I've traveled all over the country to teach people from all over the world
about customer care, customer loyalty and workplace happiness. It's given
me a thorough understanding of the pain points that businesses face each day,
and one big challenge for so many is motivation.
It's tough to motivate employees to consistently create the kinds of positive
customer experiences that lead to customer loyalty. It's like customer care;
you can't "mandate" motivation any more than you can "mandate" that frontline
employees feel genuine care for your customers. And the challenge can never
be fully resolved if managers don't learn more about what makes their employees
The bottom line: One size does not fit all when it comes to motivating all
of your customer-facing employees. Different people are motivated by different
things, and you should never assume you know what those things are.
Motivation is directly linked to what an employee values. Uncover what they
value and how they perceive the world and you'll have the key to what it takes
to motivate them to be and do their best, to go above and beyond to build
trusting and loyal customer relationships! Today, more than ever, creating
happy, engaged and willing-to-say-great-things-about-you-customers is key
to long term profitability.
Put these three action steps to work and then incorporate what you learn
into your motivation initiatives:
- Learn how to do the multigenerational dance.
Today's workforce is comprised of four distinct generations, each one having
very specific needs and desires. While the WWII generation typically responds
to authority, Gen X is self-reliant and tends to seek work/life balance.
Meanwhile, Boomers tend to look for meaning in the ways they make a living
while the youngest generation, Gen Y, is looking to be recognized for their
efforts. Though these generalizations aren't cut in stone, they're a great
starting point for beginning to understand what your staff members really
want. Our belief systems are almost completely formed by the time we are
14 years old. Understanding a little about what was going on in the early
years of each generation really helps to understand their world view.
- Money isn't everything.
Be mindful that when it comes to motivating employees, money isn't the be
all and end all. Want proof? My friend and colleague Mel Kleiman (the world's
leading authority on recruiting, selecting and retaining the best hourly
employees.) offers this simple test: Write down four words – money, opportunity
(growth and challenge), recognition and life style. Rank them one through
four in the order of importance. People are always surprised to learn that
nine out of ten people do not put money in the number one slot. Be sure
to share this test with your team as well and to encourage people to share
- Motivation is both an inside-out and an outside-in proposition.
Provide your employees with a balance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.
Intrinsic motivation comes from within an individual while extrinsic, as
the name implies, is being motivated from outside oneself by someone or
something else. Most managers rely solely on the latter using money and/special
privileges, thank you notes, pizza parties and the like. The problem: These
can lose their power over time.
To inspire intrinsic motivation, look for opportunities to get to know your
employees and find out their individual goals, values and strengths. Make
it your habit to notice, appreciate and build on them. Understand that everyone
has their own individual combination of "motivators." When you find the
right combo you unlock the passion inside.
Would they like more opportunities for growth and challenge? Recognition
in the company newsletter or in a memo to your boss? A chance to collaborate
with others on a creative project? Telecommuting so they can spend more
time with their kids? Prestige? Independence? A chance to teach others?
Paying attention to ordinary conversations can reveal this extraordinary
information. Scheduling a little one-on-one time with each employee every
few months to tell them what they are doing right will put this information
into a useful context for delivering feedback that will be appreciated.
By putting these tips into action, you'll be off to an excellent start in
"creating an environment where your employees feel good about themselves in
your presence, and are inspired to perform at their best."