As practitioners of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS), we recognize that clarity and motivation around shared objectives tend to become muddled after three months. While the start of a new year gives managers and executives plenty of reasons to rally their team, the end of the first quarter brings the question of how teams can maintain that motivation throughout the rest of the year.
Motivation methods vary based on company culture, however, there are several principles that can always be applied to encourage momentum, such as setting clear goals and expectations, providing a proper cadence for check-ins and reviews and implementing ways to monitor accountability and praise success.
Take a closer look at the tactics we use to motivate our team and use this list to develop your own motivational culture that will help keep your business goals top of mind for all members of your team, even after Q1.
Set Clear Goals & Expectations
Without clear expectations, you can’t hold your people accountable and you certainly can’t motivate them. Imagine you’re coaching a soccer game but your players don’t know the rules or main objectives—you can do all the cheering you want, but it won’t have any impact on the outcome. To set goals that are achieved and expectations that are met, you must be crystal clear about what each is, what the plan is to attain them and how each department and individual will contribute to their completion. Define how you’ll measure the success of the goal. This might be a metric, the completion of an initiative or simply a final decision on a situation that’s been looming. Without providing this clarity around your company’s goals and the expectations of everyone who will contribute, it’s hard to keep motivation up to achieve them.
Define Company & Individual Goals
For years, psychologists have theorized about what motivates people. A common theme throughout all the research and conclusions is that a constant driver for success is a human’s need for achievement, which focuses on setting goals, improving performance and completing tasks and is associated with self-discipline, schedule-keeping and responsibility.1 To fuel this desire, you need to provide your employees with an organized set of specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and trackable (SMART) goals.
Supply these goals at each level of the organization and provide context about how they fit into the greater picture. For example, an individual’s goals should support their department’s goals, which should support overarching company-level objectives. This structure provides more meaning to initiatives and helps motivate everyone to accomplish what they set out to do.
Consider segmenting your team’s goals into three categories:
- Annual Company Goals
- Quarterly Department Goals
- Quarterly Individual Goals
Schedule Regular Meetings & Check-Ins
A regular meeting pulse with your company, department and direct reports are important for consistent motivation. Beyond tactical meetings about projects and work that needs to be done, it’s important to hold regular meetings with your people that go above the minutia of a given workday. These meetings set aside time to review progress on measurables and identify current issues or impending barriers to success. Annual meetings with the entire company help set the stage for the new year and supply an inspirational boost for team members. Additionally, having scheduled check-ins with direct reports to discuss what’s working and not working in their role provides a platform, outside of a formal review, to re-motivate, energize and align employees with your company and each other.
Use this meeting cadence to keep your team motivated to achieve your company’s goals:
- Weekly Department Meetings
- Quarterly Direct Report Check-Ins
- Quarterly Company Meetings
- Annual Performance Reviews
- Annual Company Meetings (State of the Company)
Create a Comfortable Environment
For many reasons, including preventing burnout, it’s critical to provide a workplace that values the quality of life of its employees. To keep a team engaged and sincerely interested in achieving your company’s objectives, you must build trust and an environment they feel passionate about and connected to. More and more companies are cultivating this culture with initiatives like days when employees can work from home, bring pets and dress casually. By creating an atmosphere that feels less like a drab workplace and more like an extension of your employees’ daily lives, your team will feel more connected to their work environment and thereby more dedicated to their goals. View our company’s career page for more ideas on initiatives that build a great place to work.
Pro Tip: Help your team create the conditions for creativity. At HubSpot’s INBOUND17 conference in the fall, our team learned the importance of creating the conditions for creativity. Beyond building an environment that people feel connected to, these seemingly small initiatives are what help creative work environments like agencies and engineering firms thrive.
With the end of the first quarter quickly approaching, take the time to check in on the level of motivation your team exhibits. If it’s not at the same level it was at the start of the year, that’s natural—but don’t let the decline continue. Instead, use these ideas to re-motivate your team and keep the momentum flowing after the first quarter and all year long.
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