As business owners, your main goal is to grow revenue and maximize productivity year over year. The key to making that goal a reality? Your staff. In order to achieve the level of efficiency needed to see that kind of success, it’s important to foster an encouraging and supportive culture. Here, we share our tips for motivating each and every staffer in ways both big and small.
1. COMMUNICATION 101
Your employees are not mind readers, so it’s crucial to your business—and to their happiness—that you set your expectations for all staffers from the get go. They need to have a firm understanding of the ethos behind your business and how they can help you achieve it. If you don’t have an employee manual, create one. Manuals clearly spell out what is and isn’t acceptable, provide exact specifications of how you like tasks performed and indicate what each role’s expected contributions are. When staffers have clear, tangible instructions and expectations for their role, you avoid messy miscommunications and they’re able to thrive.
As a boss, you’ll also want to create an environment of transparency. When communicating with your employees, be sure that you’re sharing the same information with everyone. Higher-ranking staffers may have access to more confidential business metrics, but if membership has dipped the past few months, that message should be conveyed to everyone, even the front desk staff. On the flipside, if an added revenue stream has taken off, everyone should know. Sharing the same messages with employees will go a long way in making them feel invested in your business—and knowing that you don’t play favorites.
2. BE THE MODEL
Employee manuals are great—but only if the boss follows the guidelines, too. And we’re not just talking about written guidelines. You also want to set an example when it comes to how you treat your colleagues. Exhibiting concern, compassion and understanding for everyone you come in contact with will only reinforce the culture you’re trying to create, while also invigorating your staff to become a part of it. Kindness is, after all, contagious, and when you show up to work every day in a good mood, your staffers will follow suit.
3. INDIVIDUAL RELATIONSHIPS
It may be obvious, but you want to develop personal relationships with your employees. Ask them how they’re doing, how their family is, are they happy at work, what could be better. Be sure to acknowledge the importance of each role at your studio and praise employees privately and publically when they are excelling at their job. By doling out individual attention to each of your employees, they will in turn feel appreciated, valued and likely motivated to do good work for you. (Note: the same goes for an under-performing staffer; if there is an issue, address it with them directly and provide support and coaching on how they can get back on track.)
You’ll also want to establish an open door policy with your team. When staffers can come to you at any time to voice their ideas or concerns, they once again feel trusted, heard and integral to the team’s overall success.
Ruling by fear is counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve, as studies have shown that employees who fear losing their job will have less energy and drive. Instead, you should aim to create a culture of success that is achieved through hard work and positivity.
Building upon the aforementioned open door policy, make good on any ideas or concerns staffers bring to you. If a trainer wants to try introducing 10-minutes of meditation at the beginning of class, let them try. And let your team know that they came up with the idea and that you welcome any other suggestions. Highlighting the creativity and hard work of your staffers in public will not only validate that particular staffer, but it will motivate the rest of your team to reach the same bar.
The happiest workers are working towards something. You should have clear-cut goals for all of your staffers, whether it be growing their role with more shifts, more classes, a promotion or a raise. While continuing to praise workers for their good work, also remind them of what’s next and a timeline of when they can expect to grow into an expanded role. Be sure to make examples of the staffers on your team who most embody your core mantra.
All work and no play makes for—well, not much fun. Manuals and goals and empowerment are great, but so is a change of scenery. Every now and again it’s good to connect with your team outside the confines of your studio. Group runs, charity work, happy hour on a Wednesday night—wherever and whatever it is, the goal is for everyone to let down their hair and partake in some good old-fashioned bonding. A 2014 study of 200,000 employees from 500 different companies found that 20 percent of those surveyed said they were motivated to go the extra mile by camaraderie and peer motivation. While your team will likely form these intrapersonal relationships on their own, you set the company tone and can encourage these friendships with regular team building sessions. Keep the mood casual, but aim to engage in meaningful conversations with your staff—all of this will remind them that you care about more than just the bottom line.