Friday 15 November 2019

How do I go about motivating my team of 20 employees?

Feargal Quinn. Photo: Tom Burke
Feargal Quinn. Photo: Tom Burke

Q: Have you tips on motivating my team of 20 employees.

A: A motivated workforce can be a critical differentiator and help you maintain an edge over your competitors so you are right to be asking the question.

Very often motivation is a personal thing. Simple recognition of a job well done or a 'pat on the back' can mean a huge amount to employees. Of course financial rewards, bonuses and commission-based schemes are also a motivating factor and if staff have direct control over sales in the business it would certainly be worth considering these.

Having a clear career path and feeling they are progressing in the organisation is as important to an employee as anything else. I would recommend you set up a simple appraisal system where you sit down with all staff twice per year. This needs to have structure and it has to be a two-way process with the employee providing feedback as well as the business owner critiquing performance.

At Superquinn I was a big supporter of further education and we subsidised many programmes to enhance learning. As well as having a structured programme of education, we were also very open to employees suggesting bespoke upskilling that they required.

I was always a strong believer in recognising people as individuals so don't miss the opportunity to celebrate a birthday, engagement or be willing to lend support when an employee is at a difficult place in their life. Motivation is driven by the culture of a business and that culture is created by the ethos of the business owner. Jerry Twomey, who was manager of Superquinn in Clonmel at the time, allowed the parents of a child who was attending their first day at school to have the morning off. It was greatly appreciated and we encouraged the rest of the stores to do the same.

Q: I am conducting a review of the sales process within our business with the objective of growing sales considerably during 2015. We deal with both the public and trades people.

A: Sales is all about structure and process. Start at the top of the business and put in place overall targets that you want to achieve for the year. Be realistic, but also stretch the business a little bit by increasing the current rate of growth. Next, ensure that the team are aware of the target and how each one can contribute to achieving it. Ideally set individual sub targets for departments and allow them to update themselves on progress each day. Involve everyone, even those not directly dealing with customers. I always made a point in Superquinn of sharing sales information with the team who worked in goods inwards and staff restaurants as they were an important part of the business. You also need to question how good your team are at the sales process. For those dealing with the retail side, new skills like upselling and related sales will be important. For those dealing with trade customers, showing them different tools in the sales process will be beneficial.

Rather than focus on some big sales number to achieve, break this down into figures which are easier to comprehend by staff eg, average spend per customer. This will allow staff to easily recognise how they can influence the process. Finally, you need to demonstrate that profitable sales growth is key, so make sure that it is the first thing on your weekly management meeting agenda.

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