Many companies work hard to create repeatable processes and systems to maximize productivity, consistency and quality. One of the downsides of this predictability can be employee boredom.
Following the same routine day after day, quarter after quarter can numb even the most engaged team member, reducing creativity, innovation and enthusiasm. You can (partly!) blame your Neanderthal brain.
Blame the brain.
Biologically, our brains are hardwired to notice and react to difference, and to zone out predictable occurrences. Elevator dings, coffeepot gurgling, co-worker phone calls….all literally fade into the background of our attention. Approaching sabre-tooth tiger? That jolts your full attention. Responding to novelty is a survival instinct, and without it, life can become a forgettable blur. At work, the repetition of the same activities, goals and interactions will eventually disengage even the most committed employee. Breaking this never-ending loop of sameness is easier than you think. And it’s all about introducing novelty. Here are four sure-fire ways to keep your team members out of the rut.
1. Mix up your meetings
Meetings are often necessary, but rarely fully engaging. They are frequent snore-fests of one person talking at a half-dozen nodding dozers. Here are some ways to boost productivity and attention:
- That dreaded 10 a.m. Monday status meeting? Try 9:45 on Tuesdays instead. It will intentionally break up both Monday and Tuesday’s routine - a great start to the week.
- Try an energizing stand up meeting, rather than coaxing a roomful of half-dozing employees or associates through the agenda.
- A recent study showed that after just 1 hour, closed meeting room carbon dioxide levels can rise and stunt cognitive performance by up to 50%. Get up and get out, while your mind can still contribute.
- Ban PowerPoint. Provoke lively person-to-person eye contact and debate instead.
2. Un-cog your machine
Disengaged employees often feel like an anonymous cog in an unrelenting machine. Finding ways to acknowledge individual contributions, qualities and skills will go a long way to motivating greater performance and commitment. It starts with reminding yourself that your organization hired an employee because of their unique mix of qualifications, talents and abilities. They are on the team because they make the team stronger. Now it’s all about finding a valuable way to communicate that acknowledgement back to the employee… but not only in their annual review.
3. Sync interests with rewards
Nothing busts boredom like doing a job that you love. If you can match your employee’s interests and preferences with elements of their position, then you’ll help foster more engagement. For example, if an employee loves travel, languages or different cultures, direct them towards a position that has an international aspect - whether dealing with overseas clients, or working with clients or team members from different cultures. Here are a few tips to better understand and motivate your team:
- Dig deeper and discover what your employees find most personally rewarding
- Search for opportunities to allow them to explore their interests in ways that align with their job requirements
- Encourage job sharing and role shadowing, so employees can unearth new interests via your organization
4. All carrot, no stick
One of the most direct ways to motivate is with an Employee Recognition and Rewards Program. With Power2Motivate, you can build a program that’s tailored to match your company size and culture and directly link positive behaviour and achievement to tangible, attractive rewards. Our global rewards gallery offers employees thousands of high-value, brand name products to choose from, with an easy to browse and redeem interface.
To find out how we can help keep your team members focused and motivated, contact us today. We can set up a demo of our highly configurable engagement platform, so you can see for yourself just how impactful it can be.