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How do you motivate team members in the wake of COVID-19, with social distancing and isolation from team members? Workplace motivation feels different today than it has in past decades. Previously, we would attempt to simplify employee motivation, by offering competitive pay, giving pats on the backs, and investing in development opportunities for our teams. However, simply stated, that will not cut it. Our lifestyles, experiences and economic and societal influences have evolved. And this is not limited to certain groups of individuals. People need much more than a paycheck as there are hygiene needs (not literally physical hygiene). These are psychological and physiological elements related to your team’s hygiene factors, given that people join teams with differing beliefs and life experiences. While there are a number of circumstances, actions and dynamics that influence employee motivation, acknowledgement is super important for team members today,

Have you ever heard the term, “be present”? Well, this statement has a number of meanings, but we expect our teams to be present at work at all times. So, acknowledge them when they are present. It’s very difficult to be present in socially divided environments. This limits the team’s and the leader’s ability to be present, so we have to find ways to fill in the gaps. Technology like Zoom, Google Meets, GoToMeeting, Cisco and other video conferencing tools, have helped organizations improve their communication across the organization, and reach people across the globe easily. And while COVID-19 has helped us become more connected, at the same time, we are still so distant. One action that we have lost, is the ability to quickly meet with our teams, informally check-in, and have regularly touchpoints throughout the day or week with our teams when we shared a common location. So, the art of managing amidst COVID-19 will feel different. And acknowledgment is one critical element. Remember, that calling, texting, emailing, and video chatting is necessary, but consider your team. Understand their style/preference of communicating to prevent fatiguing the team with these same channels of communication. Acknowledgement also means responding back. It does not feel good to reach out to someone, only to never receive a response back or to be ignored regarding a matter. Equally important is that acknowledgement in the workplace must be reciprocated.

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