At a seminar last year, a business owner attending the event with his staff stood up and announced he just couldn’t get the performance he needed from them. In fact, he said that every one of them seemed to lack motivation. I immediately asked what type of training he provided them. He replied, “A staff meeting once a week.”
As it turned out, the staff meeting was not used as a training opportunity but degenerated into a gripe-fest. I pushed on and asked what training he had given his staff in the arts of goal-setting or self-motivation. The answer, of course, was none.
This provided me with the perfect moment to recite one of my favorite maxims. “If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always gotten!”
If you want your staff to be motivated, you have to help them advance their personal goals, you have to help them understand what motivates them. More importantly, you have to understand what motivates them. Is it recognition, money, fear, or pride? Each person is different in this respect.
Once their personal goals and motivations are uncovered, usually just by asking, the astute business owner develops an empowerment strategy to help his employees become better at their jobs.
Your employees should understand that continued learning is expected and required, no matter how simple or mundane their jobs might be. A person can always improve. Teachers should strive to be better communicators or presenters. Retail staff should learn more about body language and building rapport. Auto shop mechanics should learn more about follow-up and better customer care.
Every organization should share this maxim with their employees from the janitor to the brain surgeon, “Get good, get better, be the best!” Now that’s easy to say, but it doesn’t happen by accident. You must take charge and be the catalyst to get employees, who are perhaps not in the habit of learning, to get involved in making themselves a greater asset to your organization.
One way is to hold a training session during regular business hours, and simply open an hour later. That way everyone shows up and no one begrudges the meeting. Another way is to hold it during lunch hour and spring for pizza.
Back up your training with ongoing support. Provide your employees with an audio to listen to in their cars on the way to or from work. Focus on a different skill to bring out the best in your employees each month. Include a worksheet to be filled out and brought back as a means of checking their comprehension. Offer them a small reward to encourage their willing participation.
Recommend a book each month and offer incentives to those who can answer a few simple questions on its content. Hand out the rewards at your regular staff meetings and compliment your employees on their efforts to make themselves more valuable to your company. Encourage your employees to attend seminars and allow them some time off to do so. In fact, as I write this two of my staff are in Orlando at a professional seminar.
The bottom line is this: Stop looking for super employees because they rarely exist. Instead, take the responsibility to inspire and empower ordinary employees to become exceptional. People are people; the difference is in the efforts you make to bring out the best in them.
Take the lead in inspiring ordinary employees to greatness.