The 5 Essentials to Keeping Your Startup Team Motivated

November 20, 2015

11:45 am

Things will be rough at first. Every startup is a gamble, and the team members know that. Sometimes outlooks are bleak, or things take a lot longer to get off the ground than you may like. In the beginning, the pay will be low, responsibilities will be high, and the fear of failure is the constant elephant in the room. Your team may start to feel the pressure, and check out. So it’s important to make the effort to motivate everyone. Highly-motivated employees can be the difference between seeing your dreams going up in flames or building the next startup empire.

Don’t Overwork Them

There’s a lot to be done, and someone has to do it. Your team members probably understand the weight that’s been placed on their shoulders. This takes a huge mental toll on them, because they understand what will happen if they can’t successfully deliver. That stress will run them into the ground if they aren’t getting enough breaks. Make sure everyone is getting adequate time off. If someone is having a hard time with something, do everything you can to make their working experience easier, even if it means a two hour lunch break.

Allow Them to Shape Their Schedules

What can you do to meet everyone halfway? If you use cloud computing or simple document sharing, your team members may be able to work remotely. For the majority of tasks, it’s almost impossible to accomplish anything unless you’re all sitting at the same table. For the smaller things, allow people to work outside of the office. Being able to work in their pajamas once in a while will do a lot for the well-being of your team members.

Strengthen Your Bonds

Believe it or not, there are actually some problems that can be fixed with pizza and beer. Startups can be overwhelming, grinding everyone’s fragile nerves. You need to celebrate your accomplishments together. You don’t have to break out fancy budget-busters – simple gestures are enough to show that you care. Happy moments are a necessity if you want to keep people from resenting their work.

Appeal to Their Personal Tastes

It’s foolish to assume that the same motivators will work for everyone. What’s perfect to one person may seem condescending to the next, and you need to take that into consideration when designing a motivation strategy. Know everyone’s individual needs. What are their personal goals, and what do they value? Providing custom motivators will help everyone reach their unique potentials.

Take an Interest in Their Lives

Your team needs to understand that you recognize them as more than pawns used in achieving your goals. It can be difficult when work is piling up and there’s no sign it will let up any time soon, but reaching out is something you can’t afford to blow off. What are their hobbies outside of the general “reading” and “spending time with loved ones”?  What are they looking to accomplish in the next five years? What things are they truly, deeply passionate about? That knowledge can inspire you, allowing you to provide them with projects that best suit their potential. At the same time, they’ll understand that you care and are supportive.

Motivating your team can seem like extra work that you don’t have time for. It takes thought, and adds another level of complication to your day-to-day operations. Despite this, it’s absolutely imperative if you want to keep your employees (arguably your most important business asset) from burning out and jumping ship. If you want to see yourself succeed, you won’t be able to do that by leaving your team behind.

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Sophia Beirne is a writer at Career FAQs, Australia’s leading portal on online learning and career resources. She is interested in new eLearning industry trends and leadership development.

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