What’s Your Motivation?
In life, some people are naturally filled with enthusiasm and motivation. Others seem to have a more blasé attitude. Effective staff managers in foodservice must recognize and respect the fact that every individual is uniquely wired. Some humans are extroverts, while others are more reticent to show their emotions. It could be a mistake to interpret natural reserve as lack of motivation.
Much research has been conducted on methods of motivation. Different people are motivated by different catalysts. What drives a baby boomer may not be the vehicle to light a fire under a millennial.
Most human interaction is based on mutually beneficial relationships. Trouble can ensue when one partner in the relationship feels that the other isn’t holding up their end of the deal. The conundrum is, of course, how to strike a balance to get the relationship back on an even keel.
The foodservice industry is blessed with much diversity. The employee base is multicultural, multigenerational and more. Fortunately, there are basic motivational methods that are proven to strike a responsive chord with nearly everyone.
Different people are motivated by different catalysts.
Failure to communicate has doomed many a promising relationship, personal or professional. Communication must be a two-way street, with both parties free to express themselves. When this occurs, an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust can develop.
Regular sharing of information with employees can improve morale, quell rumors, encourage open dialog, build a cohesive team and foster camaraderie between management and staff. There are many different modes of communication. Larger companies use tactics such as town hall meetings, webinars, video message boards, employee intranet sites, newsletters, etc.
It’s true that our industry is fraught with hindrances for two-way sharing due to the hectic nature of the business, daypart shift changes, part-timers’ erratic schedules, etc. New employee orientation is the perfect opportunity to establish a harmonious relationship, followed up at three and six-month intervals. If new hires believe that they are an integral part of a great operation, motivation can likely ensue. A tactic as simple as an employee bulletin board with alerts posted on everything from employee birthday wishes to changes in the operation will go a long way toward turning your players into a cohesive team.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator. Small children respond well to praise. Guess what? Adults do, too. Be sure to give credit when and where credit is due, even if it’s just a pat on the back. Some companies effectively use programs such as “Employee of the Month” to shine the spotlight on outstanding performers. A gift card, dinner for two, movie tickets or other reward are the perfect exclamation point to demonstrate appreciation. Not only does this recognition affect the recipient, it also motivates others to excel.
Remind your staff from time to time that they are critically important ambassadors representing your brand. Convey your brand strategy and enlist your employees to spread the good word. The more they identify with your operation, the stronger their sense of pride and loyalty, and their motivation to hold up their end of the bargain.
Employees who are content and proud of their workplace will convey this to their family, friends, and, most importantly, to your customers. Encourage them to comment on your Facebook page, and post Instagram photos and Twitter tweets.
Establish a Positive Work Environment
No one will feel motivated to give their best effort if the culture at work is filled with stress and negativity. Remember, management sets the tone so enlist a friendly, approachable demeanor. The boss should not be perceived as the bogey man. Remember the lyrics from the musical “Annie” – “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”
What’s Your Motivation?
Here’s a novel idea: Why not ask your staff to contribute their opinions on the best ways to motivate. Somewhere along the line, the golden rule changed from “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” Today, a more apt approach would be “Treat others the way they themselves want to be treated.” Naturally, managers do not have the time or inclination to handle every employee with kid gloves. The point here is to gauge what will be effective with most of your employees.