Motivating A Team Of Independent Workers
By 2020, 40 percent of the US workforce will be independent workers. That is more than 60 million people transitioning away from the full-time, 9-to-5 workplace. The gig workforce has continued to grow because everybody wins.
Workers appreciate their flexibility, clients appreciate the speed to market the gig workforce provides, and businesses appreciate the low labor costs.
As workers enjoy this new style of work, some managers may find obstacles in building morale within a team of independent workers. Robert Vickery, Manager of the Client Engagement Center at Emerge’s headquarters, provided two guiding principles on how to motivate a team of independent workers.
I. Invest In Your Team With the gig economy on the rise, it is changing the way companies do business. Emerge’s Client Engagement Center provides a new model of managed services to our clients. Our Specialists provide clients the ability to drive products to market, optimize client financial opportunity, and expand the client’s brand as their employees stay focused on their core skills and services.
Looking over a team of independent workers, in which each specialist has their own client and goal in mind, Robert works to invest in his team as a whole. As it can be difficult to lead a team when each member has their own agenda, Robert provides the proper motivation to result in a unified output.
Finding a common overall goal for the entire team may seem simple, but is it motivational enough for the team to follow? Robert invests an equal amount of time in each of his specialist’s individual work goals to find a common theme or understand what motivates them. Focusing on each employee’s internal motivation provides a more substantial team goal in which each member feels valued and eager.
A common question asked in this growing workforce is how to develop the proper skills to move further in their career. Invested in each specialist’s independent goals and team objective goal, Robert takes the time to learn the habits, styles, technologies, etc. that are growing in the industry and what will be relevant within two to three years. Educating his team through group meetings, one-on-ones, or lunch and learns, Robert invests in his team’s business growth and future.
II. Provide An Empowered Atmosphere Robert creates an empowered workplace through team bonding and using each specialist’s motivation to their advantage.
When it comes to incentives, Robert has never seen handing out gift cards to the top performers as productive. As other team members may lose morale, top performer incentives can create a more competitive and cold environment. Team bonding, when possible, is always the best option. Just recently, Robert held a Texas Holdem tournament in which chips were distributed based on production level. Although some may have had more chips than others, some didn’t play the best cards. Distributing incentives in this way built morale within the team and rewarded everyone- no matter their performance.
Throughout the long winters of upstate New York, Roberts typically finds a lower morale from the “winter blues.” Whether someone is sick of the shoveling or someone is checked-out for the holidays, Robert finds the best response is to acknowledge that it is understandable and hone his knowledge of their internal motivation to boost their productivity.
Some leaders can disregard the outside noise and push for more results, no matter the season, but that does nothing to help the team. Acknowledging that we’re human and we will not always be at our top performance builds strong rapport between the team member and their manager. Having a connection with each specialist, Robert knows that some would feel more at ease over the holidays knowing they put their best work forward or knows that if someone meets their daily numbers, they can leave earlier to unwind from a morning of shoveling.
Building rapport and creating an empowered workplace not only motivates the team members but an increase in optimism is contagious.
The most exciting part of working in the Client Engagement Center for Robert is all the potential growth. Emerge is at the start of a growing trend and there are a lot of opportunities going into play. Not only does Robert feel it, but there is a certain energy that comes from the team knowing they are a part of something bigger.