Keeping your project team motivated can be a challenge. When workloads are heavy, timelines are short, and resources are thin, maintaining your group’s enthusiasm can be even more difficult. But you need everyone to be excited to execute not only the list of active projects but also those that are still working their way through the approval and planning pipelines.
If you’re looking for ways to nurture morale and ramp up motivation within your project team, consider these strategies to help spark support and refresh team members’ eagerness to make every initiative a success.
Project teams rarely remain static for long, and effective and efficient hiring practices are core to maintaining the group’s motivation. Senior-level employees retire, workers move along to new opportunities, and newer members grow into roles with more responsibility. As your project team evolves and matures, it’s critical that you hire carefully to ensure the health of your overall group. Bringing in candidates that lack key skills—when those competencies are key to carrying out their duties effectively—will only create more work for the rest of your team. Work with your company’s HR group to find new hires that not only have the right skills but will also be a good fit with the culture of your project group and your organization.
Though you want to take the time necessary to select the right candidates for available team roles, it’s important to fill open positions as quickly as is practical. You don’t want to constantly restart the hiring process for the same positions because you didn’t attract the interest of qualified candidates, or slog through exhaustive interviews for junior roles that will benefit from in-house mentoring anyway. Unnecessary delays will only make existing team members feel they’re forever covering for your lack of speed (and disregard for their already overwhelming workloads). Keep your team motivated by putting the right people in place around them and prioritizing your staffing responsibilities.
Implement a process for reviews and promotions that’s understandable and transparent. No doubt some members of your team are eager to move their careers forward, whether that’s through straight-line promotions or taking on distinctly different roles with greater responsibilities. But if you want your career development program to motivate your group to perform their best, you need to ensure they know exactly what’s expected of them and the metrics they must meet to move ahead.
Most project managers gather feedback from team members with some level of regularity. But what some leaders don’t do as well is follow through on the feedback they receive. You should pay close attention to demonstrating that you truly value team members’ input and opinions. That means not only being diligent about reviewing feedback in a timely manner, but also (when appropriate) implementing suggestions and applying updates to processes to resolve the complaints or address the problems your team has identified. In every case, you’ll help motivate your team by following up on their feedback and letting them know the status of their comments and requests.
Don’t just share the credit for the team’s successes—pass that credit along! Few things will demotivate a team faster than when the project’s leadership group hogs the kudos for a job well done. Of course, senior members of your team are often instrumental in moving projects from planning through completion and mentoring the group to achieve their best results, but it’s vital that individual team members are recognized for their contributions. And don’t keep the appreciation within the team. Be sure the executives and project sponsors know whose hard work led to those project successes.