Fostering a Positive Workplace Culture Benefits Your Business in the Long Term
These days, many businesses seem to suffer from high turnover rates. That makes it a good time to look around and take inventory of your employees and workers. Does your crew seems to approach the day with a “let’s just get this over with” attitude? Are there days where it seems like your entire crew is planning a mutiny? Working in the lawn and landscaping industry often makes for hot, difficult, and dirty workdays. With little to no encouragement, your staff can quickly and easily fall into the pit of malaise. We wanted to give you some tips on improving morale and motivating your team. With some minor adjustments, you can provide a positive atmosphere and cultivate loyalty, productivity, and a real sense of pride in the work.
General Tips for Improving Morale and Motivating a Team
Communication is Key When Motivating a Team
Nobody is a mind reader. You aren’t and neither is your team. However, this simple fact doesn’t need to be an impediment to your business’ productivity. If you learn to communicate your ideas and expectations clearly, no one should have too many questions about what they need to be doing.
Likewise, having an “open door” policy with feedback shows your people that you value and respect their input. When your team knows that a) you’re the person they really need to communicate ideas and problems to, and b) that they feel comfortable doing so, you’ll be able to efficiently move back toward a productive work environment.
Basically, having an open communication policy in your business goes a long way toward improving morale and keeping your crew motivated and focused.
Motivating a Team Means Everyone Needs a Purpose
Having a purpose plays a huge role in maintaining a positive attitude. This goes from the micro level all the way to the existential sense of the word. Not understanding your purpose can lead to confusion, anxiety, and frustration, among other things. You might not be able to help your team understand their purpose in an ultimate sense. You can, however, help them out as it pertains to their very particular, here-and-now job.
Giving members of your team clearly defined roles can encourage a sense of ownership over the job. If I know that I’m responsible for, say, the edging of all of the lawn accounts on my crew’s routes, on some level I begin to understand that every edged lawn becomes a reflection of my skill as a lawn care tech. As I get better at my particular job, I grow a sense of pride and ownership surrounding it. As the crew grows in skill together, that sense of pride and ownership becomes something of a “team sport”.
If everyone knows who is responsible for what, everyone on the team can hold each other accountable. In a high-functioning crew, this team mentality helps everyone spur one another along to meet the objectives for the day. This will increase productivity, hopefully, but it should also give everyone a sense of purpose within the crew.
Improving Morale by Setting Clear and Manageable Goals
What are your short and long-term business goals? Undoubtedly, as a business owner, you have an idea of how you’d like to see your business grow and succeed. You probably have an idea about how you’d like to accomplish those goals. But—and this goes back to the point about communicating clearly—your team will need to understand how they can help the business reach those goals.
Further, those goals will need to be realistic and achievable with a clear plan of action for attaining them. You’ll find that motivating a team will prove difficult if they feel like those goals are unclear, unrealistic, or altogether burdensome.
Also, encourage members of your team to set goals of their own. Then, do what you can to help them reach them.
Improving Morale by Having Some Fun
Nothing helps with motivating a team or cultivating a team spirit like meeting together outside of work. I know of one landscaper who lets his team call it quits a couple of hours early on Friday so that everyone can meet back at home base for what they call “beer o’clock”. Notwithstanding any liability issues this practice brings up, the point is that everyone on the crew looks forward to this part of the week. It certainly cultivates a spirit of camaraderie amongst everyone.
While you don’t need to (or perhaps want to) implement this particular practice with your business, find ways to add a payoff to a solid week’s work. This helps make the job less of a chore and builds camaraderie.
Consider creating social activities to help your team get to know you and each other better. Do this in an atmosphere that doesn’t feel like they’re still on the clock. This encourages better working relationships, which will improve the overall morale of the team.
Reward the Team
Be willing to celebrate the victories of today. We can have a tendency to look forward to whatever is on the horizon without taking time to appreciate the efforts it took to get where we’re at. As an employer, this seems natural; the desire to be ever moving forward is one of the marks of a successful business owner. But, when you don’t take time to celebrate the accomplishments of the team that serves you, you take the team for granted. Be sure to recognize and appreciate the hard work of the team!
Secondly, providing tangible rewards for the team can go a long way toward improving morale and motivating a team. It also helps with keeping the team productive. When your employees meet the goals you’ve set, or when your team goes above and beyond the call of duty, be prepped and ready to start doling out the rewards. These could come by way of free lunches, company outings, paid time off, or even raises and promotions. Ultimately, you want everyone incentivized to keep up the hard work. Following through with a reward system shows your people that you appreciate the value they bring to the business!
Have any additional suggestions or stories about motivating a team or improving morale? Leave them in the comments below!