Show you care

Departments - From the Inside Out

Follow these steps to motivate employees and show them they're valued.

June 16, 2014

Long days, lemonade and plenty of sunshine. While the rest of the world celebrates the arrival of summer, you are still in the midst of your busy season. How are you doing? Is your enthusiasm high or are you ready for a break? What about your staff? Are they as motivated as they were at the start of the season or has their zest been zapped?

Just as plants need fertilizer to maximize growth, employees need nourishment to stay motivated, engaged, and highly productive. A plethora of books and articles address ways to motivate employees. Here are seven of my favorite easy, low cost ways to immediately improve employee morale and motivation:

Take time daily to interact with your employees. Walk about as they are working. Say hello and thank them for all they do. Look them in the eye, shake their hand or give them a pat on the back. You’ll be amazed at how valued they feel when they know you care and truly see them.

Ask what they need to be more successful. Regularly ask your staff if there’s anything they need to be more successful. Most will smile, say things are fine and get back to work knowing they have a great boss. Others will share concerns. Some you can take care of with little or no cost. Do so and you become someone they are motivated to please even more.

If you can’t do something easily, but it makes sense, let them know you’ll work on it and when they can expect to see the request met. If it’s not something you’re ready or able to do, thank them for their input and let them know you’ll consider it.

Then follow up with them at a later time. If it’s not financially feasible, you can respond with “While it’s cost-prohibitive at this time, I appreciate your suggestion.” If it’s an outlandish request, you can laugh good-naturedly and say “Wouldn’t it be nice?”

Keep them informed. Good information is critical to job satisfaction and success. In its absence, the rumor mill kicks in and conclusions are drawn, often erroneously. The better the communication, the more effective your employees will be. Being in the know allows them to keep their focus where it should be, on their job.

Find out your employees’ passions. People who are doing what they love perform at the highest levels. Any time you can tie in their job to their passion, you’ll have a super motivated employee. Is this always possible? Of course not. And, when you can, you’re an ever bigger hero.

Let your people come in one hour late, or leave one hour early, one day a week. The green industry is demanding. Think how happy and motivated your people will be if one day of the week they have an extra hour. Their loyalty and motivation will far exceed the hour they are gone.

Have a contest. Create a contest with a prize such as a trophy, plaque or pizza party. Do this individually or by department. Post results, create a buzz and watch how a good-natured competition gets them having fun and hustling to win.

Offer an incentive. Set a high but reachable goal for your individuals or departments, and offer a meaningful reward for those who accomplish it. Increased sales, employee safety, quality control and on-time deliveries all positively impact your bottom line. Pass some of the savings and profitability along, and your employees will work even harder.

While it’s not easy to keep your workforce motivated, a motivated workforce is critical to success. Think outside of the box and let me know what happens as you intentionally cultivate motivation.


Sherene is The 30 Minutes To Breakthrough Specialist and empowers organizations and individuals to maximize their potential and bottom lines, enhance relationships, and avoid and overcome burnout.