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6 Ways to Motivate Top Talent in De-motivating Times

Brad Remillard January 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

To retain your top talent, it is absolutely critical to ensure they are motivated. Most people are working long hours and doing the job of two people, stress is at an all-time high, fear of layoffs is a reality, salaries are frozen, pay cuts have been implemented and forget about any bonuses. So how do you motivate your top talent to achieve the facility’s goals and keep them passionate about and engaged at work?

The answer is: culture. Even in difficult times, top skin care professionals will always rise to the occasion. They will always strive to be the best. However, even the best can burn out, get frustrated, not see the light at the end of the tunnel or wonder if they are really contributing. It is the role of owners and managers to ensure these things don’t happen.

Following are six areas owners and managers must focus on to ensure they keep their skin care professionals motivated.

1. Have a performance-based culture. Even in difficult times, there must be clearly defined goals for the spa that need to include team members. They must have quantifiable objectives that motivate the team, so when reached, they feel a sense of accomplishment. Providing specific time-based goals with achievable results clarifies exactly what is expected of your people. Your top skin care professionals will embrace the goals and not stop until they reach them. Employee engagement is critical to retaining your best people.

2. Dysfunctional culture. Do you know your company’s culture? Can you define it? Will team members define it the same way? If not, now is the time to begin working on it. Once the culture is well-defined, do the behaviors match the culture? You can’t claim to have a culture of teamwork if the manager’s idea of teamwork is: “As long as we do things my way, without any questions, you can be on my team.”

3. Respect and appreciation. This is probably the least expensive and least used method to motivate and retain team members. Small things can make a big difference. Respecting their contributions, listening to them, including them in the decision-making process, and asking for their thoughts and ideas makes them feel respected and appreciated. Consider building a culture that respects all team members so they feel appreciated. They don’t want to be taken for granted.

4. Consistent feedback. This could be considered a subset of No. 3,but more formal. This includes regular and structured one-on-one feedback sessions, actually sitting down and focusing on them—giving them feedback; encouraging them; listening to what their needs are, even if you can’t meet them; just listening and taking an interest in their careers; and building a shared bond. This makes them feel their manager cares about them as a person, not just an employee.

5. Praise. You may have experienced a manager with this philosophy: “That is what they get paid for. Why should I thank them? They should thank me for having a job.” How did you like it? Compare that to a manager with this philosophy: “Thanks; I know it is just part of your job, but I appreciate the pride you take in your work. It helps everyone in the department.” How did you like that?

A little praise goes a long way to motivate people. In difficult times when people are doing more than expected, and yes, maybe they should be glad to have a job ... demonstrating appreciation will be returned when the economy turns and they don’t have to be working at your spa any longer.

6. Education and growth. Top skin care professionals insist on getting better. They know once their learning curve flattens out, future opportunities can become limited. Giving your team members the opportunity to take additional classes, lead projects outside their normal jobs, challenge them with new opportunities, give them a chance to serve on a cross-functional team or take online classes will ensure they are becoming better, making them a more valuable employee.

Brad Remillard is a speaker, author and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in hiring and recruiting. He is also the co-founder of Impact Hiring Solutions and co-author of You’re Not the Person I Hired: A CEO’s Survival Guide to Hiring Top Talent (AuthorHouse 2005).

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