As Australia’s eastern states stumble through another lockdown it goes without saying that the motivation of workers is beginning to wane while monotony takes its toll. Meanwhile businesses are on the cusp of a productivity slowdown. A recent report from the Productivity Commission showed that during the initial lockdown last year, output fell faster than in previous recessions, with economic growth per person over the past decade slipping to its slowest rate in 60 years, both in terms of GDP per capita and income per person.
Still, there is a solution to keeping workers motivated and businesses thriving, but it will require you to fix one of the most significant aspects of your business: culture.
Organisations that don’t put a spotlight on their culture can quickly find that they are losing the energy and initiative that makes innovation possible. A massive shift in collective consciousness is needed. While this may seem a little abstract and daunting, fostering a nimble and nurturing work culture starts with five core beliefs that can be practically applied easily.
Here are some easy-to-apply strategies that organisations and their leadership teams can employ to keep their workforce motivated through the lockdown.
Treat your workforce like family and friends. Checking in with your colleagues to make sure they are okay helps foster trust and understanding. Remember, you don’t book meetings with family and friends so these check-ins should take place naturally and be driven by empathy.
Think small to create small connections that will affect a broader positive culture. Fostering a positive culture starts with small bubbles. Get your chief executive or senior executives involved in more intimate social events with three or four colleagues, rather than a company-wide Zoom.
Be authentic. Share the good, the bad and why you think there is light at the end of the tunnel. Try to develop authentic awareness amongst your team, where you accept the things that are challenging and reassure each other that the end goal is achievable. Try implementing group sessions where nothing is off the table, letting your team be real about challenges at work and in their life.
Break it down. Set your short term goals together and promote the shared purpose of the team. By chunking down your vision into smaller easily achievable sections, you allow your team to sufficiently see progress from start to finish.
It’s okay to not be okay. Some of your team may be handling things better than others. Lean into this by suggesting those who are okay help those who aren’t. By inviting your colleagues to help each other you can develop a culture of internal support and understanding, where motivation comes from everyone in your business, not just your senior leaders.
Motivating your colleagues through positive culture is derived from the empathy you have for one another. It takes time, but little actions will go a long way in addressing the big problems your business faces. So next time you’re staring at a sea of glum faces through Zoom, remember to check-in and be a human first, boss second.
Brad Bennett is Co-Founder and Business Agility Strategist at EPiC Agile