If you are a manager or small business owner you need to find ways to motivate employees. Let’s face it. The greatest asset you have is your staff. Indeed, your employees are your business. They are the people your clients see and talk to. They determine the service level. They make the difference between business success and failure.
That being the case, it makes a lot of sense to do whatever it takes to bring them up to the next level. This is rarely an issue of money although it’s very important to pay your team members right. So, if it’s not an issue of compensation, how do you motivate and elevate your organization?
It really boils down to training and communication. And you will take a huge step forward towards having a very successful small business if you handle these two topics in a systematic and methodical manner. The great thing is it won’t cost you a dime to do this correctly and the benefits are enormous as I said. What would it mean for your company if everyone on staff was an “A+” employee and super motivated? There would be no stopping you. Am I right?
To accomplish this, I suggest you create a 5-week “boot camp” for all employees. Each week have a 15 to 90 minute training session depending on the number of people on staff and the complexity of your business.
Here’s a brief summary of what your 6 week boot camp might look like:
Week 1 – Business Mission
Talk about the history of your company. Why it was formed, how it became what it is today, where it is now and what the plans are for the future. Talk about your business model and how the company makes money. Talk about the cost structure and the challenges you face. And discuss the different kinds of clients and how your firm serves them.
Week 2 – Administration
At this point it’s time to talk about who does what in greater detail. Explain carefully who is responsible for what and why. Talk about problems the firm has encountered in the past. Explain the organizational chart and discuss how you delegate and why it’s important. Next, explain the reporting system and how all these mechanisms solve problems.
This is also a good time to go over new equipment if a staff member isn’t well versed on it. Talk about the technology you use and why.
Week 3 – Customer Experience
Describe the expectations you have for client service and what the client experience should look like. Do a few mock interviews or client requests and demonstrate what an excellent exchange looks like. Talk about what you do for clients and why. Talk about your competitive edge and how to sharpen it.
Week 4 – Staff experience
At this point it’s important for you to bring the team into the process. Talk about how you expect them to work together successfully. Provide a few examples of how this has worked well in the past.
Share your expectations about response time to clients and how the team members should interact with each other even when there is disagreement.
Week 5 – Marketing
Having new clients is the life blood of every successful business. Talk about how you market your firm now and what you’ve done in the past. Discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t. Tie this back to why it is so important for your staff to follow procedures.
Typically, marketing can’t happen if the firm isn’t running smoothly. That’s because administrative bottlenecks make proactive marketing difficult if not impossible. Always relate each step of this process back to the importance of what the staff does.
Week 6 – Feedback
Spend the last week and ask your people for ways to improve. Ask questions and listen to the answers:
- Which business problems need attention?
- What further investments need to be made and what will the payoffs be?
- What opportunities is the firm missing?
Finally, ask if they felt the training was helpful and if it could be improved.
I suggest you run this “boot camp” once every year. It helps reinforce your firm’s values and it provides a conduit for ideas to flow back and forth in a systematic way. Even if nobody comes up with any specific recommendations, this process demonstrates you care about your people. More important, it shows that you respect and value them. This will help them “buy in” to the company. They will understand how important they are and as a result, give that much more to the company.
Please don’t use this technique to manipulate your people. Some companies have these sessions and don’t listen or implement what they hear. This is colossal error because nobody knows your business like your staff. And your staff is too smart not to see through an insincere effort.
Get out there and involve your employees in this systematic boot camp and just watch the motivation soar.
Have you done meetings like these to motivate your employees? What were the results? Can you share other ways to motivate your staff?