Employees are the heart of your business. However, in fast-paced work environments, employers sometimes don’t do enough to motivate employees, taking them for granted.
When employees start losing focus, your business will suffer revenue loss, poor productivity, and bad customer service. A lazy or unmotivated employee may even pose a safety risk to themselves and others. This is especially true in an agricultural, groundcare or construction business where employees work with heavy machinery.
How can an employer encourage employee engagement? This article explores how you can make sure your workers feel valued, inspiring better productivity and loyalty.
Motivating employees improves workplace morale, productivity, and worker satisfaction. These all affect the performance of your company.
A study by The Corporate Leadership Council examined the engagement level of 50,000 employees worldwide. Researchers wanted to see how engagement affected employee performance and retention. The study showed that engaged companies increase their profits up to three times as much as competitors. It also found that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization.
Engaged employees are also more invested in the success of their workplace. According to a Gallup poll, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. However, the same poll found that engaged employees rated their overall lives higher on a zero-to-10 scale. The results of this research are clear: getting your employees invested in their work will pay dividends for your business and their overall satisfaction.
A trained employee is a motivated employee. If employees have a good sense of their job responsibilities and the employer’s expectations, they will be more motivated to complete tasks. Many employees get frustrated when their employer’s expectations are unclear. Be sure to outline your expectations for the role and train employees well.
You may want to compile a training manual to go along with the hands-on training. A training manual will give new employees valuable information about the company, standardize company processes, and create consistency in how to get the job done.
Many experts recommend involving the employees in drafting the training manual. Your employees have firsthand knowledge about how the dealership works, what tasks need to be done, and how some areas could be improved. By tapping into their experience and knowledge, you not only get crucial information, you get employees who feel invested in the manual they helped create.
When employees feel their opinion matters, they tend to be more motivated to succeed.
What are your employees working toward? Do they know? If your business doesn’t have specific measurable goals, then your employees won’t be able to tell if they’re meeting your standards. Don’t leave them in the dark. Choose specific goals that relate to your business.
Keep in mind that many people have never learned about goal setting. A good goal framework for people new to goal setting is a system called “SMART” goals.
SMART goals first conceived in 1991 by business management consultants George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham. SMART stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. This framework is still popular today and gives anyone the ability to create realistic and achievable goals.
Your supervisors should regularly discuss goals with your employees and include information on how they can meet their objectives. For example, if you run an agricultural dealership, set a goal to sell X number of a brand of equipment by X date. Then break down the steps necessary to make those sales, whether it is calling existing customers, running a sale, promoting the products in advertisements, etc.
Once your employees have goals, create a reward system. According to Bersin & Associates, companies which have programs to recognize employee achievements improve employee engagement and have 31% lower voluntary turnover.
Instituting a rewards system is a great way to motivate employees and encourage follow-through on tasks. When you provide a valuable incentive, your employees will likely work harder to earn the reward. Rewards also show your employees you value their time and effort.
The rewards can be anything you want them to be. They can be bonuses for hitting sales goals or something smaller, like gift cards, a prime parking spot, or a longer lunch break.
As you set your goals, add rewards for reaching a specific goal. A tried-and-true employee recognition method is the “employee of the month.” If you create an employee of the month program, be sure to place the recognition where your staff and customers can see it.
When a new employee enters a job, let them know how their performance will be measured. Let them know at the beginning of each year, so employees are aware of when and how performance will be evaluated. After that, meet each employee one-on-one to discuss their overall performance for the year or quarter.
Avoid general statements, such as “You’re great with customers.” Instead, mention specific areas where they met standards and where they fell short: “You’re great with greeting customers, but your follow-up is at a low percentage.” They’ll be able to take your feedback and make changes based upon it.
Always ask your employees if they have the tools they need to succeed. Let them know that you will make sure they have the resources necessary to do the job.
Take your employees’ professional development seriously. In a tight job environment, there is a serious competition for the best employees.
To make your workplace competitive, you should take a personal interest in your employees’ career path. Meet with them about their aspirations and take an active role in helping them along. Give them opportunities to attend training inside and outside the company. Promote mentoring, so that employees can share knowledge and learn new skills. Encourage employees to learn about all areas of the business, so that they can envision where they want to be in the future.
Employees who feel stuck in a certain role are likely frustrated. Frustrated employees may have poor performance. Employees will be more motivated to succeed if they know they can move up the corporate ladder.
When Campbell’s Soup was struggling to turn around a negative corporate culture, then-CEO Douglas Conant found that writing handwritten notes to his employees went a long way toward establishing trust between leadership and workers. He wrote up to 20 notes a day recognizing employees for a job well done and thanking them for their accomplishments.
By celebrating employees’ contributions, Conant changed the mindset of supervisors and employees, creating a more pleasant work environment.
As the Campbell experience demonstrates, sometimes a simple “thank you” will do wonders for employee morale. When you recognize your employees’ hard work with a genuine compliment, they appreciate it. They want to continue doing great work. A “thank you” shows your employee not only that they are valued, but that you recognize their value. This will in turn benefit the employee’s mental and emotional health.
Gratitude also delivers results. The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study and found grateful leaders motivate employees to be more productive. The best way to say “thank you” is to be specific: include the employee’s name and the task where they excelled. You can either say it verbally or send them a note.
Your business needs employees, but don’t just look at your workers as tools at your disposal. Your dealership can thrive with engaged workers who actively want your company to grow and succeed.
As you continue to motivate employees to do their best, make sure your customer service is the best it can be as well. Check out our free guide on How to Deliver the Top-Notch Customer Service Experience to find out exactly how to win at customer service every time.
Get the latest resources sent directly to your inbox.