The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge psychological drain on business owners and their teams. With the economic devastation of business closures, the stress related to health ramifications of the pandemic, and the continued struggle and rebuilding that come along with recovery, it's easy to see why some employees might feel burned out. To ensure that your company’s recovery lasts, it's critical that teams are motivated to persevere and keep pushing forward. Here are some ways to inspire your team.

1. Share the Wins

Let your team know when positive things happen at work. When goals are achieved or surpassed, celebrate with them. When you've filled a key position that can help move things forward and support their jobs, share it with them. When you've landed a new client, buy your team pizza for lunch. The more positive news you can share, the bigger the cumulative effect will be. Your team will be more optimistic about the future of your business and more motivated to keep headed in the right direction.

2. Be Clear with Goal-Setting

Having clear goals is extremely important for success, and communicating them clearly to your team is just as important. Make sure everyone knows what needs to be done and how to work together for the same goals.

"Motivation is far easier to generate when your team has something to work towards," says Rhett Power, co-founder of Courageous Leadership.1 “Instead of letting your team slog through the mud with no clear end in sight, give them clear objectives to work towards. Whether it’s increased revenues, boosted efficiency, or higher client retention, give your workers a clear goal to strive for and watch their motivation rise in turn."

3. Recognize Hard Work

When a team member works particularly hard and does a great job, recognize them. Ignoring good work is a disincentive.

"When it comes to motivating your employees, it doesn’t take much to send a positive message. An act as simple as praising your team members for doing good work can have a tremendous impact on employee morale," according to Tim Stobierski, a marketing specialist at Northeastern University.2 “The psychology behind this is clear: Positive feedback helps your employees feel valued in their roles. When someone feels valued, they are more motivated to continue performing at their highest levels."

Thank you emails or a note to your team about the recognized employee, a pat on the back, a bonus, a promotion, a surprise gift— it all adds up to increased productivity and a happy workplace.

4. Mix Up Tasks

Some employees may feel burned out from performing the same tasks over and over again. As long as team members are qualified, consider switching up roles from time-to-time to keep the job fresh and interesting. Plus, your team members broaden their experiences. Cross-training can come in handy if you need someone to fill in when an employee is out sick, on vacation, or quits suddenly.

5. Have Regular Catch-Up Talks

Have regular one-on-one meetings with employees that are specific to their individual experience. Team meetings are great, but you may obtain more information by speaking one-on-one. This gives you a chance to recognize that employee and get helpful feedback about the work they're doing. Knowing they're being heard can be very motivational.

6. Consider Raises if Possible

Businesses trying to bounce back from the pandemic may not be able to afford raises at this time. But if things are going well, and you can afford to increase pay for valuable employees, particularly those who helped your business make it through that difficult period, this is perhaps the best motivator of all. Not only will an employee be grateful to receive a bigger paycheck, but they will also feel appreciated and valued.

After dealing so long with the pandemic, it's natural for some of your team to feel a prolonged sense of burnout. As an owner and employer, take time to think about the ways you can help them get out of a slump, and your business should benefit.

1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rhettpower/2021/04/09/5-tips-for-helping-your-team-find-motivation-in-post-covid-2021/

2. https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/how-to-motivate-your-employees/