Energize Every Employee!

Imagine it’s 9 am on a Monday morning. Your team is settled in with their cups of coffee and their computer screens. It looks like another long week ahead for everyone. But something is different. Everyone seems, well, upbeat. They smile more. They seem enthusiastic about their work. And everything is getting done on time and on budget.

This isn’t a made-up scenario. In fact, in offices across the country, this very scene is being played out each and every day. So what can transform a group of employees like that? The answer is simple—motivation. When employees feel motivated, they become more productive, more passionate and more satisfied with their work.

And motivation begins with you. You have the power to make every employee feel good about what they do. The key is to communicate, recognize and empower your people – at every desk, every single day.

So, where do you start?

It’s not as hard as you may think! Here are a couple of great tips to approaching the task of motivating your people.

• Meet with your people — you may even want to hold a kick-off meeting to share your goals for energizing the team. Communicate to them your appreciation of the work they do and build excitement for your team and the company as a whole.

• Listen to your people. You can never talk to your employees enough. Ask them how they feel, and what would make them happy — you may be surprised at their answers. Consider holding round table discussions on a regular basis. They’re a great opportunity to really get to the heart of what’s important to your people.

• Share the enthusiasm. Small things can make a big difference when it comes to energizing your staff. Start off with small “fun breaks” that can bring everyone together – hand out toys, share a snack, engage them in a group activity—and encourage your people to relax and enjoy the camaraderie.

• Make the energy last. Again, it all starts with you. Encourage upbeat and positive attitudes on a continued basis by being upbeat and positive yourself. Consistently reinforce your commitment to your staff, and show them that attitude is everything.

• Reward positive behaviors. When you see someone doing a good job—tell them. Give them small tokens throughout the week and then publicly recognize them on a regular basis. Recognize the behaviors you’d like to see more of.

• Motivate them where they sit. Everyone uses things like coffee mugs, binders, pen holders and notepads. Reinforce positive themes each and every day by giving your team desktop accessories revolving around important ideas and attitudes.

• Remember, you can’t go from 0 to 60 with motivation and expect your team to change overnight. Energizing your team is an ongoing process of passion and persistence, listening to staff needs, and reinforcing your commitment to both them and the company.

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Who Needs Training?

Who needs training? Everyone. That’s because, over time, all organizations change—whether it’s new technology, new production processes or new methodology. And employees must change along with the company and acquire the skills needed to keep up with the organization.

Training can also be a potent form of motivation. By training your people, you’re showing your employees you value them, and that you want to invest in their future within your organization.

While sometimes the Return on Investment (ROI) of training can be hard to calculate, studies have shown that there are a number of benefits to training your employees.

• A recent AMA survey reported a direct correlation between increased company training budgets and increased profits.

• Another study reported by the New York Times involving 3000 businesses with 20 or more employees showed that a 10% increase in employees’ average education yielded an 8.6% increase in output. In comparison, a 10% increase in capital investment (such as tools, buildings and machinery) produced only a 3.4% increase in productivity.

Studies have also found there are both “hard data” benefits (quantitatively measured results) and “soft data” benefits (intangible results) to corporate training.

Hard data benefits include:

  • Lower absenteeism and tardiness rates
  • Lower turnover
  • Number of sales or dollar value of sales per customer

Soft data benefits include:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Improved teamwork
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased communication

So what now? How can you implement a training program in your organization? The key is information. What skills or behaviors need to be strengthened? Talk to your managers. Get their perspective. Are the needs skill based, such as training on specific computer software? Or are their needs behavior based? Do you need to develop teams or quality initiatives? You’ll discover that training can take many forms depending on individual employee needs.

Start small when it comes to training. Find a common theme and create a training program around it. Make the training memorable by using items supporting the theme, such as binders, pens, paper and mugs. After it’s over, make sure to allow your participants to evaluate any training program to assess what worked and what didn’t. Acknowledge participation with certificates of completion, and make sure you use a variety of visual aids to weave the training into your corporate culture.

Within a few months of instituting training programs in your organization, you’ll quickly find that training becomes a powerful tool for you and your staff.

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Show Your Appreciation by Practicing Uncommon Courtesy

There are so many ways to express appreciation…and so many reasons to do so. This month, we celebrate Administrative Professionals Week April 23-29. It’s a great opportunity to thank your coworkers, staff and all the behind-the-scenes workers for all that they do. In his book, Attitude Your Internal Compass, Denis Waitley explains how showing common courtesy – and appreciating the people you work with – is a habit that should be practiced throughout the year.

“In today’s workplace, it seems that the most uncommon trait shown is common courtesy. It is so easy to get caught up in office politics, cliques, interdepartmental turf wars, and, of course, the usual trashing of the boss and complaining about demanding customers. You may think that this is all innocent and just a way to let off steam. The reality is that if you do not show common courtesy within your organization, you will never display common courtesy to the clients who keep you in business. Customers today demand extraordinary service. The difference between you and the competition, in many cases, is simply courtesy and service.

Check your courtesy quotient in regard to your interaction with co-workers, management, employees, and customers. Start by extending common courtesy to everyone you interact with. Then, once you have done that, begin to explore ways to provide uncommon courtesy and service. You will find that the key to uncommon success is found in common places like courtesy.

