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Every company wants to find, hire, and keep the best possible talent. A company’s most valuable asset is an engaged, motivated employee invested in their performance.

As we mentioned in our article, What Do Rising-Star Millennials Want, keeping employees engaged is something that needs deliberate attention and planning. At first, this effort can seem intimidating. Especially when you compare your tactics to those of top companies. (Think on-site gyms, free massages, and unlimited vacation days.)

There’s good news, though. Keeping your employees encouraged does not have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, like much of life, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. Here are 4 tips to encourage your team this week. These cost very little in money, time, and effort. And these tips work for any team size and location.

Get To Really Know Your Team

We’ve shared how important it is to fast track trust with employees and getting to know your team goes hand in hand with that. People are encouraged when they feel like their manager and the company leadership has gotten to know them at a personal level.

There are several easy ways of doing this. The most organic is to make sure you spend time in small talk with each of your team members at least a few times a week. Get to know what sports their kids play or what hobbies they enjoy. If small talk bores you, look for areas of shared interest that you can talk about.

This effort can look more structured as well. You could have everyone take a personality test or discuss what they know about their personality type. For example, knowing if your team members are introverts or extroverts can be a huge asset. You can use this to structure work, tasks, and meetings around their strengths.

Schedule In Fun

Once you have a good feel for your team’s personalities, it’s time for fun. Include them in coming up with a quarterly, bi-annual, or annual event. Plan a quick brainstorm meeting to get it on the calendar. This gives everyone something to look forward to, even months in advance. The sky’s the limit for this suggestion. It can be as inexpensive and simple or as extravagant as you want. The important thing is to pick an event that everyone will actually enjoy.

One idea might be to give everyone an afternoon off to do anything they want while still on the clock. Or you might book a laser tag arena for a fun excursion. If you have a lot of gamers on staff having an in-office LAN party could be a huge hit.

Do you have a remote team? Send them a gift certificate to a spa, or their favorite restaurant so they feel acknowledged even if you can’t enjoy the activity with them.

Knowing that you care enough to plan and pay for some down time will have a huge impact. Your team will see you care not only about the work, but you also appreciate them.

Give Positive Feedback

Pardon us for repeating ourselves, but we can’t stress enough how important this is.  It’s in our normal psychology to focus on problems, rather than excellence. This means it’s our default to only bring up problems or issues. Get in the habit of intentionally looking for above-and-beyond moves and praising them. A few genuine words of encouragement will bring a smile to your team member’s face. It will also encourage them to work just as hard on the next assignment since they know a job well done gets noticed.

If you know this is an area you need to improve, set reminders for yourself on your calendar once a week. After a while, this will become second nature to you, and your team will thrive as a result.

Seek Feedback For Yourself

It’s not only critical to know your employees, it’s also vital to understand yourself and how your team perceives your leadership style. This week, have a one-on-one with each team member and ask them, “What is one thing I can do that would help make your role easier?”

A good idea is to send this question in an email before the meeting so your employee doesn’t feel put on the spot — and you will get a more valuable answer. 

If you are interested in developing your leadership even more, consider a 360 Degree Feedback Survey

If you liked this article, you may also like:

What Do Rising-Star Millennials Want?

The Most Important Leadership Trait May Surprise You

How to Inspire and Motivate the Employees in Your Company