You have to make employees feel
valued so that they want to do their
best work on a daily basis and consistently
act in the best interests of your business
WHAT I T TAKES TO MOTIVATE
A positive attitude rubs off on everyone,
especially customers. “You’ll rarely get an
employee to treat customers any better than
the way they’re treated by their employer,”
says Nelson. “With motivated employees,
you get return customers who buy more.”
When you know what motivates your
staff, you’re that much closer to getting the
results you want from them. Employees
feel inspired to do their best when you:
Pay them more than money. People have to
make a living, but salary and benefits in
themselves don’t serve as motivators. They’re
an entitlement, not an incentive. A fair wage
plays little role in determining whether
someone is a motivated, satisfied employee.
Provide more than just a job. Create an environment where employees want to work.
Keep the store clean and pleasant. Make
sure you enjoy what you do. When you’re
happy, it rubs off on everyone else. Laugh,
joke and have fun on the job.
Place employees appropriately. Place them
in jobs and assign them tasks that they
enjoy and can excel at. For example, let an
athletically inclined employee stock merchandise and one who has a way with numbers handle the invoices.
Offer variety. Employees are motivated by
a mix of responsibilities. Cross-train your
staff, so they can perform a variety of duties and cover for each other on their days
off. Most will enjoy the challenge of
learning new tasks.
Expand the boundaries. Explain to employees how their jobs relate to other positions
in the store and to the business as a whole.
Let them know in what ways the business
depends on even the most mundane tasks
that are performed. Encourage staff to join
you in community causes, enlisting their
help with charity-related in-store events or
paying them two hours a week to volunteer
with a local organization.
Recognize employees’ long-term goals and
be a part of their plan to reach them. Ask
them where they want to be in five years
and then do what you can to help them
achieve that, whether it’s helping them
further their customer relations skills or
teaching them a new computer program.
Because you’re giving them opportunities
that contribute to meeting their goals,
they’ll feel motivated to do the work and
committed to you as a loyal employee.
Be more than an employer. Serve as a coach
and mentor too. Take the time to talk –
and listen – to your employees. Get to
know them. Everyone is different, so for-
get the cookie-cutter approach. Go to
lunch with your staff and spend time with
them on their breaks. Make sure you and
managers make yourselves visible, and ac-
cessible, by walking around and interact-
ing with staff.
Ask questions. While a certain amount of
motivation has to come from within, in the
right environment there’s a way to coax it
out. Sometimes it takes a little spark to get
the fire going, so find out specifically what
motivates each employee.
“Motivators differ from person to person and from the same person over time,”
says Nelson. “Spend a few moments each
month asking about their career goals,
personal hobbies and families. Their answers will give you clues as to how you can
help them continue to feel motivated at
your store. Discover what excites your employees and what new skills they could
learn to challenge themselves and contribute to your business.”
Be open to suggestions. Ask what changes
employees would like to make in their jobs
or how they could improve the way things
are run. Show that you value their opinions. “Open up your mind to what they
can offer and then let them loose with
that,” says Nelson. “They might surprise
you with the results.”
Have a little faith. It’s not enough just to feel
appreciation towards your employees; you’ve
got to prove it with your trust in them.
Delegate. For certain tasks, give them the