We’ve all heard the saying: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

This is true for a business. Your business/organisation is only as strong or as powerful as its weakest person. If your staff are unmotivated, they are a weak link. If your staff are unproductive, they are a weak link. And these all play out to the strength and weakness of your business.

If you, as a manager, neglect to think of the emotions, your actions or inactions are having on your staff, then you are doing yourself a disservice, and are merely creating weak links.

Every business goes through highs and lows. Things, including motivating your staff, seem easier in the highs. However, in the lows, keeping staff morale high is incredibly difficult. And where staff morale is low, staff turn over is inevitably high. Not the kind of high we’re looking for in business!

So, my question to you is: how do you keep staff motivated when your business results are low. When your staff realise that the raises and Christmas bonuses they were counting on, are not going to happen.

There are a number of things that you can do to alleviate the lack of motivation in your staff in this kind of situation.

They very first thing I’d suggest is be transparent. You’d be amazed at how understanding people can be if you are vulnerable enough to be transparent about the current state of the business. This doesn’t mean that you should be explicit and share all the details, but it does mean that you should prepare your people. In preparing them, you are allowing them to prepare for the coming months. Giving them the space to prepare for the future will do wonders in lifting motivation levels and securing commitment.

Recognising your employees is a great self-motivator, and it is important to know that recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of money. There are so many things you can do to show recognition that would suit your business. For example, you could introduce a:

  • Floating trophy
  • Handwritten thank you note
  • Naming the boardroom after them (for the month/week)
  • A reserved parking lot
  • A day off

By recognising your employees, you are showing them that you care for them, and that you appreciate their commitment to your business – especially if they perform well during the tough times.

Do you implement any kind of non-financial recognition? How do you deal with the lack of staff motivation when times are tough?