It’s a difficult cycle to break: As your business heads into the end-of-year wind-down, your team’s motivation winds down too.
Every leader must prioritize and motivate their team to stay on target with goals and power through the finish line in strong spirits. Failure to do so could mean failed business initiatives, lost revenue, and loss of valuable talent.
Here’s how business leaders and managers can navigate this final quarter to help teams finish the year strong.
Team Motivation Strategies for Year-End
While there’s no one magical method to motivate employees, many leaders value the tried-and-true strategies below. You know your team best, so glean what you can from the examples others have set for you and customize your own strategy.
Here are a few ideas to give you inspiration.
1. Team Bonding Activities
Taking a break from the routine to have fun and increase relational equity is always a good idea. While it can be beneficial to host something in-person and offsite at least every quarter, holiday parties, retreats, and games are a great way to boost team morale at the end of the year.
2. Team Coaching
Enlisting an outside expert to coach your team can do wonders when it comes to oiling the gears of the group. And when your employees feel better and are more engaged, they perform better.
Additionally, a professional coach may be able to hone in on (and address) underlying issues you may not even see.
3. Team Goal Setting
The end of the year is the perfect time to focus on goal setting for — not only the remaining quarter — but the coming year. One idea we’ve seen success with: Hosting workshops for both professional and personal goal setting.
4. Corporate Wellness
Your employees’ motivation to finish strong will suffer if they neglect their physical health and well-being. Research has shown that a company’s implementation of corporate wellness programs significantly boosts company morale as well as overall productivity and profitability.
5. Show Appreciation
Many companies maintain employee recognition programs but consider taking employee recognition one step further. Recognize your employees for their specific characteristics and the efforts they put forth on behalf of the organization. Be sure to share with them how they directly impact the business and positively transform company culture.
6. Ask for Feedback
Creating a safe space for employees to give feedback will only improve your performance as a leader. When you’re the strongest leader you can be, it can make work a more positive experience for your team.
7. Offer Incentives
When in doubt, offer incentives for innovation and effort. At the very least, most employees appreciate being fairly compensated for the effort they put into their work.
Inspire a Mindset Shift
The biggest deciding factor in motivating your team to finish the year strong? According to leadership coach and Arootah consultant Deborah A. Baron, it’s mindset.
“Most of us live in the illusion that our circumstances are creating our experiences when in fact, it’s simply just that — an illusion,” explains Baron. “It’s our thinking that creates our experiences. We live in the feeling of our thinking, not in the feeling of our circumstances.”
Baron says this logic also means that waking up to this reality can change everything.
“I might be bored with a project but if I blame the project, I’m acting as the victim when in fact, I’m the creator,” she says. “Does your team know this? Are they blaming the project or the end-of-the-year crunch for creating their feelings of burnout?”
Baron asserts that, once the team begins to understand their roles as creators of a project, everyone can begin to work toward designing a solution together.
“The good news is that creativity, possibility, and enthusiasm are our default states,” says Baron. “They are the attributes we all possess before judgement shows up.”
But we tend to forget this, which Baron insists is both good news and bad news.
“Looking for solutions like team-bonding activities and morale-boosting programs are simply Band-Aids that attempt to cover up negative thinking carried by the team,” she says. “And yet the ultimate solution is so simple: To see that motivation and joy in our work was where we all started and that we can get back there when we see what’s covering it up.”
Baron urges leaders to ask if they can even recognize this tendency to blame circumstances within themselves.
“How much are you blaming your outside circumstances for your inside experiences?” she asks. “See it for yourself, and you’ll begin to see how to point your team to a positive mindset. From that space, from the positive mindset, we all perform at our best and the question of how to get back there becomes moot.”
The Bottom Line
The end-of-the-year push isn’t always an easy one. To come out on top, leaders should consider taking a closer look at how they’re motivating their team in order to improve the team’s experience.
Sometimes all it takes is seeing things in a different light. And if you can support the right mindset shift, you may notice that your team naturally finishes the year strong.
If you’re looking for additional insight and coaching tailored specifically for your team, learn how we can support your organization’s needs.