Feature article

Seven steps to motivate staff

7 tips to overcoming back-to-work blues and boosting productivity with staff.

As the hot summer months progress, with staff coming and going on their holidays, employers have to be at the top of their game when it comes to motivating team members.

Knowing your staff will be a bit sluggish when they return to work; meet this lethargy head on and get them to remember why they like working for you so much. Kate Ross, leading independent recruitment adviser, says it’s all about communication and delivery.

Here are her seven steps to overcoming back-to-work blues.

1. 1:1s are the perfect way to conduct a pulse check

Book a time to do a 1:1 with each staff member when they return to sit down with them and see how they are. Be upfront, how did they find last year? Over the break, did they have any thoughts about the year ahead? If they had any ideas what would they be?

2. Have a back- to-work get together

Have a fun, informal event where everyone can talk about what they’ve done over the holidays, new passions they’ve discovered and plans for the year ahead. It might be a potluck picnic at a local park, an extended lunch break or going out for a team morning tea or breakfast.

3. Get them thinking about their career progression

Staff members may need some prompting to share their plans for their career, but they likely will have thought about it. A clear pathway for their career progression in the year to come will help bring them back on task and motivate them to do well for the business.

4. Check in on their personal goals too

The goals for the year should be both personal and work, the two are interrelated. It can be incredibly beneficial to ask how they are feeling personally. Is everything okay on the home front? Perhaps they have some more caring duties that they feel conflicted about when it comes to the work life juggle. It’s good to get these things out in the open and understand their priorities and concerns, so you can motivate them holistically.

5. Create some future dates to get excited about

Give them some events to look forward to, like conferences they’d like to attend, or any industry networking opportunities coming up. Share an overview in an email they can refer to over the year.

6. Tackle team and culture issues head on

Don’t be afraid to ask some uncomfortable questions about their feelings about work. If there’s something wrong with the team culture or the company culture which is affecting their ability to enjoy the job, or their feelings about returning to work, you need to know.

Respond to them by being honest by showing you care and making sure you follow up to see if things have improved after action has been taken.

7. Encourage them to begin scheduling breaks

Ask staff members about their plans for breaks during the year. This is useful for workforce planning in the coming months and it’s also good to give staff members a reminder that there are more holidays on the way. A break in the winter is always a good idea and it often suits the business then too.

If you are finding a staff member isn’t responding to any of these prompts, Katie says there is a chance that they’re checked out already, and the situation will need to be closely monitored.

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