Simple but Effective Ways to Motivate Your Team

May 19, 2016 Customer Team

The consistent success of your practice depends on finding ways to keep staff motivated. Many companies try to motivate employees with incentives. Rewards. Bonuses—that kind of thing. They have their place. But there are ways to motivate staff that don’t involve money. We’re talking about the power of recognition.

Here’s three great ways to use recognition to motivate staff.

Implement a recognition program

People are motivated by positive reinforcement. They want to know the great job they’re doing is appreciated and recognized. Great firms create programs for making sure recognition is widely shared.

The program can be as simple as printing up cards or small tokens that actually say Thank You on them. Something managers can give to recognize extra effort. A small cost. A tiny thing. But one that is greatly appreciated when given. 

There’s something meaningful about handing somebody a concrete example of your appreciation. It takes recognition to another level. It provides an added boost to motivation. 

So when do you give it? Anytime you see somebody doing something great. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. An extra politeness with a cranky client. A bonus idea to help a business owner struggling with an issue. Whatever you want to reinforce. Whatever looks or feels brilliant to you.

Empower staff to create great customer experiences

A study once revealed that the profile of a good advisor is like that of a Peace Corps volunteer. It seems we gravitate to the profession, at least in part, out of a desire to help. To make a real difference. When you have helped somebody you feel better about yourself and your role.

To encourage this motivational effect reinforce a culture of recognition. An environment where staff treat clients as they would hope to be treated themselves. Lead by example in giving clients more than you ask. Find ways to provide unexpected help. Innovate to remove client frustrations.

I’ve even seen firms where staff are empowered to give gift cards and small tokens to clients. Little gestures that give customers a boost when they’re having a tough day. It makes staff and clients alike feel great. Which makes staff eager to create even more great experiences for clients.

Remove obstacles

Great practitioners understand that clearing roadblocks is an awesome way to motivate staff. That may be job one for any manager. It’s all about lifting them up.

One of our clients shared a great example with me. One of her bookkeepers was frustrated by the time and effort she had to spend sorting paper receipts. She’d even had one client hand her a plastic bag full of crumpled papers. Which turned out to be stuck together by chewing gum. 

Dealing with the receipts wasn't exactly the highest level of work she could be doing. It was also demoralizing. As she said, “I’m an educated person. I shouldn’t be spending my time picking through garbage.”

That was the event that spurred the bookkeeper to switch to cloud-based apps. She automated her workflow to remove those roadblocks. Morale and motivation soared. Staff were able to spend their time on more fulfilling tasks. Like solving client problems.

Wrap up

Great practitioners find innovative ways to motivate staff all year long. They implement a recognition program. Empower staff to create great client experiences. And they seek to remove roadblocks. Doing these simple things well will ensure your staff are driven to give their best.

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