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Now is the time to connect with your team!

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it!

Every single person in New Zealand has had to deal with unprecedented and unexpected change. This will continue for the foreseeable future.

While we have been working together as a team of 5 million, every individual’s experience has been unique. Some have coped well in this ever-changing environment and become masters of sourdough bread – however this is not the reality for most.

Almost everyone we deal with has suffered some difficulty, whether it be the challenges of home-schooling, stress from the loss of routine, job losses or relationship difficulties. This will be the same within your team.

As employers, the challenges will continue, as we seek to manage through a global recession and pivot or improve to ensure your business survives. Now, more than ever before, it is critical you have high performing, connected and engaged teams who can operate productively in a changing environment.

Because of this it is essential to relook at your engagement strategies and ensure that you are implementing the right things for these times. This is a unique period, and we must use unique and well thought out techniques, which recognise the difficulties our teams face.

What your people need now is a deep focus on their personal wellbeing, to be heard and cared for, and to feel connected to you and your business.

Easier said than done we know. However its often the simple things which will matter most right now:

  1. Regular one on one’s – Traditionally one on one discussions have been focused on performance and held infrequently. To make sure you know and understand the ups and downs your team may be facing we recommend scheduling in short, frequent individual discussions. Changing the focus of this will also be key – try starting with asking “how are you going?” and then move onto work topics.
  2. Listening deeply – Now is the time to focus strongly on understanding your team, encouraging openness, and actively recognising when someone needs help. Listening deeply will not only help you connect with your team, it’s often all someone needs to feel better, to feel heard and to feel valued. How much do you talk in one on ones? It is time to assess that ratio and make sure you as a Manager are listening more than talking.
  3. Let your team know it’s OK to have “down” days – Every single person I know has had at least one day of Covid fatigue. They may be tired, have had something cancelled, or just feel worried. If your team understand that this is normal, and it’s OK to talk about it, then they will feel well supported and more likely to bounce back quickly. Developing a fun support framework for your team is also a good idea – and encourage teamwork and collaboration.
  4. Look out for signs of more serious mental health concerns – While it is normal to have “down” days from time to time, for some people it will become more serious than that. Watching for signs that any of your team members might need additional, professional support will be a great help to them and their family.
  5. Ensure you have 2-way communication channels in place – During the initial lockdown we all had to move at pace – getting safety measures in place, confirming pay arrangements etc. This meant a lot of business communication. Now that we have moved through this period it is time to assess your communication channels and double check that your team not only receive the information, but that the way you have communicated has resulted in them understanding your message. Can they ask questions? How do they give you feedback on what is happening?  Implementing some two-way channels will ensure your future communication is more effective and allow it to be tailored more accurately for your team’s needs.
  6. Implement small regular Pulse Surveys – Your team’s priorities and motivators will have changed during this period, and they will continue to change as we face further Covid challenges. Moving from engagement surveys to quick regular check ins via a Pulse Survey will help you keep pace with where your team is at and make sure you have your support and priorities right for your team
  7. Take time to have a laugh – They say laughter is the best medicine, and often this is all people need to have their mood lightened and feel better about their day. Encourage a bit of fun amongst your team and join in! Your team will feel a far greater connection to you and your business if they see you right alongside them sharing in their experiences.

Most of all, at the moment, your team probably just need your time and patience. Now is a time where you can strengthen your culture, gain long term commitment to your brand, and build solid team connections.

Make the most of the opportunity. A strong team connection will mean strong business results!

Positive People have over 25 years’ experience helping businesses implement the right people solutions for their teams. Contact us now to discuss a Pulse Survey, or for any HR support you need.




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Motivating your Team

Motivating your Team

29 May 2020

There are thousands of books, courses, TED Talks and more dedicated to helping leaders to motivate employees and create a motivational company culture. We could literally go on all day – or all week!

Here is a targeted list of actions you can put in place today to increase the motivation of your employees.


  1. Have Meaningful and Worthwhile Goals in Place

Review your business, team and individual goals to ensure that they are fit for purpose in todays environment. Once they’re in place, communicate them widely and refer back to them often.


