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Motivation at Work

Zein E. Obagi, MD September 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Motivation at Work

Today, more than ever, skin care is a business, and success is dependent on the effectiveness of the facility’s team as a whole. That’s why it is so important to create a work environment that attracts good employees, rewards good behavior, inspires loyalty and retention, and makes your skin care center or medical spa one of the best places to work. It’s not coincidental that the top workplaces are often the best places to get skin care treatments.

Of course, cash is always a good motivator. But a well-paid employee doesn’t necessarily equal a happy employee. In fact, sometimes, if people are well-paid, they will continue to work for you, even if they’re not happy ... and who needs that? Following are some motivational skills and habits that can help improve your business and motivate your team members.

1. Have an open-door policy. Secrets and closed-door meetings make people feel insecure. Instead of these, schedule regular staff meetings so that all employees stay informed. Develop an agenda so that the meeting stays on course, and serve refreshments. Encourage team members to make a contribution to the meeting so that they feel engaged. Solicit their ideas or questions, and let them know that you’re always available if they have a question or problem.

2. Don’t tolerate bad behavior. Gossip, negativity and disagreements are all counterproductive. At Google, they call this “Don’t Be Evil.” If someone on your staff is causing cultural problems, that behavior needs to be modified before it does irreversible damage to your team members, clients and business. Your spa director should let employees know that unacceptable behavior cannot be tolerated. When you set and enforce rules of good conduct, you’re not only standing up for your other employees, you’re standing up for your business and your integrity.

3. Recognize your employee’s contributions. Try to do this on a daily basis, when you walk in every morning and before you leave at night. In the morning, offer a brief greeting and compliment. In the evening, try to say “Thanks for helping me with Mrs. Jones today. You did a great job.” Make it personal and try to be specific, or it can lose its meaning. Sometimes try to share it one-on-one, and sometimes say it so that others can hear it. Appreciation goes a long way.

4. Be service-oriented. Just as you care for your clients, care for your team members. You’ll need to pay above-average wages for above-average people. Consider having lunch catered to your skin care facility, inviting every employee to share. This is just a small gesture that allows you to take care of your employees.

5. Create a family type of environment. My wife Samar is very much a part of my practice. She has a small party whenever someone new joins our team, or whenever someone has to leave it, serving everything from cappuccino to fresh fruit or cupcakes. This is a way to make team members feel good about themselves and their contributions to your facility.

6. Allow employees to have work-life balance. Everyone today is more consumed by family, personal, emotional and economic responsibilities. In the United States, a lot is expected for employees. European countries are much more generous with paid holidays—on average, 25 days per year instead of 10 in the United States. Europeans often offer much better maternity leaves, as well—in Sweden, they often get 68 weeks of paid maternity leave. During the current recession, more has been asked of all team members. It’s important to recognize the amount of stress that this imposes on employees as they try to maintain some sense of work-life balance. Sometimes everyone needs to recharge. Consider being more flexible when allowing time off for personal issues. As employers, you need to be flexible and realize that team members have lives outside of the facility.

Keep it fresh

Keep your ideas, rewards and incentives fresh. Don’t get stuck in a routine, or your skin care facility’s environment will become boring and predictable. And most importantly, always let your team members know how much you care about them. Your dedication to them will result in increased loyalty for you and your business.

Zein E. Obagi, MD, is a practicing dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California. He created the Obagi Nu-Derm line more than 25 years ago, and his most recent product innovation is ZO Skin Health by Zein Obagi, MD.

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