Five steps to boost morale

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In this article: Keep your business on track with a happy and productive team

Motivation in a business is crucial to its success; an unhappy team means you’re probably heading for trouble, but keep everyone happy and eager to succeed and that can only mean good things. These five steps should help you keep everyone’s morale high.

1. Face the facts

Efficiency, absenteeism, timekeeping, employee surveys and staff churn are all useful indicators that paint a picture of the reality in your team. Be clear with your team about what you want to achieve and surround yourself with people who share your ambitions. The best way to improve the level of motivation within your team is to fill it with self-motivated people and then do your best not to demotivate them. Remember, there’s a big difference between compliance and commitment.

2. Actively seek diversity

It’s time to realise the merits of not surrounding yourself with people exactly like you. A team that has different characters, levels of experience, abilities, interests, ambitions, needs and potential creates so many opportunities for doing things in different and exciting ways.

The most consistent performers are those with teams that can flex and change quickly to meet different situations, and this is made easier by being able to field people with a wide variety of reference points. Helping clients to find ways of bringing more part-time workers into roles is hugely satisfying, as this not only promotes their employer brand but also then gives access to some of the best talent.

3. Clarity is king

Most leaders are clear about where they want to get to, but so often we find team members who don’t fully understand the rationale or the consequences of not being clear. One of the most valuable traits we see within top-performing businesses is that they are absolutely clear about where they are heading and then empower their teams to influence exactly how they get there.

The key thing is to create an environment where colleagues are given every opportunity to step up. Remember, finding new ways forward often means the most senior leaders need to talk less and listen more.

4. Promote mistakes

Creating an environment where colleagues are allowed to make mistakes creates a culture of trust and fosters innovative thinking, calculated risk-taking and ultimately positive change. Yes, there needs to be some ground rules and parameters that colleagues are expected to work within, but so often we come across overly conservative and risk-averse cultures that stifle creativity and dampen enthusiasm.

By turning failure into a moment of reflection and realisation creates a lasting and valuable learning experience that can be harnessed for future reference.

5.  Hire slow, fire fast

Nothing demotivates a team more than continual staff churn and the unrest, increased workload and underperformance that it often generates. However, some employers continue to show disregard for this and ultimately disrespect their colleagues and customers alike.

More enlightened employers have recognised that the cost of slowing the process around making a job offer is a lot lower than making a rushed and ill-considered appointment.

Karl Davis FIMI is Managing Director at automotive consultancy firm Coachworks

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This is an edited extract from IMI's new MotorPro magazine, received free as part of IMI membership. Time to find out more about becoming a member of the most influential community in UK automotive…?