What ranks high on everyone's wish list is an ability to motivate staff, according to one training consultant.
What ranks high on everyone's wish list is the ability to motivate staff, said Boyd, president of Dramatic Conclusions, a Dallasbased training and consulting firm. Encouraging employees to develop new skills or helping them excel at their job can sometimes be an uphill battle.
"My motto is that no one is going to get excited about your agenda until you get excited about their agenda," Boyd said.
"If you want an employee to be fully engaged and fully represent your passion for customers, then you have to connect that to what your employee wants," she said.
For example, said Boyd, take the employee who needs a new car but can't afford the monthly payments. Consider saying something like, "Do you know how you can afford a new car? Employees who are passionate about helping customers and conscientious are the ones who get extra hours, raises, job security, and promotions."
First you need to know what your employees want before trying to motivate them. Keep in mind that what motivates you might not motivate them. Surveying employees is one approach.
Boyd recalled the results of a Gallup Poll survey that focused on what motivated employees besides money. The key question was, "If your employer couldn't give you a raise but needed 10% more productivity from you, what could he or she give you in exchange?" The No. 1 response to this question was employer praise and recognition, followed by more time off, a promotion, and educational opportunities.
Still, not all employee responses are that predictable.
"One employer told me his employees wanted him to sponsor a paint ball tournament for staff," she said, explaining that his employees were mostly in their twenties. "If he hadn't asked that question, he would have never known."
A word of caution, however: just don't ask that question in a group setting because the answers may be skewed, and employees may bow to peer pressure. For candid and honest responses, include the question in written surveys or ask employees face-to-face. Like the employer who now sponsors paint ball competitions, you may be surprised at what you find.