Do you know the most important factor in motivating staff. How do you motivate the best in employees? Like many things in your business, the answer is the quality of your employees. Hands down, no debate.
Check out our thoughts on team leverage.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it.
- Dwight Eisenhower
Bringing out the best in employees can make or break any business. It all depends on how employees relate to your actions on their behalf.
We say it many times to our clients; this problem is solved by getting the right employees into the business (75% of the required solution) and then empowering and motivating these employees (25% of the required solution).
Before proceeding with this topic, let me tell you a short story about one of my own experiences on motivation:
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.
“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital,” he continued; “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”
“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.
Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part.
It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.
Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.
There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.
Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.
It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”
You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.
Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”
“What brought this on?” she asked with a smile.
“Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”
Every business owner imagines having a “dream team” of motivated employees — people who consistently go the extra mile at work. If your team is falling short of that fantasy, maybe it’s because you’re not providing the push they need to give 110 percent. A study by Globoforce has some insights into what it takes to make employees go above and beyond the call of duty.
Feelings that Motivate Employees to Go Above and Beyond
It’s all about the employee experience, according to the study. Specifically, there are five feelings that make employees more likely to put in extra effort, more likely to perform at higher levels and less likely to quit their jobs.
Belonging — feeling part of a team, group or organization
Purpose — understanding why one’s work matters
Achievement — a sense of accomplishment in the work that one does
Happiness — a pleasant feeling in and around work
Vigor — energy, enthusiasm, and excitement at work
Related: Why Customers Choose Businesses … Trust and Confidence
Employees are the primary customer contact for every business. So if they are not engaged nor have a neutral or negative attitude, what does that say about your company? In today’s competitive environment, you cannot afford the neutral or negative customer experiences that will usually result. So what can you do to keep employees engaged and motivated?
What can you, as the boss, do to achieve the ideal employee experience in your workplace? Here are 16 recommendations we use most frequently and that we believe matter the most in bringing out the best in employees:
Motivating staff … always put them first
Your employees are your business; it is as simple as that. You can be no better than they are. They know when you are putting them number one and respond accordingly. And of course, the reverse is true, isn’t it?
Employees want to feel their work is meaningful and their skills are being used to the fullest. They also want to receive feedback, recognition for performance and opportunities for professional development. Overall, employees want reinforcement that what they are doing is making a difference to the company as a whole. Giving employees regularly, ongoing feedback and recognition will help them feel satisfied with their work.
Your job as a business leader is to motivate, coach, and mentor and removing the roadblocks in their way. You can only do this if you are readily accessible.
If you want to create a positive employee experience, you’ve got to truly believe that employees matter in helping your business move forward and achieve its goals. From the employee’s point of view, this means providing clear direction about where the business is headed, so your team understands how their jobs relate to the company’s overall goals.
Business owners and managers also need to provide personal commitment and support for individuals and teams. Let your employees know you have their backs.
This one is related to putting your employees number one. That job starts with you showing them respect in every way possible. Watch and learn which ways are most effective.
Today’s employees expect their employers to show integrity, authenticity and transparency, both to them and the customers. You and your managers need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Also, having supportive relationships with coworkers greatly improves employees’ experiences at work.
Foster cooperation, not competition, among your employees, and create opportunities for employees to bond with each other both on and off the job.
If you have selected the best candidates and have trained them in their jobs, you need to turn them lose. The most important quality you want is initiative. This can only be achieved when they are fully empowered to act on your behalf.
Develop their strengths
Focus on developing their strengths and making their weaknesses irrelevant. Do this in a way that they realize you have their interests fully at heart.
Once they have mastered all that the current job has to offer, be ready to offer new opportunities for future growth and advancement. This may mean expanding the business to create these opportunities.
Listen more than talk
Listen, really listen, to what all employees are saying to you. You will be amazed at what you can learn.
Show you care
There are many ways to show employees you are authentic and the real deal. Try out as many as you can. Don’t fake it, no matter what.
Share information and knowledge
There should almost nothing you shouldn’t share with the employee team. The more they know, the better decisions they can make.
Know them as individuals
Be a walk around manager and leader. It is a great way to listen, learn, and get to know everyone as individuals. Relationships with employees go a long way to team building.
Support risk taking
Let employees know that you tolerate failure as long as they learn from their experiences. Remember, the more risks, the more rewards there are to be had.
Create trust and teamwork
We close with perhaps the most crucial way to bring out the best in employees … trusting them. They will never trust you without you first trusting them. It is the foundation of your employee team.
The bottom line
Never be done with your coaching, life is a continuous learning experience for you and your employees. Engaged employees take work and a consistent development process, but you will be pleasantly surprised the impact they will make on your customer’s experience and service.
How do you keep your employees engaged? When was the last time you employed these recommendations?
Do you have an employee development experience to share? Perhaps a comment or question?
How that interaction goes will ultimately determine if customers will buy and recommend the store to friends and family, or turn around and walk out, never to return.
So you can NOT help but put priority into getting all you can from every employee.
Need some help in capturing more improvements for your staff’s leadership, teamwork, and collaboration? Creative ideas in running or facilitating a team or leadership workshop?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.
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Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy continually improving your continuous learning?
Do you have a lesson about making your learning better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on continuous learning from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:
10 Ways Personal Development Can Improve Long-Term Success
Creative Ideas to Build Collaborative Teams in Organizations
The Story and Zen of Getting Things Done
How to Take Charge of Your Peace of Mind