Named Founder Friendly Investors 2021 & 2022 by Inc.
Jack Sadden - May 18, 2023
Every company goes through fluctuations in energy levels. But how can you influence employee energy to catalyze momentum and avoid burnout ? Can you intentionally bring about those exciting times when everyone is driving toward a common cause and vision?
Yes, you can—and this should be a key part of your HR strategy. We’re going to first review the benefits of an engaged workforce. Then, we’ll dive into how to re-energize employees and create a dynamic workforce to promote scalable growth.
An energetic and motivated workforce delivers increased productivity, ramping up team collaboration and innovation. In turn, this translates to heightened profitability. In this dynamic, engaging environment, employee turnover drops due to increased job satisfaction.
If companies neglect the need for employee morale and motivation, decreased performance and work quality will likely result. This brings increased attrition rates—and the costs of hiring new employees. All of this has a negative effect on company culture and employee wellbeing.
To reignite energy and enthusiasm, focus on the four main areas outlined below. These strategies will help you give employees the one-on-one support and positive, dynamic atmosphere that will keep them recharged.
To begin, initiate purpose-driven career conversations with each person. Have frequent talks about how to help them grow relevantly, aligning their skills with their organization’s mission. Begin by talking about their past career choices and what drove them. Then, talk about their dreams (remembering that dreams may change). Finally, create a career action plan with target skills and goals.
To help them fulfill this plan, offer robust opportunities for development. Support them in exploring new skills that interest them, even if they don’t relate strongly to their current job. Such opportunities could be the key to building an individualized career path that secures their loyalty and engagement.
How do you create a positive and supportive workplace culture? First, build team rituals that foster mutual care and belonging. For instance, create a practice of asking how each person is feeling at the beginning of a team meeting. Share employee recognition and rewards as well, celebrating individual achievements as a group—including developmental accolades, like completing a certificate or course.
Second, create psychological safety that encourages candor. Ask questions to draw forth diverse perspectives and affirm the value of these insights. Framing differences as valuable will invite more people into the conversation.
Third, cater to different working styles. Some people prefer lots of synchronous work (real-time collaboration). Others prefer more asynchronous work. But for most employees, having a mix of the two will keep energy levels higher throughout the workday. Some collaborative sessions could be opt-in, so those who need more individual time can have their needs met.
Encourage work-life balance and wellness. Today, 65% of employees view work-life balance as more vital than pay and benefits. In many workplaces, technology has eroded this balance, reports the BBC. This is complicated by flexible schedules—while one person has clocked out, another may be sending emails.
What’s the answer? Talk with individuals about setting firm boundaries for themselves—like leaving work at 4 and turning off their work devices. Discuss how to enhance work-life balance as a group, too.
Help employees build diverse relationships and expand their network. Learning from new perspectives will make their work more mentally stimulating. Create social opportunities like group volunteering meetups or lunches with a mix of employees who may not know each other. Holding “lunch and learns” with various department leaders could also build understanding and connection.
Set goals and metrics for employee re-energizing initiatives, so you can measure success. Convey the importance of re-energizing to employees, sharing the appropriate training and resources, too. For instance, an executive could give a virtual talk on re-energizing practices. And HR could lead monthly mini-workshops on time-management tips and using wellness benefits. Finally, track and evaluate the impact of your employee re-energizing programs.
As you implement re-energizing initiatives, you may confront resistance or skepticism from employees or management. Assert that these programs can significantly impact the bottom line by addressing burnout and overwork. Plus, they can substantially reduce turnover.
Adapt re-energizing strategies to your distinct work environment and culture. Consider where you’re starting from—are employees thoroughly burned out, or do they mainly need to tap into their purpose? For the latter, perhaps a team retreat will provide a motivation and energy boost. But if they’re overworked and burned out, they may need to reprioritize and decompress first. Ask employees and managers what they want in terms of support and wellness benefits.
As you measure success, be careful not to fall into the productivity paranoia trap. Promote trust by measuring outcomes rather than how employees are using every moment of their time.
Here, we address some common questions about re-energizing efforts.
Look for decreased productivity, lower quality of work, disconnection from peers, or a negative attitude.
With flexible working arrangements, have a set number of hours that employees work each day. During weekly one-on-ones, check in about whether they’re going over these hours. Consider setting group agreements about not emailing or texting during certain hours, too.
Look at results achieved by teams as well as fulfillment of personal goals. Have teams accomplished more ambitious goals this quarter than last?
Avoid using software that tracks how employees use their screen time, which breeds mistrust. Focus on building trust and intrinsic motivation through conversations focused on improving their experience and professional growth.
Make it an ongoing dialogue, periodically asking about their needs, which will change. Creating changes in routine will prevent work from becoming monotonous, too. If you mainly work remotely, consider meeting up for collaborative sessions on certain days each month, if possible.