It’s difficult enough to keep employees consistently on point and on task. Keeping that same number of employees motivated, on the other hand, can seem downright impossible. In this article, we address some quick tips for employee motivation.
Managing employees is not an easy task, no matter how long you have been in your industry. With each employee, there is a different range of challenges associated, and they all require a unique level of attention and understanding to be proper addressed. Chief among these challenges is that of motivation. To motivate employees can be a difficult enough task on its own, but to motivate employees with these unique circumstances in mind makes the task all the more complex.
In this article, we are going to share with you fifteen quick tips to motivate employees. Why that many? Our hope is that, by offering so many potential solutions, you will be able to find even just one that applies to each of your individual employees’ sets of circumstances and needs. Every team member may need a different approach to fully reach them, and with your extra effort and consideration, you can turn your ragtag team members into the successful, efficient machine you’ve always dreamed of. With that in mind, let’s not waste any more time. Here are our fifteen tips for boosting employee motivation (in no particular order, we should mention).
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1. Be Positive - This one seems simple enough, but the truth is that positivity is contagious. If you’re positive, so too will your employees be. We don’t necessarily need to spend a long time analyzing why making your employees happy helps to motivate employees, but what we will say is that the positivity contagion doesn’t stop with team members. When they are happy, and in a good mood, this transfers even further, onto customers and other team members. In the end, you’re left with everyone feeling the good mood.
2. Don’t Hog the Spotlight - Something else that will be very useful to you, in the long run, is giving each employee the chance to lead every now and again through opportunities like meetings or training. This displays a sincere level of confidence in your employees’ ability to handle leading a group, as well as confidence in their understanding and knowledge of certain subjects and tasks. By demonstrating this, you will, in turn, motivate employees to be even more confident in their abilities, which will give them a boost in their desire to continue earning this confidence.
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3. Provide Incentives - Not that you should strategize how to motivate employees with lollipops and gold stars, but this is Psychology 101 right here: if you reward good behavior, people will be more inclined to continue that behavior in the future. Offering recognition of any kind, whether it be through gift cards or even something as simple as company recognition, incentives to motivate employees are incredibly useful. Employees can track their performance, just as well as the management team, and awareness can bring about accountability. If a team member realizes they’re doing a good job, but aren’t far from doing a great job, they may take the opportunity to improve themselves. Particularly if there’s a fancy carrot on the other end of that ‘motivate employees’ stick.
4. Give Employees a Way to Take Stock in Your Business - This one is also pretty self-explanatory, but you want to consider things like Employee Stock Ownership Programs as a way to motivate employees. When they’ve got even more skin in the game than just a paycheck, they will be even more invested in the restaurant’s success. This is true of a lot of things, mind you, not just your business. Science has shown time and time again that when someone has spent money on something, they are more likely to take action than someone who hasn’t. We see this a lot in self-help seminars and e-courses, where those who stop where the freebies end, tend to do less with the information they’ve acquired than those who take the next step and make the purchase. By giving your employees this same opportunity, their investment in future success will almost certainly be more than those who don’t take up this opportunity.
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5. Ask for Feedback - Being open to receiving feedback from your staff indicates to them a level of concern for the quality of their experience, as well as confidence in their opinions. As we have conveyed numerous times already in this article, sometimes to motivate employees comes easiest after some level of interest is shown in the thoughts and opinions of someone. This sense of validation shows employees that you will have their backs to an extent, and that you want to make the restaurant not only a better place for customers to come and eat but also for employees to work.
With this, we should also discuss new ideas. The best thing an administrator can be is open to any and every new idea that team members might have for the restaurant. Okay, so some of them will inevitably be impractical, inefficient, or just plain silly, but some of them might be brilliant, and you won’t know if you don’t listen to them. Not only that, but this helps to boost the level of involvement that employees feel in work outside of their specific duties, which is always a good way to motivate employees.
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6. Keep Them in the Loop - Keeping employees apprised of the goals and intentions of the restaurant gives them a better sense of what they’re working towards, something that demonstrates to them that their work will pay off. When employees have a good sense of what their work means to the restaurant as a whole, and its plans for the future, they will be more inclined to pursue it so long as those goals and plans align with their own goals and plans. To motivate employees starts where interest and personal investment begins. When an employee can emotionally invest in your business – through the plans and goals of the restaurant – and actively see the progress made each day, true commitment to excellence can be nurtured. Motivate employees to share your big picture.
7. Acknowledge Achievements - Something else you can do that is sure to garner a great deal of confidence and respect from employees is make a regular habit of acknowledging their achievements both in and out of the restaurant. If one of your employees completes a charity 5k run over the weekend, take a second and clue everyone in before the work day begins so they can congratulate their fellow team member. This helps to bond employees as a team, and also helps show the employee who made the accomplishment that they are appreciated for doing so. Motivate employees by showing them that their work family cares too, and share in their great life successes and milestones.
