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Photo: Kelli McClintock, Unsplash

Keep motivated!

Is your staff’s morale lagging? Find out how you can help by appealing to three core psychological needs: relatedness, competence, and autonomy.

Blame it on Covid-19 stress or the usual year-end fatigue – either way, it’s clear that most of us are battling to keep that inner fire burning. Throughout the year, we’ve discussed a variety of techniques that may prove useful in motivating a workforce that is feeling the effects of unprecedented circumstances and strain – and this month’s newsletter is no different. This month, we’re examining the impact of three key psychological needs – relatedness, competence, and autonomy – and that all-important ‘oomph’.

Relatedness is what makes your team feel like, well, a team. It’s all about belonging, and that’s important because employees who feel valued are engaged. How to foster this feeling? Start by acknowledging each employee: their contribution, their feelings, their achievements, and their concerns. This ensures that they understand that they are not simply employees; they are individuals who matter to the business.

Competence is key because everyone wants to feel that they are growing and becoming better at what they do. What’s more, when staff feel capable, their output increases. You can help by building self-efficacy: encourage staff members to give their input about key decisions and processes, give them a chance to show off their skills, and discuss their goals and ambitions after helping them create strategies that put these in reach.

Autonomy is what makes us feel in control – and in our Covid-19 environment, where so much that happens is unexpected, this assumes even greater importance. This quality can grow if employees are given an opportunity to voice their opinions and initiate tasks. It also helps to treat them as autonomous: steer clear of controlling language which makes them feel like naughty students visiting the principal’s office, and allow them insight into what’s going on behind the scenes, and how this affects your decision-making.