Making assumptions about others can be fatal vision; there will always be those who appear undeserving of our attention and respect. Practitioners of uncommon courtesy make no distinction between worthy and unworthy customers, employees, and co-workers.

Here’s a perfect example of how courtesy really counts:

John Barrier showed up at the bank in grubby work clothes. He parked in the bank parking lot and popped in to see his broker and cash a check. He finished his business and returned to his truck. The young man working in the parking lot informed him that there was a small parking fee, but Mr. Barrier could take his slip back into the bank and get it validated if he wished.

He went inside and asked the teller to validate his ticket. The teller looked at the shabbily-dressed man in front of her and refused. She informed him that he had to make a transaction to receive a validation. When Mr. Barrier said he had cashed a check, the teller said that cashing a check was not considered a transaction. Mr. Barrier then asked to see the bank manager. The manager also refused.

Mr. Barrier said that was not a problem, but if that was the courtesy they chose to extend to a client of over 30 years, that he would like to close out his account. Imagine the size of the pit in the manager’s stomach as he pulled up the account information to find that Mr. Barrier’s account was worth well over one million dollars. Mr. Barrier took his funds, walked them down the street, and deposited them into Seattle First Bank.

Whether someone has one dollar or a million dollars, whether they are in a shirt and tie or grubby clothes, they deserve uncommon courtesy.”

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Building Your Brand With Promotional Products

Each year organizations spend millions of dollars establishing and reinforcing their brands as they seek to achieve top-of-mind awareness in the marketplace. While branding strategies can be incredibly comprehensive or simple and focused, two elements are absolutely essential in creating an instantly recognizable and unforgettable image: a distinctive logo and a focused tagline.

Having spent the time, money and energy to create these image-defining tools, organizations generally incorporate a variety of media approaches from print and web ads to billboards and television commercials to create instant name recognition. While each of these approaches are effective in their own way, they can be costly and somewhat untargeted. That’s where promotional products come in.

Let them know you’re here – effectively, memorably and affordably.

Whether you’re personally handing them out or mailing them to a qualified list of potential customers, promotional products imprinted with your logo and tagline provide a direct link to those people and organizations most likely to have a need for your products or services. In addition to providing highly targeted exposure for your brand, a wide variety of promotional products are available at extremely affordable prices. This one-two combination of effectiveness and affordability makes promotional products a powerful advertising tool.

With thousands of items to choose from and innovative new products being introduced regularly, you should have no trouble finding an item appropriate for your company’s image and perfect for your specific need:

Special Events
Takeaways leave a lasting impression long after the event is over. Invest in your brand by handing out an eye-catching, image-raising giveaway at your next tradeshow, customer appreciation event, company-sponsored seminar or golf outing.

Business Gifts
Enhance the relationships you value most with something special. Whether you’re looking to leave a strong impression with a high-quality embossed leather item or unique desktop accessory or make a more modest statement with an attractive but affordable pen or tote, you’ll have no trouble finding great ideas for end-of-the-year and customer appreciation gifts, sales call “thank you’s,” and years-of-service acknowledgements.

Employee Relations
Nurture staff pride in your organization with promotional products for every internal occasion. Imprinted products make wonderful recruiting tools, welcome gifts for new hires, popular giveaways for Customer Service Week and other special occasions, party favors for holiday events and summer outings and inspiring takeaways for training sessions and all-company meetings.

With their versatility, effectiveness and affordability, promotional products can play an important role in the development of any organization. Consider putting their power to work for you at the next opportunity—and let the branding begin.

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Motivate Your Team Like the Pros

Call it commitment. Call it attitude. Call it drive. Call it what you like but there’s no denying the power that can be unleashed when you make up your mind to put in a single extra degree of effort in everything you do. That’s the simple but deeply compelling message of 212° The Extra Degree, the book the 2006 Chicago Bears looked to for inspiration during their impressive run to the Super Bowl.

This brief excerpt frames the message in an unforgettable metaphor that can transform your life and your organization.

“At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive.”

“Raising the temperature of water by one extra degree means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine—a beautiful, uncomplicated metaphor that ideally should feed our every endeavor—consistently pushing us to make the extra effort in every task we undertake. 212° serves as a forceful drill sergeant with its motivating and focused message while adhering to a scientific law—a natural law. It reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences.”

Focusing on the dedication necessary to achieve important objectives, the authors caution, “There are no real secrets to success. Success in anything has one fundamental aspect—effort. To achieve exponential results requires additional effort. Take your courses. Read your books. Listen to your tapes. But take action. Take action with commitment. Then, when you’re ready for exponential results apply the extra effort. Sometimes you’ll realize the benefits of your extra effort much farther down the road. Regardless, in many cases, it may only be that one extra push that gets you ten time the results you were attempting to originally obtain.”

Through a series of fascinating facts, 212° The Extra Degree goes on to explore the often infinitesimal difference between victory and defeat—and the exponential increase in rewards the victor enjoyed in each case. Did you know?:

“The average margin of victory for the last 25 years in all major (golf) tournaments combined was less than three strokes. From 2000 through 2004, the winner across all tournaments took home an average of 76% more in prize dollars than the second place finisher.”

“The average margin for victory (in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 combined) for the past 10 years has been 1.54 seconds. The prize money for second place was less than half the winner’s.”

Arm your team with this powerful metaphor and the knowledge of the significant difference it can make and you’ll find great success is within reach—with just a single extra degree of effort.

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