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8. Encourage Balancing Work and Play - Something that very few administrators seem interested in doing is forcing employees to have a life outside of work whenever possible. Encourage them to take a vacation if they’ve accrued the time to do so, or a long weekend even. Sometimes, employees may feel reluctant to take advantage of all of their employment perks for fear of appearing needy, or lazy. It’s crazy! I know. Motivate employees by reminding them, and remind them often, that hard work yields benefits. And if they have earned those sick days, or vacation days, then they are truly obligated to take them. Not only is it ok, but it is welcome and not an inconvenience at all. Providing them with a sense that you care about them as humans first and employees second will go a long way in establishing confidence, trust, and certainly motivate employees.
9. Trust Employees, and Make Sure They Know It - This is a point that cannot possibly be understated. The worst feeling an employee can have is the sense that they’re untrusted by their employer. Granted, some employees will have earned this lack of trust, but by and large, most employees should have this trust until they give you a reason not to do so anymore. By demonstrating that you trust them, you can motivate employees by giving them a confidence boost. And that trust will flow more openly both ways once the example has been set.
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10. Cash is King - We’ve avoided mentioning this point until now, and for a good reason. Often, we automatically assume that money is the greatest motivator there is. To a large extent, this is true, as it is likely what got most of your team members in the door to apply in the first place. Still, to motivate employees exclusively with financial incentives is by no means the only right way to keep your motivation up. There should be an element of this, for sure, and things like Christmas bonuses or other incentives for being employed for a given amount of time can be very useful. However, there should be other incentives, as well.
One such kind of financial incentive is the employee of the month program. While this has its pros and its cons, it still has plenty of potential as a source of motivation for employees. Similar reward schemes, such as monetary gifts for perfect attendance and rewards for covering a given amount of shifts, can also be implemented to further motivate employees.
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11. Implement an Open-Door Policy - One of the things that most often prevents employees from effectively communicating with their superiors is the sense of some kind of barrier between the two. This barrier might be physical, such as an office door that is always closed, or it may be more metaphorical, such as a perceived disinterest in what they have to say. Whichever the case may be, it is vital that you, as the administrator, remove such barriers from your relationship with your employees. When they feel more comfortable coming to you with issues, questions, or suggestions, they will be more inclined to do so, and it will be easier to motivate employees with your accessibility.
12. Consider Workplace Traditions - Something else you can do that you might find super effective to motivate employees is implementing some workplace traditions. This can be something simple, such as a yearly holiday party either held in the restaurant or at some external venue, or something more involved, such as a themed anniversary party. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a party, though these are the more common examples of restaurant workplace traditions. Another idea to motivate employees is to make certain holiday traditions performance based, so maybe the winner gets a head start on the Easter egg hunt. Whatever kind of tradition you decide on, it will serve to boost engagement and motivate employees as it will help generate a stronger bond and sense of unity among your team.
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13. Always Communicate Clearly - If nothing else, this point should be your major takeaway from this list. If you consistently manage to communicate your message to employees, this will boost efficiency and also motivate employees. Say, for example, that you’re instructing an employee to help train a new employee. If this employee has never trained anyone before, and you just introduce them to the new hire and then disappear, you’re either going to end up with a lack of efficiency from the existing employee, or a very poorly trained new team member. Either way, someone is going to end up stressed, and you will be one of those that do.
The best method for avoiding this kind of confusion is to be as detailed as you can in your initial request for having the employee train the new hire. Tell them what the new staff member was hired for, what role they plan on playing in the restaurant, and even work in a line or two about why you chose that specific team member to do the training. When you leave them feeling well-informed and confident, they will be a more motivated employee to train this new team member and train them well, than they would have been with vague instruction. This applies to more areas than just training, of course, but the basic principle to motivate employees to remain the same.
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14. Lead by Example - If you can’t demonstrate a high degree of motivation, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence, how can you possibly expect the same of your employees? The phrase “lead by example” has been around for longer than most people reading this article have been alive (unless there are time-travelers among us, of course), and there is plenty of good reason for this. When you embody the qualities that you wish to see mirrored in your employees, it gives them a very clear indication of where those qualities can get them in the future. Even if they have no interest in being a restaurant manager, they will see the qualities less as managerial and more as an indicator of success in broad terms. With the potential for success, comes the desire to meet that potential, and inevitably you will motivate employees.
15. Laughter is Contagious - Seriously, go and watch a good standup comedian, even one you don’t particularly find funny, and tell me you don’t at least start giggling. Laughter has long been proposed as the best medicine, and I tend to agree. People who laugh more are happier, live longer (supposedly; I can’t find the studies right now), and are more pleasant in their interactions with other people. When you apply this logic to your employees, especially those that directly interact with customers, what you get is employees that are more personable, friendlier, and more willing to help our customers in need. When you bundle that all together, you end up with employees more frequently exposed to the benefits of doing well in their position, which will, you guessed it, motivate employees to do the same in the future.
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Well, there you go our list of fifteen small things you can do to motivate employees and employee engagement. We hope that you take these into consideration going forward so that you can make your restaurant not only a pleasurable one to go to for a meal but an enjoyable place to work for all involved. While you’re here, though, why not check out this article we wrote addressing the pros and cons of implementing an employee of the month program, as well as some alternatives.