Team motivation is a key for success of any business or project. Now we have a sleepy August where majority of employees are on vacations.

It is actually a very good time to see the value of your team and team members. I am currently in USA and most small companies give only 10 days of paid vacations. But there are also good examples with 30 days of paid vacations.

I think that these companies treat their team properly. The longer vacations or flexible hours can be a good benefit for employees. I am working in such routine now as a consultant. On the other hand I have a worldwide team of my vendors and freelancers that I also have to manage. It is a little bit different management than onsite management.

Building a proper team and keeping its performance plus great motivation to work is a main role of any manager.

You can read thousands of books how to do it and attend hundreds of trainings.

I found a great presentation on Slideshare that summarizes main pain points and provides some tips.

Reading this presentation I recalled my own experiences from different companies I worked for.

Simply I would like to add some points. There are differences in the employees’ motivation between small business employees and huge corporations ones.

Team Motivation’s issues

Inadequate rewards

  1. small business – people want to have more friendly environment, less stress and more time to do the same job. The financial factor is not so important if other needs are fulfilled. There is a difference with physical workers. They mostly count on wages due to their low income.
  2. huge corporations – I noticed that it depends on their level, job grade in organizations.

Awful office space

  1. small business – typical offices are small with rooms that create more friendly atmosphere. Everybody has its own desk or cabinet for clothes. On the other hand I noticed that there is a problem with cleaning offices. Most US companies expect that their employees will clean it during the working hours…
  2. huge corporations want to save money on office space. I fully agree with this presentation statement that open space is not so good for employees. I remember a problem with concentration when your colleague talks over phone or with other employees. Everybody listens…Some companies introduced many small office huddles for 1-2 people that solved this problem. But still you hear printers, faxes, AC. I also worked in the office where my desk was put in front of my boss’ desk without any separation, small wall, etc. It was the worse place I’ve ever worked. I cannot work and see my colleagues seating in the front of me without any separation. All radiation from their monitors, laptops comes to me… I see their faces, eyes all the time. Not comfortable at all.

No self development

  1. small business is a busy space. Many things to do and less resources, people. It is extremely difficult to organize work that your people will have time for self development. But it needs to be done. Most small businesses don’t have money for great trainings. They need to relay on their employees self-learning.
  2. huge corporations invest their money in many trainings but the best training is self-training. Why? Because your employee knows what he needs to learn, where gaps on knowledge and expertize are. I remember in Procter&Gamble we had 10% of our time for self-development – online trainings, reading, etc. It was really important to have some breaks for refreshment and self-development. I noticed that I was able to find better and faster solutions for many issues that appeared during the work.

Inefficient collaboration

  1. small business is much better in collaboration due to less employees. I think that it is not a problem here.
  2. huge corporations are interested in a great collaboration between departments, vendors and people itself. I always heard – please coach, share your knowledge, teach other younger people. I think that it is a problem of trust. If your employee is somehow gratified by sharing knowledge, collaborating with others and he fells secure that all types of information he shared is good for the company and himself, it won’t create any fear of losing job, credibility, the position in company.

Recent years were very cruel for employees.

They shared knowledge to their folks outside USA or Europe. The result was one – the outsourcing and losing jobs.

Your company has to be smart in setting clear guidance and communication’s trust between people.

I remember my one project that was very political, very strategic with 3 possible solutions. People were really fighting with each other. They tried to convince their own solution to the leaders. It took 3 months to choose the best one and I was put as a project manager inside the hell. No collaboration, no trust. My team had to escalate and spend many months on unproductive work to convince, train and change the whole situation.

Negative people

can ruin any business or idea. Negativity spreads very fast. You have to always keep good morale in your team.

On the other hand some negativity is needed everywhere. Too optimistic people can also ruin your company.

The most important thing was to keep balance in this area, especially in project management. I avoided many risks and issues when I talked to “negative” team members.

Fear of failure

  1. small business has to be very flexible but the fear of failure is huge. It can stop any innovative activity of employees. Last month I had a client that bought a crm software with full options a few years ago. But his employees still use the same procedures like without it. Simply they use only 10% of functionalities because they afraid about the failure, about the changes in their work that can simply enable them to save time and concentrate on different tasks.
  2. huge corporations can deal with a fear of failure much better. They have more resources – people and money. Many companies like Procter&Gamble introduced a very good approach – learning from mistakes. You don’t do any mistakes if you don’t work. I like this statement very much.

Lack of clear goals

  1. small business is much better in collaboration and short term goals. The owner or manager can direct people easily to get the results.
  2. huge corporations have a constant problem with decision making and clear goals setting. I like the process of the strategy sharing in P&G. The high level strategy goes to the lower levels for more detailed strategies and action plans. But sometimes the effect of the strategy implementation takes 2 years for such huge companies. It can be damaged by another short term goal and changes.

Micromanaging bosses

they exist everywhere. It is a matter of trust and education. Some people need to learn how to delegate the tasks, respect and prizes for their good job to their peers.

Useless meetings

it is a typical situation for huge corporations that require their managers to build their image via presentations. I had many cases like that in my past. One director wanted me to attend all day project meetings because I was a project manager. She thought that I had to do it. Actually it is not needed for me to attend all meetings related to projects. I need to know only the outcome of such meeting if it has an impact on the project itself. Some people don’t understand it.

Wasting your team time for useless emails reading

  1. small business is much better in collaboration due to less employees. I think that it is not a problem here.
  2. huge corporations are interested in a great collaboration between departments, vendors and people itself.