Is there a Secret to Motivating Employees?

by | Leadership, Management, Motivation, Performance, Personal, Training

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A couple of weeks ago, I was listening in with one of my colleagues on a weekly client coaching session. I love learning from and sharing ideas with our team.  I work with some pretty brilliant folks. In the call, I remember thinking how jazzed I was listening to how amazing the coach was doing, and how she really seemed to make the topic shine for our client. I decided to tell her so.

After the call, I did a quick search for an image of a “Brilliant Award.”  What do you know, there was a picture of a trophy and an award for being brilliant. I copied it and sent it to our whole coaching team with the details of the call and specific feedback on my colleague’s “awesomeness.” She was really touched and I felt great cheering her on that day.

Fast forward a week and another colleague had reason to receive the “Super Coach” award for some great client feedback and I wasted no time getting that out to her and the team. And then Beth sends a note about how much she loves us and appreciates our hard work! And now I’m thinking I can hardly wait to see who’s doing something awesome next! And maybe someone will send ME a note sometime if I’m particularly helpful. How can I help someone else today?  And THIS, folks, is the beginning of a motivational movement!

We are asked all the time “how can I motivate my employees?” in my previous career, I managed a national recognition and rewards program in my role in corporate America. Management was always looking at the secret to motivating our employees. And while people liked getting tangibles, I will tell you that in my experience, the happiest people were almost always those who were publicly and privately encouraged for their performance.  Bottom line – people who receive sincere praise want to receive more of it. And they will look for more opportunities to recreate that moment every chance they’ll get. Think about it, you praise a party host for turning a raving guest into a raving fan. She feels good and publicly thanks to a front desk associate for helping clean up after a particularly messy party. He then witnesses a great customer experience at the snack bar and tells everyone about their great teamwork. And soon we’re working together to create magic moments every single day.  How jazzed up would you feel working with a team like that? Well, it starts with you.

If you really want to know a secret to motivating employees, here’s one. Find someone whose action motivates you today. Tell the world using specific, timely, and 100% positive language for them and others to hear. (Resist the sometimes staggering urge to say to the others, “this is what the rest of you should be doing.”) Be positive at that moment and simply praise the RIGHT behavior.  Repeat this often – every chance you get. There’s no limit to how high your staff will climb (and how great everyone will feel!) with motivation like that!

We would love to hear how you motivate your employees.

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