Here are some inspiring words from a Friend and I believe it is apt that I share this with you, considering that we are in wonderful times. Enjoy!:
Many businesses are struggling during the current economic downturn and employees are becoming increasingly fearful of being laid off as their work hours are cut back and raises are put on hold. Without question, morale is shaky in this environment!
While money might have been the usual motivator, effective managers need to focus on alternative methods of motivating their staff. King Solomon gave us a key principle when he wrote, “A workers appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on” (Proverbs 16:26 NASB).
We need to understand the different appetites of our employees, and then endeavor to feed that appetite.
Genuine praise is a great motivator. Solomon wrote, “Like apples of gold in setting of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstances” (Proverbs 25:11 NASBN). Each person will bring different strengths to the job. Understand the strengths of each person and then look for examples of excellent work and offer genuine praise in response to that work.
A store manager noticed one clerk was exceptional at organizing the shelves and made a point of offering encouragement each time. Another clerk was a very good listener with customer’s questions and effectively offered solutions. The positive reinforcement to both of these clerks was a great motivator.
Praise should be specific. The more specific the praise, the more likely we are to get more of that great performance in the future. One store manager said to a clerk, “When that customer asked about a blood pressure measuring device, you asked several good qualifying questions, listened to the answers, and then offered two excellent choices at different price levels. I know the customer was pleased. Good job.”
Timely praise is also important. King Solomon said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but the desire fulfilled is the tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12 NASB). A “thank you for straightening up the merchandise on the shelf” or a “you handled that very difficult, angry customer very well” is most effective if you say it right after it happened. The longer you wait, the less effective and less sincere the praise will be.
Create a variety of work. Another motivator for many employees is having a variety of tasks. Ask you staff to share their interests and desires. Find out what excites them.
A toy store owner learned that one of his employees had a keen interest in children’s books, so the owner gave the employee a crack at ordering several books she thought would be good sellers. The employee was excited to be part of the ordering process.
In another example, a sales assistant expressed interest in having direct contact with customers. The manager agreed to migrate several customer relationships to the assistant as a trial. The assistant enjoyed the new responsibilities and over time, was promoted as a sales associate.
Maintain your integrity. Solomon also taught, “He who speaks right is loved” (Proverbs 16:13 NASB). During difficult times we must maintain our integrity. When discussing how the business is doing with your employees, be honest. Your job is not to spread panic or malaise, but to bring in everyone as part of your solution. If staff hours need to be reduced, talk with your colleagues about the reality and ask them to work with you. Telling employees on Friday that no layoffs are planned, and then dismissing three people on Monday, will sap your credibility and the morale of your staff.
Be of good cheer. Nobody likes a sourpuss. Solomon observed, “A cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15 NASB). Regardless of how difficult and challenging our situation, we need to focus on keeping our attitude upbeat and professional. If we start dragging, everyone around us will start dragging.
Using non-monetary motivation techniques will be critical as we work through the current hard times. King Solomon said, “Good news puts fat on the bones” Proverbs 15:30 NASAB), so give prompt specific praise, communicate honestly, and keep your attitude positive. By doing so, you will be putting fat on the bones of others and keeping your business moving forward.
Great Business week ahead!