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4 Unique Ways to Inspire Workers A free shirt with the company logo isn't going to cut it anymore.

By Entrepreneur Europe Staff

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You're reading Entrepreneur Europe, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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As your workers adjust to rising energy prices and the ever-changing hybrid work landscape of post-pandemic Europe, they're facing stresses in their personal and professional lives. A good manager wants to inspire employees, especially in difficult times, but where do you begin?

The dreary final stretch of winter is a great time to give them some extra inspiration, so here are a few tips.

1. Spruce up the work environment.

You already know that after the work-from-home boom of the pandemic, return-to-office pushes weren't universal. Some offices have downsized as more employees have stayed remote while others have started a four-day work week or other hybrid model. There may be some open space in your office as a result, so why not spruce it up?

Invest some time and money into enhancing a break room, creating a relaxation zone, or giving the whole place a little makeover. Bright paint colors, comfortable chairs, new lighting, a snack station — there are plenty of options to make your office a more inviting, joyful place to be. When employees feel like their comfort is valued, they'll be more inspired.

2. Get creative with incentives.

You already know that incentives are a big motivator for workers, which is why off-sites and cash bonuses are so popular. Get creative with your incentive offerings.

Could you pay for Friday lunch for the week's most productive employee? Could you give everyone a four-day weekend at the end of each month if they meet a certain goal? Could you raffle off a trip, a fancy dinner, or another unique experience, setting a productivity goal to be met for each raffle entry? Fun competitions and engaging incentives will inspire them more than a branded water bottle or lunchtime takeout party.

3. Create a culture of growth.

Because it will take some time, this won't have an immediate impact, but the effects will be long-term. Double down on fostering a growth structure within your company that rewards hard work and makes employees feel valued. Prioritize internal hiring, promotions, and bonuses. Set up monthly meetings with employees to highlight their successes and point out where they have room to grow, then make sure their direct supervisors work with them on those areas that need improvement. Keep detailed records of their output so they can see exactly how well they're doing as time goes on. Workers want to feel like their effort has worth, not only to you and the company, but in terms of their own fulfillment.

4. Involve workers in decisions.

One incentive structure that motivates employees is giving them stock in the company, but you can do more than that to help them feel like a real part of the team. Next time you have to make a major business decision, poll the workers and factor their opinions into your choice. There's often a feeling of disconnect between lower-level staffers and management, as those on the ground know how the business really operates day-to-day and those in the corner offices see an overview. Both are important, so show them you know that by being transparent about business plans, company workings, and your decision-making process and inviting them to join you.

Start by polling them on what you could do to make your workplace more inspiring. The simple question can inspire creative thoughts and solutions you may never have imagined yourself.

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