Do you know what motivates your team in 2017?
Jan 17, 2017 · 5 min read

I’ve got enough hoodies, thank you. Another coffee cup with a company logo? Sure, but will I actually use it? Maybe.

Giving away company freebies is perhaps one of the most popular way of (seemingly) building team spirit and culture and creating a sense of belonging and togetherness within a company. But how many of us have actually felt happier, more productive, engaged, loyal and more as a part of a team because of free stuff? I’d go for close than zero. Creating team culture is a much more complex and goes beyond what money can buy. Team culture has become a long way since coffee mugs with unifying slogans and company logos, company Christmas parties and annual bonuses. Here’s a look into ways of creating a team culture and motivation in 2017 that might be slightly more unconventional.

Hire wisely and sustain the talent

When it comes to hiring, it’s not a buyer’s market anymore. Job seekers know their worth, and so do managers and recruiters, and they’re not afraid to go all in for the best talent out there. As a team leader, you have to stay ahead of the curve and be extremely smart in hiring and sustaining your employees. One wrong decision can at best cost you a lot of money and at worst create a team dynamic where no one feels happy or productive. A right one, however, could be a game-changer. Make sure you hire wisely and keep your employees engaged, happy and stimulated, because at the end of the day, they make up whatever business you are running.

Find out what motivates your team

So, you’ve hired the best team you possibly could. Next challenge is to keep them motivated.

Research shows that 51% of people currently employed are actively considering a new job.

In reality that means, that about half of the people in your team would quit if a better opportunity presented itself. A better opportunity in 2017, does not mean a higher salary, but in most part, a better cultural fit, more growth opportunities and a more inspiring environment. This means businesses need to work extra hard to make sure their people are content at their current position. However, not everyone is motivated by the exact same thing. One size does not fit all. Sally might need a salary raise to feel motivated, maybe Tim is in dire need of more flexible working hours while Harry could do with a bit more of responsibility. Simply assuming what motivates a certain employee is perhaps the biggest risk you can take when nurturing your team. But knowing and relying on facts can make a world of a difference and help you build a team no one wants to leave.

Focus on the strengths

No one’s perfect, and they don’t have to be — everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. As a team leader, it’s your responsibility is to identify the weaknesses and build on the strengths of your team members. People are generally drawn to tasks they know they’re good at, and consequently, they deliver much better results in those tasks than compared to the ones they don’t want to take upon in the first place. Lori Goler, Facebook’s top HR executive just recently gave an interview where she urged everyone to ask themselves one essential question —

On your very best day of work, what did you do?

I think it’s something every employee should ask themselves and every manager should ask their team member. If people do more of what makes them happy, they are instantly more productive. If you are confident in your hiring decisions and trust the people you work with, there shouldn’t be any poor performers, there can just be incorrectly distributed task that do not highlight every person’s individual strengths.

Listen and notice the subtle signs

It’s far too easy to get lost in running and growing your business because let’s be honest, it’s a challenge no matter how far you’ve come. Hence, sustaining employee happiness or developing a team culture might take a back seat. As employees will run the show in 2017, it is most likely they will drop you plenty of hints about if and why they feel disengaged, unhappy or simply dissatisfied with some managerial decisions. But not everyone is or has to be incredibly direct in doing so. Some people are simply more introverted and less outspoken than others. Therefore, it is the team leader’s job to firstly identify how certain employees like to express their opinions, and secondly, notice the subtle signs employees might show or comments they might make about their personal wellbeing or the current dynamic of their team. As a manager you don’t have to know what your team thinks all of the time, but learning to read between the lines will give you an upper hand in creating a supportive team culture.

Have fun and laugh more

All work and no play doesn’t only make you very dull, but it might lead to a lousy or a non-existent team culture. At the end of the day, regardless of the position or the job title, your team members are simply people, coming to work every day to work hard for a common goal they believe in. If you’ve achieved that, you’re already halfway to achieving great team culture. But a very important part of creating a team that feels they are collaboratively heading in the same direction is not taking yourself too seriously.

According to research, happy employees are 12% more productive, whereas having fun at work is directly correlated to increased engagement.

Try to relate to your team members on a personal level, go beyond the usual small-talk, show sincere interest in their lives, and most importantly, have fun and share a laugh every now and then.

All in all, when building team culture, knowledge is power in 2017. Assumptions will be cast aside and replaced with insights. In years to come, HR tech will play an increasingly more important role in telling you more about each person in your team and provide you the metrics that will allow you to assess the team’s collaborative potential and dynamics. Teamscope is a confident advocate for using team analytics and trusting data instead of gut feeling, but everyone should find a method that works for their team and allows them to create an excellent team culture.

Start building your team here.

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Teamscope is a management insights tool that lets you explore and understand the science behind high-performing teams and make smarter hiring decisions.

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