How to Motivate Your Employees in Difficult Times

It is believed that the economic crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus promises to be more severe than the one the world faced after the Second World War.

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Managers and entrepreneurs are faced with the question of how to keep their employees motivated, especially when every day all we hear about is redundancies and business closures. How do you create a sense of security for your employees in difficult times so that work performance does not suffer and uncertainty does not take over?

Do not make promises you can’t keep

Above all, be honest. No one can predict the future or guess how the economic or healthcare crisis will turn out.

Assure your employees that you will always give them an honest overview of the company’s situation so that they do not have to discuss and make presumptions amongst themselves. However, if there is information that you cannot immediately discuss with them, then say so.

Keep the door to your office open

If you are a manager who works in a separate office, keep the door open and allow anyone who wishes to talk to you to enter.

Previously, you may have had a certain time when knocking on the door was expected and when it wasn’t, but you should consider cancelling this rule now.

Make the work environment as cosy as possible

This doesn’t mean that you must bring beach chairs into the office (though, why not!), but there is always something that can be improved. A working environment directly affects people’s motivation and performance, so it is worth investing in.

Photo by Unsplash on Unsplash

Give credit to your employees

Notice and give credit to your workers – it is more important to them than ever before. Send an email or acknowledge them publicly. Whichever way you choose, the key is to show that none of their efforts is overlooked.

Depending on the situation, it may be a good idea to occasionally surprise the team with something delicious.

Or better yet, recognise their efforts with a dignified corporate souvenir or piece of jewellery, such as a lapel pin, cufflinks or branded brooch.

Branded Corporate Jewellery

You may be interested in our blog post: How to Use Corporate Jewellery As A Motivational Tool

Arrange brainstorming sessions

It is always good if the work culture allows everyone to express their opinions and make suggestions that make work more efficient, improve working conditions, etc.

Organise brainstorming sessions to try to figure out together how to survive the crisis successfully. Or even better, to discuss what new business opportunities may be seized in the current situation.

Even the employee in the lowest position can come up with a very good idea that benefits everyone. You may have heard the story of a hotel janitor who first came up with the idea of building an elevator on the outside and not the inside wall of a building.

This happened at the El Cortez hotel in Sao Paolo, where the hotel’s owners and architects tried to figure out a situation where the hotel needed a second lift, but no one wanted to close the whole building during the construction work. The janitor, who happened to hear this discussion, asked why the elevator could not be placed outside the hotel. And the history of architecture was born.

Let employees be involved in the development of the company.


Give them a chance to take responsibility

If someone wants to do more in difficult times, offer them more responsibility so that they can show what they are capable of.

Or if someone has dreamed of a different job within the company, let them try it (if it is possible).

Recognise if there are employees at risk of burnout

With greater responsibility and workload, there is an added risk of burnout, especially if there have been redundancies in the company and other employees have been given additional tasks as a result. Try to recognise these signs for both yourself and your employees. The former is especially important.

Discuss with your employees where it is possible to cut back

Involving employees in such discussions motivates them to be more frugal. This way, they may feel that they have been able to do something to keep the company afloat.

When it comes to a proposal that saves the company a whole bunch of money, the originator of this idea is worthy of a reward from you.

Deal with those who are dissatisfied

If one of your employees is very dissatisfied and spreads pessimism throughout the team, then have a serious conversation with them. Maybe they feel ignored or isolated. Assure them that they are an important member of the team and that you are all in this situation together.

If you are unable to change their attitude, then ask what would they really like to do. Maybe they have been unhappy at your company for a long time and should change jobs.

Even if this particular employee’s results are good, this does not usually outweigh the poisoned atmosphere they can create and can endanger the moral and positive mind frame of the whole team.

React to gossip

As we all know, gossip can cause a lot of harm, and small lies may quickly turn into big ones.

Gather the team for a quick meeting and tell them how things actually are. Confirm that your door is open and they can always come to you with their questions.

Keep up the good spirit

You may also be worried about your business and everyone’s jobs, but don’t show it. It will only spread fear, a lack of knowledge and will do nothing to motivate your employees.

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