A successful sales and service culture doesn’t happen magically. It’s built gradually over time with leadership that empowers and encourages employees to perform at their peak. But what defines a motivated employee? And how exactly can you cultivate a motivated workforce?
Who is a motivated employee?
Motivated employees are excited and challenged by the rewards of their jobs. They are enthusiastic and interested in making a productive contribution to the organization. They are dedicated to doing quality work that they know will be appreciated.
Small and medium-sized businesses can learn from strong, cooperative cultures that use employee empowerment to deliver great customer service. Take, for example, Southwest Airlines. Long known for exceptional customer orientation, Southwest’s commitment to motivating employees can be found right in its mission statement: “The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.”
Southwest’s CEO, Gary Kelly, says, “Our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring long-term competitive advantage.”
A look at other successful businesses provides more ways of instilling a can-do spirit in your workers. Starbucks has cultivated a motivated workforce by creating a sense of common purpose. Proving that it’s about more than just coffee, Starbucks states: “We call our employees partners because we are all partners in shared success.” This employee partnership has served Starbucks well, creating worker satisfaction in the top tier of employer rankings.
Caring about communities and employees
Clothes retailer Nordstrom motivates employees by caring about the diverse communities where it does business. Adopting the tagline “Nordstrom Cares,” the retailer demonstrates its dedication by incorporating programs through which employees can help their neighborhoods and by striving “to create a workplace where our customers, employees and vendor partners feel welcome, respected and appreciated.”
By the very nature of their size, small businesses also can set an example for motivating employees. Consider KnowBe4 – a software company in Clearwater, Florida, and a top-ten business on Fortune Magazine’s Best Small Companies list – where paying personal attention to employees’ well-being is an important success factor. “Management cares about you as a person,” said one employee. “I recently had a VP remind me how important family is because he noticed that I’d not taken many days off.” Businesses that stress work-life balance tend to have employees who will go the extra mile.
Ways to lead, not manage, your team
There are a number of ways you can inspire your team to greater success. It starts with setting the right tone that embodies a culture of excellence. It means leading by example. It means having processes in place that enable employees to do their jobs efficiently and profitably. It just makes sense that the key is finding a balance between urging salespeople to do their best and overwhelming them with excessively lofty goals.
Another sure way to better lead employees is by giving them the right tools they need to do their job. If your employees are always engaged in unrewarding, mundane tasks that take their attention away from customers, they may lose a feeling of motivation.
Tools that automate everyday tasks can pay big dividends with workforce motivation. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools like Salesforce allow managers and employees alike to streamline tedious tasks like data entry and spreadsheet creation. Your sales team, for example, can store contact info for their customers and prospects, make calls, send emails or texts, schedule appointments, add notes, and find out who’s opened their latest email – all without leaving the CRM system. That means they’ll stay focused and make the most of their time. CRM tools also offer data and reporting features to make your team’s job functions easier and spur greater productivity in the workplace.
Banking technology helps, too
How your enterprise handles financial matters also can lead to a motivated workforce. Many business credit cards, for example, allow employees to quickly pay for fleet and refueling expenses, manage an entire expense report online, and monitor spending at a glance. These cards also provide centralized billing that eases the paperwork burden.
California Bank & Trust’s Commercial Card is one such banking tool. It can give you an easy, cost-effective way to control costs and eliminate time-consuming reconciliation.
Putting the right tools in the hands of your employees boosts morale and gives them more time for what’s important: making sales and building valuable customer relationships. In short, their success becomes your success, too.[cite::171::cite] [cite::172::cite]