• Jo Wassell

Boosting your teams morale in lockdown (and beyond)

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

So, here we are.

Still remote. Still virtual. Still missing those coffee-run kitchen chats, lunch catch ups and gossip from the weekend’s social events.

I’ve been talking to a lot of B2B marketing leaders who are finding this (hopefully last) lockdown incredibly challenging, as it gets harder to motivate people as time goes on. So I wanted to share some thoughts on how you can still boost spirits and keep performance high. It’s simple stuff, but amid all the chaos it’s easy to lose sight of those small things that make a big difference.

Why now? While plenty of attention was given to team morale and engagement during the first lockdown, I am hearing from leaders that it is in some ways harder as time goes on and we are well into our third lockdown to keep morale and wellbeing high. I am hearing this as well from the conversations with a number of marketers at the coal face so to speak who are feeling disheartened and disengaged at work. And I’m seeing the direct impact this is having on staff turnover.

Regroup and refocus. Today.

This isn’t an initiative that requires a huge financial investment or even that much of a time investment, but just a little more of a creative approach to people management.

With marketers reporting working longer hours (now they’re at home all day where its easy to just keep on working well into the evening), a lack of interaction with peers, no training or no clear development pathway, I wanted to find out what measures have helped busy marketing teams feel more valued and engaged. Here’s what’s working:

The feedback loop

This simply means setting up a mechanism to make it easy to both give and receive feedback for employees at all levels. What’s more, it’s crucial to act upon this feedback. In fact, with Gallup citing that employees who receive daily feedback being three times more engaged than those who only receive it once a year, it really should be key business target along with revenue and other measures of success.

Coaching back to confidence

People feel valued when you invest in them. By providing coaching, you can help employees develop the skills that are critical in these changing times; from improved leadership or client management, to time management and building a personal brand. Offering coaching demonstrates you want to develop your team and that they have opportunities for growth with you, And it gives them a sense of purpose in what is otherwise a very distracting, scary time.

Emotional support and slowing down

Many businesses I’m talking to are all systems go, striving to keep momentum going or pick up where business dropped off. As business owners, it’s a tricky balance between driving revenue in an unprecedented challenging market whilst also been conscious of the challenges your team may be facing.

People may be lonely, juggling children who may be isolating, have sick or vulnerable relatives to care for, or have complex home lives made worse by lockdown. Now is the time to give employees all the emotional support they need, ensuring their workload is manageable. Ultimately, this will lead to better performance and outcomes.

I’ve spoken with some marketers whose businesses offer a free, external, confidential support line manned by trained professional counsellors. This could be via health insurance, or a separate service. But it gives employees somewhere to turn when they need to discuss issues that could be impacting on their mental wellbeing.

Get creative with teambuilding

I wanted to find out how team building has evolved with lockdown too. I spoke to some B2B marketers to find out what they’ve enjoyed – beyond the simple coffee morning team catch up calls…

“We’ve had some fun team challenges set to help keep spirits up and our working relationships good. Every week we all share our funniest meme or photo that we’ve taken to a private sharing board. And once or twice a week we set ourselves a mini marketing campaign challenge too, so we’re having fun while challenging our marketing brain at the same time (a bit like one-minute briefs).”

“For me, creativity plummets when I’m stuck in one place for a long time. Fortunately my manager actively encourages us to get up and away from our desks for at least five minutes every hour, and encourage longer conference calls to be done while out taking a walk (where viable and if a computer is not needed of course!).”

“My agency takes fitness really seriously, and has organised for online classes to be run throughout the week. Now we’re all at home, more people take part than when we were actually in the office!”

“Social events at home! We were sent cocktail making kits and had online cookalongs organised to celebrate various award wins and anniversaries. We even had a team Pictionary night over Zoom when we all decided we needed cheering up! It’s so nice to see everyone let their hair down, and it definitely boosts confidence and builds stronger relationships.”

The marketers I spoke to reported an increase in productivity, job quality and business success after making just some of these small changes, so it’s well worth the investment in time.

If you need help brainstorming new ideas or freshening up your current approach, or you want to take this opportunity to develop your team and discuss some of the training and coaching packages we provide, I’m just at the end of the phone and always happy to chat.

Otherwise, until next time,