Professional Comment

Entrepreneur and CEO Advises On Best Ways To Motivate Staff In Difficult Times

By Korosh Farazad – Entrepreneur, Investor, Author and Speaker – Founder of the Farazad Group (

Motivation is most usually depleted in times of uncertainty. Uncertainty is the enemy of an organisation – when staff are demotivated, output and energy flops. The past couple of years have been some of the most uncertain for decades and I have had to work hard, in innovative ways, to propel our businesses forward in the face of adversity.

In today’s world, flexitime and hybrid or remote offices are the norm. Gone are the days that a business needs firm hours and a compulsory office – in fact, employees no longer stand for it. Micromanaging and looking over junior shoulders is no longer viable and leaders and managers must look to new means of driving their team.

The first step in uncertainty is to remind your staff that you are ‘one’. As a leader it is important to even yourself out with your subordinates and reassure them that you are a team – if they go, there is no us. There is no business without an ‘us’. The key to motivating them from here is to incentivise them. Give them responsibility with tasks outside of their usual remits – ones that are helping the business get out of these sticky situations. This makes them feel needed and worthy of their roles, incentivising them to progress forward in a positive manner. To really demonstrate this, promote them. Do this with only one or two people, maximum, but promote them to a higher or more complex role. This immediately shows that the business is not going anywhere and creates a role model for the other staff, motivating the full force.

Now everyone’s in their swing, we have to keep up the momentum. Feeling the team spirit is non-negotiable in boosting morale and encouraging good work ethic. We may not be together physically but this does not stop us connecting virtually. Create a team WhatsApp chat and communicate regularly throughout the day. When communication is flowing, people are reminded that others are working and no one wants to be left behind.

Group chats are also a great way to maintain a company culture of recognition and appreciation. An employee that feels underappreciated or overlooked will be the first to lose motivation and engagement. When there is a win at work, praise those responsible to the whole group. In the absence of a physical pat on the back in front of their peers, give them a shout out on the virtual group chat and reward them, publicly. Prove to everyone that credit’s given when credit’s due.

It’s also worth noting here that not all milestones celebrated have to be work-related. Commend the birthdays, engagements, marathon runs and more, and send gifts to show this – e-cards or gift boxes through the mail. Recognising personal achievements reminds staff you see them as more than just your employees.

Nevertheless, don’t wave goodbye to real life events entirely. Sporadic team outings are great for lifting spirits and decreasing the risk of burnout. Surprise the team with a lunch out at a sought-after restaurant or a day off when the sun is shining. These fun acts of appreciation keep the work atmosphere light in otherwise dark times.