As a small business owner, you’ve most likely thought of everything under the sun to ensure your employees are taken care of. However, what happens when difficult times approach and things begin to happen out of your control?

You and your employees may become stressed and overwhelmed by the what-ifs, but try not to worry. Below are five ways to motivate your team during difficult times.

Take an interpersonal approach.

If you haven’t always had an open-door policy, now is definitely a good time to implement one. Putting yourself in the position to talk one-on-one with your employees can help in many ways.

In some cases they may just need a listening ear, reassurance, or help with finding out what they can do to stay on track. Regardless, give your employees access to your time without over-burdening yourself.

personal conversation

Help employees advance.

In difficult times, it is easy to see a glass half empty or the light at the end of the tunnel practically nonexistent. Instead of allowing that attitude to subconsciously pour over into your employees, consider seeing how you can help your employees advance.

Find out if any of them would like to take on more responsibility or obtain any certifications. Then, help them devise a clear path to reach those goals. 

Think creatively.

Difficult times can cause a business owner (or manager) to think more tactical versus creatively. Instead of shifting to doing the bare minimum to keep your business afloat, consider thinking more creatively than ever before.

Ask your employees ways you can deliver better customer service, or what are some areas that need improvement.

Then, take those answers and begin to develop creative plans that will help your business stand out and grow. Ensure that your team is involved and can help the goals come to pass.

Praise hard work.  

motivate your team with praise

You are most likely already doing this, but in unsure times, it can mean even more to an employee to be recognized for their hard work.

There are several simple ways to do this, such as:

– Emailing a note of appreciation
– Having job-well-done luncheons
– Rewarding milestones met with incentives (like gift cards)

In essence, praising hard work can boost the work ethic in employees and cause a ripple effect by others to follow suit. 

Prepare for the future.

One of the best ways to motivate your team during difficult times is to prepare for the future. In trying times, it is normal for business owners and employees to question the days ahead, and rightfully so.

However, when you can sit down with your team and brainstorm the future direction of the business, there is a sense of comfort and reassurance. Motivate your team by involving them in as much of the goal-setting process as possible. This will help them not only feel secure, but to also see their place in the company.

Overall, difficult situations can appear unexpectedly. Whether you find yourself in them today or tomorrow, it is always a good idea to have a protocol in place to handle them.

The five tips mentioned above are good starting points to help your business stay afloat with a motivated team of people who are constantly on the same page.

Lastly, as a business owner, always take care of yourself and get any help you may need during this time. It is easy to be the backbone for others, but you also need a support system there for you.

Find an outside friend or family member that you can talk to. And remember, a business will only be as successful as its leader.  

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