Whether you’re a large business that’s been steadily growing for many years, or a scrappy young business just starting out, there’s one thing every business owner and leader can agree on: everyone wins when your team members are thriving. When employees are engaged, when they feel appreciated and rewarded, when they’re operating at their personal bests – collaboration, innovation and progress often result.

But as inspirational as that may sound, achieving team motivation and boosting employee morale is not always a cake walk. Among the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day, and the inevitable challenges that arise when growing a business, it’s easy to forget about this important piece of the puzzle. But inspiring your team matters, and deserves some prioritization. Here are some tips for spurring inspiration and a company-wide culture of progress.

Strive Toward Shared Goals

One of the best ways you can inspire your team is by creating goals together, goals that simultaneously check the boxes of personal fulfillment as well as move the company forward in its vision. And in our opinions, the most useful (and inspiring) kind of goal is a S.M.A.R.T. one. You might be familiar with this acronym but if not, it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Hold a team meeting annually, or even quarterly if you can swing it, and set the intention that you won’t leave the meeting until your team (be that a department, small group or entire company) agrees on the three top S.M.A.R.T. goals that you’re all pursuing. This gives everyone a voice in the process, and also gives you a way to have accountability. These goals will vary from company to company, but they should always bubble up to the business’ overarching strategy and play to the individuals’ strengths who are creating them. This reinforces unity and collaboration, and also helps steer your business toward success.

Another key point about goals: As a leader or owner of the business, your work ethic speaks volumes to your employees – and can serve as a key source of inspiration. Remember that you’re being watched at all times, so do your best to lead by example.

Enhance the Environment

If you’re eager to get your team in top gear, half the battle is making sure their basic ‘needs’ are covered. Of course, as an employer, you’re not responsible for giving them food, water, clothes and shelter. But people still have needs and expectations for their daily life in the workplace. Since average full-time employees spend 40+ hours a week at the office, it’s only natural that their work lives will define them just as much as their home lives and you want to make that a positive thing.

So, what does this translate into? It depends on your team, but here are a few examples of areas you can focus on…

  • Something as seemingly simple as an upgrade in office chairs can do a lot for employee morale.
  • Offering fun, social ways that co-workers can connect with one another is also a great way to make your team stronger. Whether it’s a group yoga class in the morning, a painting lesson for all on a lunch break or a happy hour toward the end of the day, simple activities like this every once in awhile bring the group together and fulfill the social need in all of us.
  • While you certainly don’t have to pay for your employees’ meals, think about what food and beverages you offer in the office. Nobody can exert maximum mental output if their fuel tank is low, so focus on making nutritious options available to your team members.
  • Ask yourself what the environment is like for getting meaningful work done. Is it too quiet? Too loud? Too bright? Too dim? Too hot? Too cold? Talk with your employees to find out their preferences, so you can do your best to make it comfortable. As silly as it may seem, no one is going to be inspired if they’re too distracted by the blare of the speakers and too busy shivering from the A/C.

Get Granular

Finally, what’s your incentive structure like? Do you have one? Inspiring your team comes in many forms, but ultimately different people value different things. If you’re setting goals with your employees, you should also be celebrating in some way when they’re reached. One team member might be driven by monetary incentives, while another might care deeply about having an extra week of vacation.

So if you’re looking at how to reward employees, consider offering a handful of incentives that are all roughly equal in ‘value’ and then allowing your team to rank those in order of importance. When all is said and done, people will work harder and care more when something is at stake that really matters in their lives. It’s your job to find out what that is.

Inspiring your team to be its very best is not a one-time action or box you can check and then move on; it’s a daily, regular intention you’ve got to set and follow through with. But if you focus on what fills your team members’ “tanks,” you can inspire them to grow individually and collectively. As Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Contact us if you’d like more tips about business motivation, or to learn more about how we can help you transform your marketing efforts.