Not every week is going to be great — that’s just reality. We asked six entrepreneurs: When your team seems down in the dumps, how do you boost their optimism and drive?
1. Rally together.
“When morale is low, it’s usually because of a challenge that’s affecting us all as a company. Maybe projection numbers are low or certain strategies aren’t working as well as we’d hoped. We find the most effective thing to do is to bring everyone in to become part of the solution. We empower the team with all the information possible and encourage them to come up with and execute potential solutions. The team’s spirit is often lifted knowing we’re all in it together.” — Eran Zinman, co-founder and CTO, monday.com
2. Open up communication.
“I find it’s not difficult situations or choppy business performance that tends to drag down morale. It’s a lack of communication. Perception of tough times is often much more damning than reality. I try to lay out the situation in direct terms and walk through how the team will not only survive but thrive down the road. Then I look for a rallying cry, like a new product launch, to keep everyone focused and to use as a celebratory moment for future success.” — Chris Terrill, CEO, ANGI Homeservices
3. Work it out.
“We’ve been through a few transitions recently, which put a strain on our company culture. To get us realigned, we decided to do a fitness challenge. For the month of May, we scheduled fitness classes with our team and offered weekly incentives like gift cards, an extra vacation day and some cold, hard cash. We created a private Instagram to keep each other accountable. It really bonded the team together. And healthy employees equals a healthy work environment.” — Iva Pawling, CEO and co-founder, Richer Poorer
4. Remember the mission.
“We’re all about our customers. We serve the millions of women who have been underserved by retail their whole lives. We’re constantly collecting stories from our customers about how our service has impacted them, and we share those stories in a dedicated Slack channel and in a daily email that goes out to our entire company. These are valuable resources to tap into when we want a morale boost. Those stories deliver inspiration whenever it’s needed.” — Nadia Boujarwah, CEO and co-founder, Dia&Co
5. Investigate it.
“To understand causes of problems, we have a semiannual engagement survey our whole team takes. We talk about lowest-scoring parts of our culture and use a sticky-note exercise to let the team express why they feel that way. Recently we made some hard personnel decisions, and this exercise helped us realize that leadership hadn’t communicated well. We fixed it, and things improved. We finish with a social event — it’s a benefit of running an alcoholic beverage company!” — Garrett Bredenkamp, CEO, Kombrewcha
6. Plan ahead.
“Like healthcare, the best way to lift morale is prevention! We practice team bonding twice a week in the form of ‘Questions’ and ‘Shoutouts.’ Questions is a simple game where someone asks a personal question that can’t be answered with a yes or no; Shoutouts is about gratitude, where every team member expresses something they really liked that another member did in the past week. It helps build a community of people who work hard and get recognized for it.” — Daniel Clark, CEO, Brain.fm