How To Motivate Your Employees Without Breaking The Bank, By: Jackie Smith

Recently, the So Cal Cleaners Association sponsored a seminar, “Developing Your Communication Skills.” It was designed for owners and their employees. The attendance was great; one business owner brought six of his employees! The most amazing part was the evaluation forms that were completed at the end of the seminar. All of the employees that attended scored the seminar 10 out of a possible 10 points. They all came away with a new understanding about communicating with others and they felt valued. Their boss thought enough of them to invite them to attend this seminar with him/her. This situation was a win-win for all.

“It is a costly mistake to get lost in the false theory that more money equals happy employees,” states Dave Worman, Dr. Motivation. “ Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people but the key is that additional cash is not always the only answer and in many cases not even the best answer.

Referring back to the So Cal Cleaners Association seminar, this experience will motivate the employees for weeks to come. Outside seminars are a stimulating break. Be aware of opportunities with your local trade associations as well as state and national associations. For example, California Cleaners Association, FABRICARE, is coming July 14th and 15th in Long Beach. There are many educational seminars planned. The costs are low and it is a great opportunity to send your staff for some local training. The staff that is able to attend can recreate the seminar (briefly) for those who were unable to attend. The below are some additional ideas to help motivate your staff.

Recognition – Everyone loves his or her 15 minutes of fame. You can make your employees feel special in so many ways. Birthdays – you don’t have to have cake, etc. Just a rousing Happy Birthday song by the entire staff and any customers who might be around. Graduations, babies, engagements, etc. These are personal achievements. Also, recognize work related kudos. An unhappy customer handled well, a difficult stain removed, a record number of pants pressed. The list is endless. In addition, don’t be shy about using applause. Give him/her a round of applause when they deserve it. And if there is a reason for praising someone on your staff, don’t put it off. Do it now while the achievement is fresh on everyone’s mind. Remember, this does not cost you a thing!

Job Titles/Business Cards – Dr. Motivation points out, “When you talk about job titles, you are tapping the self-esteem of people. How someone feels about the way they are perceived in the workforce is a critical component to overall attitude and morale.” Job titles are so important to some people. Customer Service Representative is more prestigious than “counterperson” “Dry Cleaner” can be titled Dry Cleaning Technician. Be creative, but realistic. Review your business manual. You have one, don’t you? Your job descriptions should have titles. If not, the job descriptions should lead you to the proper title. And don’t forget business cards. I will always remember when I was given my first business card. Now THAT meant something. I am not suggesting that you give every member of your staff cards but your key personnel should definitely have them. And business cards are not that expensive.

Good Work Environment/Surroundings – Surprisingly, work surroundings were listed #2 in a recent workplace study. Employees tested felt workplace conditions were #2 in importance. The environment should be bright, clean and comfortable. Equipment needs to be in good working order. Supplies must be available for the staff to complete their tasks. Look around and I believe you will find several ways to make your environment a better place and it will not take much money.

Time Off – Everyone likes time off and time off with pay is even better. I know one dry cleaner that gives his employees the day off on their birthday (with pay). This is something the employees really appreciate. Think of some contests and set goals. It can be for individuals or the entire staff. The time does not have to be one day. It can be for extra time at lunch, coming in later in the morning or going home earlier in the afternoon. One example, for the Customer Service Representatives, obtaining email addresses. The one who obtains the most in a certain period of time. Be creative and fun.

Team Spirit – Take a picture of the team. Have it enlarged and post it where it will be visible to all the team. To be successful, you must work as a team. Often employees don’t realize that they ARE part of a team. Take every opportunity to show your staff what teamwork is all about. You are the Captain of the team. Above are some ideas to make your team a winning team…now get on that field and WIN!

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