Motivate Your Employees
CreatingCarl La Mell, the president of Clearbrook, a nonprofit organization
a dedicated and motivated workplace isn't just about giving raises.
Learn how the best employers bring the best out of their employees.
based in Arlington Heights, Illinois that specializes in helping
children with developmental disabilities, spends his time among a staff
that loves him. Last year, they nominated him for the Best Boss Award
given out every year by Winning Workplaces, an organization that honors
small-to-midsize business leaders who inspire intensely dedicated
workforces. When a spokesman from Winning Workplaces called to inform
him that he had won along with 17 others, La Mell's humble manner had
actually prevented him from learning that he had even made the
finalists. "I thought the notification e-mail was spam," La Mell says
with a smile. "I deleted it."
Mell's advice for small business owners seeking to keep their own
employees motivated is simple: "I think it comes down to one
word-respect," La Mell says. "You have to respect everyone's job in
your organization." It's easy to see that La Mell puts his own advice
into constant practice. As he makes his way through the Clearbrook
offices, he takes the time to talk to each person he passes.
he jokes that he's sometimes too open with his staff, La Mell believes
that listening to the advice of employees and acting on it is one of
the best ways to keep a staff motivated. "Even if an idea is bad, you'd
rather have staff give you an idea than not give you one," La Mell
says. "If you create an environment in which you can't come up with an
idea, you stifle people. It doesn't matter if the idea's off the wall.
You could even tell them, ‘You're off the wall' and they'll laugh if
you do it with respect and in the right way."
Realizing that it
was difficult to recognize his employees' exceptional efforts off-site,
La Mell began giving customer service awards to employees who went
above and beyond their job description. Some nominations come from the
families they serve; others come from the staff themselves. "One of the
things that I think is missing in other places is the idea that
customer service isn't just about the customer," La Mell says. "It's
also the other departments you deal with."
In addition, he hosts
a staff recognition dinner every year in which he gives out awards
based on years of service. At the dinner, each department puts on a
skit and the best skit wins a small award like a free pizza. There are
also holiday parties where employees can win prizes. La Mell has also
added financial incentives for performing well as determined by a
performance-based measurement system.
Leaders such as La Mell
demonstrate that money is far from the only means of motivating your
employees. In fact, he believes that giving raises is one of the least
effective methods. Above all, La Mell believes that a properly
motivated workplace must begin with an enthusiastic and motivated
"It starts at the top," he says. "If you show respect and keep an open environment, then people will follow your lead."
EASY WAYS TO MOTIVATE YOUR EMPLOYEES
important to help your employees set goals for themselves. These can
include both long-term and short-term goals and they can be both
work-related and personal in nature. Often, goals are set on a weekly,
monthly, quarterly, or even yearly basis. Many companies use
"performance management systems," which get every employee on the same
page, regardless of his or her position. If they understand the
relationship between their specific job and the company's success,
they'll often approach their work with a sense of belonging.
Frequently, that sense is all it takes to get that individual to finish
a given task. And, of course, rewarding your employees for achieving
their goals goes a long way toward creating a consistently motivated
Encourage Creative ThinkingSuccessful
companies promote an environment in which creative thinking by the
employees is allowed, if not encouraged. If you've been successful in
explaining your company's overall objectives in detail, employees will
often come up with their own creative strategies for achieving these
goals. In the case of the sales force that I help manage, I usually
tell them the successful tactics that I used while making sales but I
also add that there's no one correct way. Everyone has a unique
personality that might translate into an effective method of making
sales. The challenge of figuring out an effective method on their own
can be liberating and much more fulfilling. Plus, employees are more
apt to listen to future advice if you let them figure out that you are
right on their own.
Devise a System of Teamwork and TrustEmployees
are never going to produce the way you expect them to if they think you
don't care about them. Start off by learning about your employees'
personal lives. This will give you insights into how to deal with them
in certain situations. Your relationship with your workers should seem
like one between partners as opposed to one between employee and boss.
Also, spread specific assignments around among your workers. By giving
employees special tasks, you make them feel more important. When your
employees feel like they are being trusted with added responsibilities,
they are motivated to work even harder so they won't let the company
Foster an Environment of FunStudies have
shown that employees are more dependable and productive when they think
their workplace is a fun place to come to every day. I've found that
one of the most effective methods of doing this is simply engaging my
sales reps in conversations about topics that we both find interesting.
It's not necessary to talk to them all day long, but a few minutes here
and there throughout the day can work wonders. Little talks like these
allow the employee to see you as a regular person, and when your
employees like you as a person, they are more likely to listen to you
when you need them to get something done.