Keep your team healthy and high-performing with these tips.

With all of the challenges in hiring and maintaining front-line staff today, cultivating a strong work culture is more important than ever. While some factors may be beyond your control, you can still set your business up for success by being the kind of employer that people want to work for.

Today, we’re sharing a few no-cost ways to keep morale high, so you don’t have to worry about unnecessary attrition on top of everything else. May the odds be ever in your favor.

No. 1: Check yourself (and your leadership style).

It should go without saying, but your staff is making decisions about whether or not they want to be on your team every shift. Be sure that you’re continuously working on honing a leadership style that’s authentic and inspiring. Get to know your direct reports and learn the best ways to approach them when coaching or correcting. The best leaders are able to tailor their communication style and approach so that employees feel respected and valued.

No. 2: Manage your stress.

It’s always a good idea to routinely check in with yourself and reflect on how you’ve been behaving with staff. It’s difficult for team members to rally around you if you haven’t been your best self. Has stress or overwhelm been affecting your attitude or the way you’re managing? Unmanaged stress can cause you to be tense, short, sarcastic, or overly critical of the people around you, all of which can seriously dampen morale.

Stress management techniques can be highly effective in helping relieve tension and anxiety, so you feel more in control. These techniques aren’t just for helping you feel better. If you’re calm and acting like you have everything together, your team is more likely to feel at peace.

No 3: Encourage input.

Team members love feeling like you value their input, so it makes sense to encourage them to give feedback, present ideas, or use their creativity to tackle projects. Not only can this help solve problems more effectively, but creating an open environment where staff can be honest in a supportive way can help build trust among team members. That’s not to say that you should decide everything by committee. But where it makes sense, provide opportunities for teams to share openly, take their feedback seriously, and show that you value their contributions.

No 4: Respect independence.

What collaboration is NOT is simply “group projects.” Your youngest team members likely belong to Gen Z, the age group from about 16-24. Unlike the generation before them, this group values independence above collaboration. Respect their independence and, where it makes sense, allow them to tackle projects in the way that suits them. This could mean collaborating on ideas for a new promotion or organization project and then splitting up with assigned tasks. It’s important to understand that this age group is motivated (when they see the value, purpose, or benefits) and appreciate having the freedom to complete projects independently.

No 5:Give productive feedback.

If you create an open environment where staff can be honest with you, you are more likely to have team members who are more receptive to feedback. In fact, in an article on Gen Z motivation, over 70% of young team members want face-to-face communication at work. And over 60% say they want more feedback specifically. But productive feedback is critical. They don’t want meaningless praise for breathing. Share specific, targeted feedback of what team members are doing well and where exactly they can improve.

No. 6: Provide growth opportunities.

Give your team members the chance to shine by providing opportunities for them to learn and grow. This generation likes to know that they are working towards a goal or learning something that will benefit them in the future. Keep staff engaged in their work by cross-training them in different roles or departments. Cross-training also helps you manage labor shortages and learn where team members thrive the most.

Don’t assume that you have to do everything. Consider your to-do list: Are there duties and responsibilities you do now that could provide a growth or engagement opportunity for one or more team members? Delegate where it makes sense, and build bench strength on your team and breathing room for you.

No. 7: Promote diversity and equality.

Like when crafting marketing messages to a Gen Z audience, also keep in mind that this age group is culturally diverse and values inclusion and fairness. Be sure that ads and recruiting efforts show diversity so that your target hires can see themselves in your ads and want to apply.

They also value fairness, so be sure that you’re keeping your promises and that, while you may tailor your communication style or approach to different team members, you’re still fair. Playing favorites or appearing to allow the rules to slide for some are quick ways to lost morale at best, mutiny at worst.

If you do your best to build a team culture focused on transparency and mutual respect, you’ll be in the best position to recruit and retain a higher-performing team.

Have other ideas for motivating staff? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter. 

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