known as the democratic leadership style.
"The democratic leadership style, which is also sometimes referred to as participative style, actively involves employees in the decision-making processes of the organization. While the leader maintains control of the decision-making process and has the final say, workers are given a voice in the decision-making process. One of the more effective leadership styles, democratic leadership encourages collaboration in the workplace and gives workers an active voice in the decision-making process. This type of leadership style can have a range of effects on employees." (more on eHow.com)
No-one wants to feel like a cog in a machine, especially a small one, so this is a small and simple way to make people feel involved and inspired. However, don't just say it...mean it. Often you'll hear great ideas from employees that you may not have thought of yourself. Let's not forget that they are out there working and may be better placed, in some cases, to know where changes need to be made. So it works on two levels.
3. Treat Them As Individuals
Everyone is an individual and nothing is more transparent to a lot of people than being treated as if they're the same as everyone else. We're not saying that you should find out the life story of everyone who works with you, but pay attention to their attributes and the way in which they work.
One of the greatest misconceptions of modern business is that everyone should be an extrovert. Everyone is different and some people are introverts, that's simply the way it is. Yet everyone is, more often than not, expected to work in a certain way where being outward rather than inward is rewarded. Some of the most creative people will often be introverted. A video posted on the TED Talks website illustrates this perfectly.
There's nothing worse for motivation than not being treated like an individual and it should certainly be considered higher on the scale of how to make employees happier so they work harder in the long run.
4. Make Changes to the Office
Often, making changes to the working environment can have a surprisingly large impact on the way that your team operates and how they work together. Things as small as having a spring clean can make a difference, but beyond this there's also the aspect of switching the office around once in a while to free up more space and to make a more liveable working environment. As mentioned before we spend a vast amount of time working, so why not make the environment in which we do this better?
On the other end of the scale you need to make your office work for the better. There are low cost ways of modernising your office and making it work better for the benefit of your staff and productivity. Having your documents digitised by a document scanning company, like Pearl Scan, can make a surprising difference. The fact that all documents will be computer based means there will be less walking around and searching through cabinets for files. The office will also feel like a more modern and progressive environment and, because this is a low cost way of improving the way the whole office works, it'll please your bosses and the budget too!
5. Incentivise and Have Fun!
Incentives are a great way for staff to feel more involved and encourage them to work harder. We're not necessarily talking about prizes for the best sales people at the end of the month or a free meal for the person who does the most paperwork, but use your imagination. Perhaps something that's also entertaining or something that will give them less time in the office but will inspire them to work harder as Susan Vernicek of S&J Identity – Identity Magazine explains:
"Here are a few ideas I believe work & have experienced in the past.
Have Late Day Mondays. Once a month allow your employees to arrive an hour late on a Monday morning – or leave an hour early on a Friday.
Take pictures: Every office has an aspiring photographer. Ask that person to take candid shots of employees, and add them to the "Humor" (sic) section.
Play with the dress code: Hold an "Ugly Tie," "Ugly Pants," or "Ugly Sweater" day. Award prizes."
(more on Toilet Paper Entrepreneur)
These could seem a little tacky, but they have been proven to work. It makes the working environment a little more fun and can be very inspiring when it comes to getting that little more out of your employees, as well as getting to know them a little better too.
While a lot of these solutions are up to you to implement, here at Pearl Scan, we can help you with creating more space options in your office for employees to work in. If you would like some more information on the document digitisation services we offer as well as other great scanning and document management solutions, take a look at our website or get in touch to speak to a member of our friendly and experienced team. For a free, no obligation quote for your scanning project, complete our online form by following the relevant links below.
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