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Maximizing Workplace Motivation

December 4, 2015

What do GE, Apple, FedEx, and Google have in common? They share the distinction of being in Fortune’s Top 10 Most Admired Companies of 2009. But, more importantly, they all provide great working environments for their people. These environments foster and encourage development, input, trust, support, and opportunities.

These companies empower their people. They believe in them, they reward them and they invest in their development and personal growth.

On the other hand, it is not surprising that three of the least admired companies in people management and customer service—Delta, Northwest, and United Airlines—are in an industry that has lost billions in recent years.

Is there a connection? Certainly. Granted, you still need a good business model, but workplace motivation and the happiness of your employees, especially those on the Frontline, are critical components to your business performance.

Although rare, it is possible to be an average company and be profitable with a mediocre working environment. It is, however, impossible to have a great company with sustained growth and profit while dealing with a negative and sluggish company environment.

Due to modern economic pressure, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that investing in a high-performance culture is a non-critical task. Nothing could be further from the truth when you consider the titanic costs of high turnover, whether it exists in your team or in your customer base because of your changing team.

In Ziad Khoury’s new breakthrough book, Frontline Profit Machine, he outlines what a peak performance culture looks like and how it drives workplace motivation. Here are a few of its benefits:

  • Creating The Right Environment provides the foundation for a business and sales culture that is positive and productive.
  • It creates an atmosphere that is genuine and sincere.
  • It removes excuses and builds a certain level of obligation between the company, its managers and its Frontline employees.
  • It is an environment that sets a higher standard and brings hope to employees that may perceive their position as “limited,” “dead end” or, at worst, a “temporary stepping stone” toward another career path.

So, how do you build it? The Right Environment consists of eight interdependent elements that are woven together to build emotional tethers to team members, eliciting their best efforts. They are:

  • Development – Utilizing the most effective options for your organization; from one-on-one training and coaching to professional education and certifications, etc.
  • Compensation – Paying well is critical. In a sales position, for example, compensation has to be a financially self-sustaining, workplace motivation-building tool.
  • Communication – Utilizing the right channels and appropriate frequency. Your employees cannot react productively unless they know what is happening.
  • Opportunities – Developing a plan to communicate what opportunities exist and then encouraging people to pursue them.
  • Support – Supporting your managers; having them support your employees. Take administrative “excuses” away to get them to do what really counts in your business: servicing and selling your customers.
  • Relationships – Developing professional relationships that instill confidence in your employees and your belief in their capabilities.
  • Input – Soliciting input = better engagement = higher performance. Your “open door” policy needs be “wide open.”
  • Trust – Without it your potential will always be limited.

Great companies empower people, believe in them, and invest in their personal development and growth. Combining the Right Environment with the Right Employee Fit, and the Right Management Action that includes elements like recognition, measurement, and accountability, will help you buffer your organization from competitors. In an era of hyper-commoditization of everything from phone service to car washes, bolstering business performance through a motivated frontline may be your last line of defense and distinction.