  1. Be a Leader Worth Following
  • Trust your team. Set the values, vision, purpose and framework within which employees are expected to do their jobs, and then empower them to do so.
  • Walk the talk. As a leader you must always be setting the tone and values for the company through your own actions. If you set a positive example in everything you do, employees will follow and the entire work culture will become more motivating.
  • Be a respectful, honest, empathetic and supportive manager. Bad management is one of the main reasons employees resign. Respect, honesty, support, and clear communication are fundamental in good leadership.


  1. Acknowledge Achievement and Effort

Often, all an employee wants is some recognition for a job well done. If people feel that their efforts are appreciated, they will feel ‘motivated to continue working hard. Recognition is high on the list of employee needs for motivation. Many supervisors equate reward and recognition with monetary gifts. While employees always appreciate money, they also appreciate praise, a verbal or written thank you and opportunities to lead or be involved in different work or a new project.

  • Write a thank-you note
  • Give verbal praise – either one-on-one or in front of the team
  • Consider a small token of your gratitude. A card, a chocolate bar, a new notebook or pen – whatever you think your employee would appreciate.


  1. Provide Opportunities for Autonomy

Employees gain a lot of motivation from the nature of the work itself – particularly autonomy and independence in how they approach accomplishing their work.

  • Allow employees to self-manage wherever possible
  • Delegate decision making where it makes sense
  • Look for opportunities for employees to contribute to leadership meetings or projects
  • Ask for feedback and contribution when setting goals and priorities
  • Include employees on emails that tell them about what is happening in other parts of the business
  • Look for opportunities to expand the job description to match the employee’s development


  1. Reward High Performance

Rather than try to guess what’s important to employees, sit with them and ask what they value and what would incentivise them. If adding a financial incentive is not possible in todays environment, consider more creative options – for example, offering additional leave for consistently over-achieving on targets.


  1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
  • Team meetings provide one of your best opportunities to set the culture, build motivation and increase engagement. Hold them regularly, keep them short and don’t do all the talking. Ask people to share their challenges and successes, have employees give updates on projects, refer back to company and team goals and give progress updates on them
  • Good communication is a two-way street. Welcome feedback and ideas. Set up channels for this that will work for your team.
  • Be responsive. If an employee raises a concern with you via email, show that you care by replying or responding immediately – even if it is to let them know that you will consider their request/concern and come back to them.
  • Book in regular one-on-one meetings and stick to them. Show your employees you value them by dedicating this time to them. Understand each employee’s career and life goals. Discuss what they need to do to achieve these and help them to create a development plan accordingly.


  1. Team Work makes the Dream Work
  • Be caring and put your people first – expect your employees to do the same
  • Don’t miss an opportunity to encourage team work
  • Acknowledge when an employee helps their colleague out
  • If you know someone is struggling, ask one of their colleagues to help
  • Look for opportunities for some friendly competition – often the combined elements of fun and competition bring people together
  • Celebrate success and make having some fun at work a priority


  1. Don’t forget the Physical Work Environment
  • Make sure that your employees have the right tools to do the job. Struggling with out-of-date technology or damaged equipment can be very demotivating
  • No one feels excited working in a dingy space. Sprucing up your office does not need to cost a lot. A few plants and some comfy chairs/spaces can make a world of difference and bring the comforts of home into your office environment. If the walls need a lick of paint and the carpets could do with an upgrade, consider introducing colours as opposed to the standard office grey.
  • Are good snacks the key to employee motivation? Maybe. After all, nobody works well when they’re hangry. Think about providing some healthy food – it doesn’t need to be expensive or even a regular thing. A fruit bowl now and then or the occasional uber-eats catered learning lunch will always go down well.


Every business is different and, as such, will have different HR needs. Positive People is available to help. Call us on 09 445 1077 or email info@positivepeople.co.nz

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Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement – Why managers should prioritise praise


“If each of us was to confess our most secret desire, the one that inspires all our plans, all our actions, we would say “I want to be praised”” – Emil Cioran, Philosopher

When we see an outstanding leader in action, one of the first things we notice is their ability to recognise achievement and celebrate success in a way that feels genuine. This has an uplifting snow-ball effect on the team.

