Motivating Employees

It helps to get people away from the work atmosphere so they can relax and speak freely. Company trips are excellent ways to promote understanding and appreciation.

Most company managers realize the role good company benefits play in retaining employees. They also know benefits alone aren’t enough to keep employees motivated. People need to know their efforts are appreciated. They also want to be informed of what’s going on in the company. They want to be part of the action. Most of us realize this, but finding ways to accomplish it is difficult.

As a company grows, the task becomes more difficult. What works well to motivate today may fall flat tomorrow. Management must stay attuned and be willing to make changes.

Over the years, Entech has tried many approaches to keep employees motivated and involved.

Entech's popular newsletter is called 'Entechnically Speaking.'

We find one that works well is a “Spot Bonus” Program. Supervisors are authorized to award a $200 bonus to an employee while the sweat is still on the brow. The supervisor writes the details for the bonus and hands it to the recipient. The bonus is received in the next pay check. The cash is appreciated, but the fact that the supervisor has made the effort to put the details in writing and shake the hand of the recipient is probably just as important, and maybe more so. This write-up then appears in the next company newsletter for all to see.

We publish a company newsletterEntechnically Speaking — to keep people informed. We mail one to each employee’s home so that the spouse gets the information as well. Our employees appreciate the newsletter. We actually notice that some work stops in the office while the newsletter is being read.

We have operations in several cities and offer various services which require different skill sets. We think it’s important that these people trust and understand each other. We find it helps to get people away from the work atmosphere so they can relax and speak freely. We try to get employees together in this fashion with company events like baseball games and weekend activities. We believe company trips are another, excellent way to promote understanding and appreciation, and we’ve been sponsoring them for many years. Trips to such places as Mexico, Las Vegas and ski trips are designed for couples. Trips to DisneyWorld are designed for those with small children. We do an annual fishing trip to Canada, which is always very effective in building good relationships.

Company trips are expensive, and I’ve been asked on several occasions, How can you afford to do this? My answer is, How can we afford not to?

Some events are open to all: an annual golf outing, a fishing trip to area lakes, and a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. On certain other trips, people are selected based on outstanding effort they’ve shown. We must keep in mind that trips are awarded for what the employee has done in the past, and that we’re not buying loyalty. We like to get different people to participate, but this is not the primary criteria. They must be people who are going beyond what is expected; so some people may go on several trips and others may never go.

Some people have asked if leaving some employees out causes hard feelings. I’m sure it does in some instances, but we remind employees what’s required to be included. So far we’ve not had a “mutiny.”

Company trips are expensive, and I’ve been asked on several occasions, How can you afford to do this? My answer is, How can we afford not to?

Pat Rucker is founder/president of Entech Sales & Service, Dallas, Tx, and co-founder of the Chiller Systems Group. Pat was inducted into the CB Hall of Fame in 2013. Read more of his life story online, at bit.ly/PatRuckerHOF.

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