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Al’s column: It pays to motivate employees

September 17/24, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 7

By Scott Perron

In the many years of writing columns, I cannot remember a time when I elected to copy and paste the content of any other article. However, this one is worth repeating.

“Shark Tank” entrepreneur Daymond John—who is also known for his success at FUBU—posted an article back in May about how he motivates his employees to perform at the highest level. In his words: “Many business owners have asked me how we have been able to create success in multiple businesses over the years; the answer is simple: people.”

John cited five essential rules when motivating employees:

Find out what drives each individual. Everyone is motivated by something different. It could be money, supporting family or achieving professional goals. The important thing is to find out and act accordingly. Pay employees what they’re worth, involve them in big projects, give consistent recognition and respect their personal time—after all, they have lives and families waiting for them outside of the office. Also, make sure they are clear on what they need to do to accomplish their goals.

Give everyone a voice. Your employees have great ideas on how to improve and optimize various projects, or even the business as a whole. They are the ones in the trenches. But some employees aren’t comfortable speaking up, which is why I always take the proactive approach—I ask their opinions and listen to what they have to say. If the idea is good, we implement it. Taking their input seriously not only gives the team more pride in their work, but it also instills a sense of ownership.

Value intrapreneurs. “Intrapreneurs” act like entrepreneurs within a company. They solve problems, innovate and take risks. They find the best and most effective ways to work and gain better results. Intrapreneurs are similar in attitude and ability to the best entrepreneurs I've seen on “Shark Tank.”

I've been an entrepreneur all my life, which means I understand the desire to accomplish my own set of goals. At my company, intrapreneurs are encouraged. I let them take the ball and run with it—and watch them score again and again.

Create a culture of motivation. Two years ago, I moved my team into a new office. What I wanted from the new digs was an open work space. I wanted to be sure everyone was working together and motivating each other.

What is equally as important, though, is the company culture. You can hire the smartest person in the world, but if he or she doesn’t fit in with the team, it won’t work out. Motivation is contagious. I make sure my employees feel empowered, are excited about their projects and are happily building a skill set that will equip them for the future. And when the team does well, I make sure the success is about them, not about me.

Offer incentives. Employers know benefits are key. That’s why companies are doing more for their employees every day, including things like unlimited time off. However, benefits don’t have to be expensive or elaborate—think gift cards, a free lunch, a paid day off. What do all these practices do for employees and employers alike? They provide motivation for all of us to work even harder.

All of the advanced technology, brilliant business plans and cool office space in the world won’t make a difference if your employees aren’t motivated. Take the time to find out what drives them and act on it. In short, give them strong reasons to stay.

Scott Perron is the president of 24-7 Floors and Floor4Pros based in Sarasota, Fla. He is also an industry trainer and motivational speaker. He can be reached via email at: scott@24-7floors.com or 860.250.1733.