Business is tough right now. Talent is churning, the economy is fickle, and who knows what AI holds for our futures? The world is lucrative, and leaders need to remain leaders through the thick, the thin, and the downright ugly.
That being said, this can be tough. It can be emotionally draining for leaders to stay positive, productive, and continue to build healthy environments for their teams, let alone themselves.
In this article, we’ll explore six ways you can foster engaging leadership, and inspire and motivate your teams to remain successful—if not more so—during this tough economic climate. You’ll walk away from this article with a few fresh ideas on how you can overcome engagement struggles and build inspired, motivated, and resilient teams.
Let’s get to it.
6 Leadership for engagement tactics you can implement today
1. Employee time tracking: via telephone, app, manually, or something else
Employee time tracking isn’t just so you can track when employees are working and if they’re not. Ensure employees are accurately paid for their time—including their overtime.
When it comes to service industries, it also helps you better understand how your employees are spending their time, and how they’re not, helping you to more accurately find high ROI opportunities, and change strategies for those clients or tasks that are not providing you the revenue you thought.
Telephone time tracking for employees is a great way to help your front-line workforce check in from anywhere, and minimizes their effort of doing so, empowering them to get to work faster and more efficiently.
At the same time, consider tools that enable your business to track which hours are going where to allow HR to better understand how employees are spending their time, spot trends, and predict where you may need more hands in the future.
2. Boost workflow efficiency with the right tech
Technology is continuing to evolve, and there are some fantastic SaaS apps out there that will help your team become more efficient with their everyday life. Boosting your workflow efficiency can start by assessing the tasks you need to get done (your jobs-to-be-done) and those tasks that are taking more time than they should.
From there, you can work backward to better identify the tools that will enable your team to work better, making them more inspired and motivated players in your business growth goals. A few fan-favorite SaaS technologies to consider are:
- Tools for streamlining communication: Google Suite, Loom, Slack, Calendly
- Tools for better project management: Airtable, Trello, Asana
- Tools for inspiring creativity: Canva, ChatGPT, Google Suite, Figma
- Tools for mental health and wellness: Headspace, Oliva, Asana Rebel
Figure out the SaaS tech that will help keep your team’s day easy, and their work motivated. While you’re there, identify those out-of-task tools that will help keep your teams’ minds healthy and bodies moving.
What’s more, cut any unnecessary SaaS tools that you’re not making the most of. Think: “is their freemium plan enough?” For example, Zoom’s freemium plan and limited minutes on meetings are a plus for some!
3. Remain transparent in business earrings and failings
This is a huge one for leaders that are looking to ensure buy-in from small teams. When it comes to building startups, people often join you knowing the risk. Don’t try to sugar-coat that risk, or hide it if things get rough. People need to know that they’re responsible for the business’s success, and its potential downfall. For the most part in small businesses, they truly are.
So, as a leader, ensure you’re being transparent with the wins and losses of your business, and deliver it in a way that your employees will understand and be able to help you, as a leader, combat it all.
That’s not to say you need to announce “Women and children are the first to the lifeboats!” it’s more to make people aware of where the business is at, and where it’s not. This will build trust with your team and can help to motivate them towards helping you find ways to navigate out of the rough seas.
4. Host regular catch-ups with employees—that aren’t about work!
Catch-ups can be a game-changer when it comes to healthy communication and happy employees. Keep your teams motivated by breaking up their weeks with leader-to-team member catchups.
Although work-oriented catch-ups are sometimes necessary, they’re not the be-all and end-all of productivity. The truth is, employees are more productive when they’re happiest— up to 20% more productive sometimes!
So, for as much as they may make you cringe or shy away from them, ice-breaker topics and themed catch-ups are a great way to inspire conversation and help employees better connect with management. In doing so, you’ll remind everyone that we’re all only human, we’re approachable, will make mistakes, and have a life outside of the office and off our screens—it will provoke empathy, and in turn motivation among new and old teams alike.
It’s worth noting that these types of catch-ups are especially important for remote teams. In fact, full-time remote work was found to increase loneliness by up to 67%. Ensure your leaders are engaging with your remote workforce as much as they’re engaging with those they see in the office every day!
5. Run cross-company engagement opportunities
Inspiration comes when you’re not looking for it. And, there’s no better place or time for surprise motivation than by running cross-company engagement events.
Things like company offsites, on-sites, or even online meetings are great for building team morale and better engaging your team.
It can be hard to understand where other teams are coming from when they come to your team with requests that knock them out of their day-to-day rhythm. Resentment builds fast as teams try to remain on task and in line with their goals, often forgetting the entire company is working towards the same common goal.
An engagement opportunity like an event is a great way for teams to connect and better understand each other in a relaxed environment. Allow your teams to connect across offices and departments, and you’ll see an increased rate of cross-team collaboration, with departments supporting each other rather than merely seeing each other as a resource or even a hindrance toward growth.
6. Ride your mission through it all
Last, but certainly not least, is for leaders to ride their mission and vision through the good, the bad, and the ugly
Many of your workforce probably joined you at a time when the job market was healthy, and they had ample pickings from companies hungry for their talent. So, besides the paycheck and the perks, why did they choose your company? It’s most likely for the mission.
Gartner found that employees are increasingly looking for roles that deliver on their personal values and purpose. Where does that all start? With your company mission. Ensure leaders are behind a company mission as much as the employees that choose to stand by it. It will help motivate everyone.
But, don’t stop there, continue to find ways to remind all employees of your company mission, the commitment to it, and how you’re delivering on that commitment. If employees see your company is not driving toward that mission and vision that attracted them to you in the first place, they’ll soon jump ship. Yet, do it right, and you’ll win new talent and continue to retain old talent for years to come.
Closing out leadership for engagement
Hopefully, you’re now sitting with some actionable ways you can inspire and motivate your teams for a more successful business. To wrap everything up, remember the following:
- Employee time tracking doesn’t need to be viewed as a form of micro-management; it’s an aid for a more efficient business and will help employees ensure they’re paid correctly
- Workflow efficiency comes with tech. But, don’t just sign up for the tech that everyone else has. Run your research with your job to be done and find the tech that can help you do it.
- Remaining transparent on business success and shortcomings is a surefire way to win trust. Do it in a way that doesn’t stress your employees while still heightening their importance in the grander scheme of business survival and growth.
- Regular catch-ups—not office-related—can help your leaders and team members connect more authentically and innovate ways to better work together.
- Company gatherings—big or small—are always a win. Find ways that your entire business can connect, let off some steam, and meet on a more authentic level
- Ensure your business continues to stay true and deliver on your mission and vision—no matter how busy or tricky times get. Your mission is the reason others are with you, if you’re not delivering on it, they’ll soon leave you to it.
With that, we’ll leave you to get started. A motivated, inspired team starts when it’s at its happiness. So, in short, find ways to make your team happy, and the rest will soon follow.
Ray Slater Berry is a freelance writer for Wynter with over ten years of content marketing & SaaS experience. He specializes in B2B products and travel. Ray is also the founder of DSLX: a B2B SaaS content agency—empowering diverse & minority group writers to create great content.