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3 Tips on Keeping Your Association’s Staff Motivated Year-Round

As we transition through the holidays and approach then of the year, it can be harder and harder to keep your teams motivation up.

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

As we transition through the holidays and approach then of the year, it can be harder and harder to muster up the motivation you need to run an association. And on top of your own struggle, you have to worry about keeping your staff up to speed too. Let’s face it, we can’t be on top of our game all of the time. Burnout happens, especially in the hard work that you do as an association professional. Between planning events, managing your members, bigger and better goals and accomplishing them, you may find yourself losing steam around this time of year.

In order to keep things moving in the right direction at your organization, you’re going to need some innovative ideas. Employees are going to be checking out for the summer (and how can you blame them), so you want to be sure to have a plan of action in place when the time comes. Luckily, we can help with that. With the help of other association professionals and our own imagination, we’d like to give you 3 tips on how you can keep staff motivated throughout the year. With these ideas, you should be running a well oiled machine of an organization no matter the distractions that get in your way. Say goodbye to burnout and hello to more motivation with our tips!

1. List out goals

One great way to start everyone off on the right foot is to document what you’d like to accomplish for the working year. Big or small, all goals should be listed out to ensure you work on achieving them. While this is typically a good way to start off the calendar year (a goals meeting in January can help get over the post-holiday slump and focus everyone’s minds on the issues at hand), all is not lost if you start listing your goals later in the year. In fact, your association’s goals should and will constantly be changing, so there’s no right time to start goal tracking! Bring your association’s team together to meet and discuss your primary goals for the year. You can set up one larger goal for everyone to work cohesively on- think non-dues revenue or membership rates- and make this the top of your goal list.

Then, moving down the line, you can decide on different, smaller and more specific goals for each department of your association’s staff. Perhaps you want your marketing team to reach a certain member engagement mark. Or, maybe you want your events staff to increase event attendance. Your goals will depend on what works best for your association- remember, it’s not one-size-fits-all!

2. Gamification

Turning your heavier tasks into a game that everyone can take part in could be the ticket to getting things done. If you’re having a hard time rallying your staff and getting them excited about the work ahead of them, incorporating in some competition could work in your favor. Everyone loves winning, and a little gameplay to get this accomplished might raise spirits around your association’s office. But how can this be done? Even with the most serious of tasks, there are ways to liven things up. For starters, you can create prizes and incentives for staff that put in the most time on certain projects (think about staff that show up to every volunteer event without even being asked). You can also create competition around drumming up ideas. Have a major event coming up and need ideas for marketing material designs? Enlist your staff to submit their ideas and give prizes to those with the best entries. You can also create an “achievement” program to acknowledge those staff members that go above and beyond what you ask of them. This is a great way to recognize those smaller steps that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

3. Increase staff independence

The worst thing you can do when staff are feeling overwhelmed and overworked is tighten your control. Sometimes, the best medicine for a lack in motivation is to take your foot off of the metaphorical pedal.

Micromanaging may seem like a way to ensure quality on projects is met, but it can really get on your staff’s nerves. You hired your association’s staff for a reason, so you need to have the trust in them that they’ll get the job done right and on time. Increasing staff independence doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. In fact, there are easy ways you can step back and allow staff room to breathe that don’t have to change the way you manage projects.

One way to do this is to incorporate flexible work schedules into your association’s office. Allowing staff to set their hours the way they want can actually increase productivity. Some staff may find they work better in the earlier hours of the day, while others thrive on a nightly work schedule. Giving staff the freedom to find their work sweet spot could help projects go over smoothly. You can also step back on the minute details of a project. While quality assurance is a must, have faith that your staff can increase the quality on projects without you micromanaging them to do so.

Stepping back can leave more room for staff productivity and motivation in the long run.