A motivated employee is not only a productive employee, but a key ingredient for the success of any organisation. Motivated employees provide exceptional customer service, which brings customers back to you. They also stay with the organisation longer, which decreases the costs inherent in hiring and training new employees.
How do you motivate employees? You can use a variety of methods, many of which are financially feasible for even the smallest operation. The following are some ideas you can use to motivate your employees to improve their performance and their productivity.
- Use positive reinforcement and public praise. Too often, the only time employees get any attention is when they make a mistake. Employees need to know that their contributions are noticed and appreciated. Recognition improves employee’s self-esteem, which results in increased pride and productivity. Some organisations use an annual Great Performers Award for employees who provide customers with high levels of service. One multinational organisation has a Golden Falcon Award which is bestowed on non-management employees for service above and beyond their customary line of duty. A well-deserved word of praise can do much to set the standard for quality service in your operation. Deliver ‘thank you’ messages in person as often as possible. Recognise exceptional employees in your organisation’s publication, give them Employee of the Month Awards, and acknowledge them at organisational functions.
- Even small successes should be celebrated. Big bonuses are nice, but aren’t necessary. Celebrating small successes on a frequent basis motivates employees to do their best. Acknowledge and reward them with a pizza party, a small gift, a day off, a balloon bouquet, humorous plaques, or a sincere round of applause.
- Acknowledge and reward employees in all areas of the organisation. Too often, top frontline performers earn sizable bonuses or expensive prizes, while top service performers go unrecognised or are recognised on a much smaller scale. Award comparable rewards in all areas of the organisation. Don’t send the message that service is less important than frontline contacts.
- Develop a team spirit. Working together to accomplish a valued objective builds team spirit and a customer-oriented corporate culture. A famous financial institution has developed a team framework for its client contact staff. Team leaders are given entrepreneurial freedom and are allowed to hand pick their team members. They know they have authority and that they will receive the support necessary to build their operation. The rest of the departments are designed to support the teams.
- Train your employees. When you take the time and make the investment to train your employees, they feel valued. Employees who feel valued are more motivated and, therefore, more productive.
- Empower your employees. Empowerment is a powerful motivational tool. Employees who are given the authority to satisfy customers are crucial to the success of your business. Give them the authority to handle customer complaints and concerns on the spot. Then allow them to use that authority by letting them know they won’t be fired if they make a mistake.
- Give employees clear, but general guidelines so that they have room to maneuver and to think creatively. An organisation executive recalls an incident where a waitress told a customer that he and his guests would not be charged for their dinner because the wine he had ordered was not available that evening. She made the decision on her own because the man was a regular customer who ordered that particular wine at least once a month to impress his clients. The manager later told me that, every time a business diner leaves his restaurant disappointed, he risks losing up to $300,000 a year, a considerable sum for a small restaurateur.
- Treat your employees well, and they will treat your customers well. Show me a club whose employees don’t serve people, and I’ll show you a club whose employees aren’t being served. It is essential that employees feel good about their jobs. When they do, they perform efficiently, effectively, and enthusiastically. Managers must see their employees as customers and must respect, appreciate and value them.
Treat your employees like you treat your customers, and you will have a winning team. Acknowledge and reward their accomplishments. Empower them. Train them. Treat them like the heroes they are. The success of your business depends on them.