With the first summer days ahead of us, you’re probably not surprised to see your employees aching to leave the office early. While there is nothing wrong with getting swept up in the fun the warm weather brings, there’s no need for the office to feel like prison. If you fear the summer could turn your workforce into a company of clock-watchers, take a cue from the iconic ice cream truck to unlock employee potential.
What makes a trip to the ice cream truck so enjoyable? The answer is dopamine. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter of the brain’s Reward System, responsible for feelings of pleasure. Treats cause dopamine to flood the Reward System. We experience the same rush when our favorite sports team wins, we receive a word of praise, or we scratch a task off of our to-do list.
Another important fact: dopamine rushes are addictive. By appealing to the addictive nature of the Reward System, you can help motivate your employees to achieve their full potential.
An Extra Scoop of Praise
If employees get recognition from you when they do good work, they will seek out opportunities to impress again and again. Your praise becomes that beckoning ice cream cone. This is why it’s important to acknowledge good work often, not just when it’s time for performance reviews. Many leaders still cling to the idea that withholding praise will make employees work harder to please, but the truth is, this school of thought runs counter to our brain chemistry.
Good Humor Them
Your most talented employees can become disengaged if they’re not challenged enough. Don’t let your superstars surf the net on slow summer afternoons – reward them by investing in their professional development. Approach them with questions like:
By giving them license to grow after their normal workload is complete, your top performers’ downtime will feel like playtime, and you benefit from employees with more developed and diverse skills to offer.
Share the Sundae
Since dopamine is triggered by sharing in a victory, why not reward the whole office when one team reaches their goals? When a team finishes a big project successfully, or ahead of schedule, try buying everyone lunch – or, yes, ice cream. This reinforces the fact that the success of individuals and teams contributes to the success of the company as a whole. To be sure you’re rewarding the achievement, and not just attendance, don’t announce in advance that there will be a reward: make this treat a surprise, on a day those responsible are sure to be present.
These tips are guaranteed to motivate your employees to reach their full potential, and you’ll boost company morale while you’re at it. Have fun at the office this summer!
SKYE Business Solutions helps leaders discover their purpose: the driving force behind your organization’s ability to achieve. Purpose empowers leaders to recognize value; creating a culture of engagement, contribution, and trust. SKYE propels your leadership to the next level: pushing through the ordinary to unlock the full potential throughout all levels of your organization.