Saturday 24 February 2018

Problem Solver: How can I motivate my large workforce en masse?

Feargal Quinn
Feargal Quinn

Feargal Quinn

Q: I have reasonably large workforce and I am struggling to do things which motivate them all simultaneously. Some of the branches of the business head off a few times a year for dinners or on nights out but I would love to do something larger which would act as a motivator for the whole business.

A: You are right to be looking at things like this as they can be of a huge benefit to step up the motivational levels in the business at one point in time where a large number of people are able to participate in something.

I am always reminded at this time of the year of the great fun we used to have when the Superquinn staff would enter the St Patrick's Day Parade. At its peak we would have over 450 staff participating in the parade, all dressed in uniform and dispensing thousands of Superquinn sausages to a welcoming public.

The interesting thing was that it wasn't a-one day affair, but rather something that took us three months to put together. We had different teams: those who wanted to work behind the scenes, those who undertook the task of cooking over a tonne of Superquinn sausages and those that assisted with organising and managing the logistics.

Then of course there was a core team that practiced for weeks in advance marching around the car park in the Blackrock Shopping Centre with a choreographer bellowing instructions at them.

Everyone of our branches had a team who participated and each branch took on specific responsibilities. There was pride on staff faces when we all turned out at 6am, departing from each of the branches to meet at the parade start point.

When I think back on it I am not entirely sure how we pulled it off as it was made up of 99pc volunteers and probably only one or two professional contractors who drove the vehicles and provided sound systems. From a motivational side it met exactly the objective that you have set out in your question. It allowed us to peak the motivation levels in the business at one moment in time.

Whether staff were participating, or whether they were on the sidelines of the parade watching their colleagues, it became a talking point in each branch for a number of months and of course you can imagine the celebrations when we won the Supreme Award on a number of years.

Participating in the parade is no longer an option for your staff, however, there are many large scale events and activities you could participate in.

Take it from me, the effort and planning is worth every minute of it.

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