How Do You Motivate Your Team?

Date: November 2nd, 2017

Mila Garrido

This is the first part of a blog series on motivating your team (read Part II and Part III).

A cohesive team of employees is imperative to the quality and success of programs and services. Employees who work closely together will be able to wear many hats and work effectively across the organization to get tasks accomplished quickly and efficiently. So, how can we help our teams to become more cohesive? Unfortunately, there is not one magic strategy. Successful organizations realize employee motivation is integral to sustaining their leadership, growth, and influence in the field-at-large. So, here there are some ways that you can start motivating your team and hopefully helping them to become more cohesive and happier.

  1. Promote a culture of growth mindset among your team:
    1. Actively encourage learning among your team, no matter how small it may seem. Build opportunities for your team to cross-train each other on skills or tricks they have learned using a particular software or platform.
    2. Motivate your team to embrace challenges and find inspiration in the success of others.
    3. Teach your team to see failure as a learning opportunity rather than an embarrassment. A simple way to start working on this is by alerting them of the language they use when referring to setbacks.
    4. Do not give false praise to your team as this may lead to foster a false sense of skills. If a team member is lacking in a particular area, it is important that they know it so they can grow or get the help needed to compensate for their skills.
  1. Promote and build organizational policies that promote the well-being of your team members:
    1. Create Success Boards: We can easily get caught up with our work and lose sight of what others in the team might be doing. We can easily focus just in completing deliverables and forget that the work is all done by people. People with whom you might spend more time than other members of your family/friends. Using “Success Boards” is a creative way to highlight a) people’s work (e.g., somebody’s journey with a new project); b) special moments (e.g., a birth of a new family member); c) pure fun that will just make you laugh or bring a smile to your face (e.g., collection of jokes)
    2. Fitness Reimbursement: This consists of a monetary award in the shape of a subsidy that supports a percentage of a gym membership. Not all agencies are able to provide such a financial support, so instead, they can subsidize the time. So rather than providing a 30-minute break, if an employee wants to go to the gym or joins a yoga class during their lunch break, give them 15 additional minutes. This little change in your internal policy tells team members that you value not only their work but also their well-being.
    3. Dream Projects: This is by far my most favorite strategy; several tech companies have embraced this strategy given that it has resulted in fantastic ideas. Protect a designated percentage of employees’ time to work on a project of their choosing. The project doesn’t have to be related to their every-day work, and they should be ready to report on the progress and be willing to share with the rest of the organization. You never know what creative and innovative projects might come up out of this effort.

There are many other strategies that we can start implementing in our organization to make our team more cohesive, motivate them, and foster happiness in the workplace. I will share some others in my next blog (part II)…Which strategies have you found successful?

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About the Author

Milagros Garrido, MS, Associate Director of Innovation and Research at Healthy Teen Network, is a creative educator committed to helping communities to learn, use, and translate practical and innovative approaches to solve public health issues.

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