It’s still a relatively new year and you are fired up about your business. Things are looking better this year and you’re feeling confident.
So how do you transfer that confidence and positive energy to your employees? How do you motivate them to give 110 percent every day? It’s really not that difficult.
First of all, focus on the bigger picture. When you got into this business, you did it to have a better life with more spending money, more time for your family and more fun doing what you love to do. If your employees aren’t motivated, you might need to remind them of their “why.”
Why did they take this job in the first place? What are they getting now that they weren’t getting before? If you remind them of those things, they focus on the end result instead of the day-to-day minutia that wears us all down.
Next pay attention to what excites them. Sure, most people are motivated by money and will work harder if they know a bonus might come their way. But some folks are more motivated by compliments and being told what a huge part of the company they are. Still others are motivated by a little healthy competition, as in one sales person competing with another. Talk to your employees and listen to what words they use. You’ll be able to figure out what motivates them and adjust accordingly.
When I worked for the Small Business Administration, I travelled around the state working with business owners, holding training sessions on how to hire the best workers. When we took a break, I decided to talk to a man who was clearly not into what we were discussing. After asking him some key questions, he made the statement, “I just don’t see how this is going to improve my bottom line.” At that point, I realized this man was not connecting with what we had been discussing, which was how to select the best person for the job. He was focused on the bottom line, not personalities.
So I spent the next hour discussing how having the right person in the right job would increase efficiency, productivity and – in the end – his bottom line. He was truly engaged at that point.
Finally, use positive reinforcement. You can’t build a team if you tear down its members. Rewarding successes is vitally important, so make it consistent and often. Sometimes even small achievements need to be recognized especially if the employee is new. Letting people know they’re catching on quickly helps them assimilate into the corporate culture and keeps them pumped up for learning more.
But don’t leave out your long-time employees. They need to hear a “job well done” too. It’s easy to forget this with someone who has been there so long they’re almost part of the family. With these employees, you have to make the positive comments fresh and new – not the same old compliments you’ve always given them.
So listen to your employees and find out what lights them up, then flip the switch and watch them glow.
Dana Dittmar is the executive director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.