Motivating a Team and Improving Morale
Fostering a Positive Workplace Culture Benefits Your Business In The Long Term
Does your business suffer from a high turnover rate? Does your crew seem 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 is often hot, difficult, and dirty. With little to no encouragement, it can become easy for your staff to fall into the pit of malaise. But, by improving morale and providing a positive atmosphere, you can cultivate loyalty, productivity, and a real sense of pride in the work.
- Learn to communicate effectively with your team
- Give your team a sense of purpose
- Set clear and manageable goals
- Learn to have fun
- Reward your team
Tips For Improving Morale and Motivating A Team
Communication is Key
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 is a great way to show 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 more efficiently move back toward a productive work environment.
Basically, having an open communication policy in your business will go a long way toward improving morale and keeping your crew motivated and focused.
Everyone Needs A Purpose
Having a purpose – from a microscopic level all the way to the existential sense of the word – is such a big deal in maintaining a positive attitude. Not understanding your purpose can lead to confusion, anxiety, and frustration, among other things. While you might not be able to help your team understand their purpose in an ultimate sense, you can 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” as well.
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 will help everyone spur each other 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.
Set 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, and do what you can to help them reach them.
Have Fun With It
You can also cultivate a team spirit by 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”. I have no idea about the liability issues that this practice brings up, but the point is that everyone on the crew looks forward to this part of the day, and it cultivates a spirit of camaraderie amongst everyone.
You don’t need to implement this particular practice with your business, but find ways to make the job less of a chore. Create social activities to allow your team to get to know you and each other better, and do it in an atmosphere that doesn’t feel like they’re still on the clock. This will encourage 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 keeping the team productive. When your employees meet the goals you’ve set, or when your team is going 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 raises and promotions. Ultimately, you want everyone incentivized to keep up the hard work, and following through with a reward system shows your people that you appreciate the value they bring to the business.