This is evident in data gathered from global engagement survey providers, which consistently tell us that there is a direct link between enhanced retention, productivity and revenue and employees receiving praise and recognition at work.

But even when we know that praising employees for their work and commitment has a positive effect on our bottom line, it can still be something we struggle with.

Practice makes perfect.

Knowing you should give positive reinforcement, and actually doing it are two very different things. Also, saying the same thing on repeat will quickly lose its impact. So not only does it need to become a habit but you also need to mix it up.

“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount” – B. F. Skinner, Psychologist


  1. Find out what motivates each member of your team and tailor your positive feedback to drive their performance
  2. Use different channels. Some people prefer one-on-one, others in front of the team, or in an email. Most people will respond well to praise, however it is delivered, so use a variety of forums to keep it fresh
  3. Remember your introverts. You may not hear as much about their accomplishments so make the effort to dig a little deeper to find out how they are going. If they’re delivering great results, let them know
  4. Commit yourself to never forgetting to praise a team member who you see going the extra mile. Discretionary effort is the hallmark of engaged employees and these are the people you need to retain.
  5. Remember, it is far easier to spot mistakes than it is to focus on what is right with a piece of work. Keep this in mind when delivering feedback and make sure it’s balanced.
  6. If you have a consistently high performer, don’t forget to consistently praise them for their efforts. Sometimes when a high level of performance becomes the norm from someone, it can be easy to let the positive feedback slip off the radar
  7. Performance reviews are the ideal opportunity to link an employee’s efforts with the bigger picture. Tie their achievements to the strategic goals of the organisation – this reminds them of the ‘why’ and the important part they are playing
  8. If you’re working on an area of development with an employee, take every opportunity to positively reinforce behaviour or actions that show they’re improving in this area

Positive People can help you to develop your frontline leader’s ability to recognise their team and elevate performance. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077.

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Making sure you and your team are goal focused, driven and successful.

Pretty much anyone can issue instructions and somehow get the job done.

But what is the quality like? How quickly is the job done? Does the team work together? How innovative is the team? How focused on the customer are they? Is the job delivered on time? What is the service like?

What good leaders are looking for is their team actually WANTING to do the job. And this is the mantra that stands at the core of motivation – WANTING TO rather than having to. It is about commitment, not compliance. Take a look at the individuals in your team. Who is committed? Who is just going through the motions?

“You cannot motivate anyone. You can only provide the environment where your team members motivate themselves.”

When people want to do something they can overcome the biggest of hurdles to achieve their goals.

Often people with loads of experience, knowledge and talent just fall by the wayside because they don’t have the passion to achieve things – they lack that critical WANT TO factor.

How do you ignite their passion?

There are two elements to this.

  1. Developing an understanding of each person in your team. This means there is a need to establish which buttons you need to push for each person. And each person’s motivational buttons are different, so it takes time and insight to work out what makes a person tick. This understanding allows you to temper and fine-tune your natural approach so your communication resonates with each person. People instinctively understand, appreciate and “get” that you “get” them. This individual awareness allows you to develop and grow a special relationship with each of your different team members. This means that you connect to each person and this is a strong contributor to their commitment.
  2. Creating a workplace environment that allows everyone to be their best. This requires the development of an organisational culture that is conducive to people pushing forward for both individual and organisational success because it feels good to do so.

This kind of environment is usually principled, supportive, challenging, exciting, and collaborative.

Add to these two key motivational factors an appreciation of what the organisation is trying to achieve, coupled with a clear understanding of the expectations attached to their role, and you will have motivated team members committed to succeed.

While the motivation of each individual is in their own hands, the set-up for this motivation is very much in the hands of the management.

Following these guidelines should help you and your team members ride the crest of a wave with enthusiasm and success. To find out more you can check out our website here or contact us at 09-455-1077.

Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Motivation module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.