How to create a motivating environment to engage high performers

High performers_1I don’t believe you can motivate someone to do anything they don’t want to do, and people who try to motivate others are wasting their time.

Team members should come to work motivated! They should be motivated to provide great service to their guests and their colleagues. They should be motivated to willingly take on new challenges and accept change. They should be motivated to continuously produce results that allow the hotel to exceed the expectations of all stakeholders. And so on.

That might appear a little controversial, but let me explain.

While I believe that it is part of the team member’s role to come to work in our hotel motivated, it is the team leader’s or the employer’s role to provide a motivating environment for their team members to work in. One of the fundamental aspects of good leadership is the ability to capture and nurture the team members’ natural motivation.

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How often have you observed someone who joined a team full of passion and energy and yet who years, months, weeks or even days later are flat and uninspired? And if the team member does not join with that passion and energy I just mentioned, then there is possibly something wrong with our selection and recruitment processes.

So…where has all that vitality gone? What happened to the person for whom we had such high hopes?

Rather than looking just at the team member, perhaps we need to look at the team leader and see if at least part of the answer to that question lies there.  

The Gallup organisation did a long-term survey of around 1,000,000 employees (yes, that’s right…around a million of them) and 80,000 managers (that’s also impressively correct) to identify what factors encouraged employees to give of their best. They then data-crunched and analysed this huge amount of information and identified 12 key factors which determined what helped to enable high performance.

The Gallup research found that high performers:

  • Know what’s expected of them
  • Frequently receive recognition/praise for doing well
  • Recognised that their manager/supervisor had a genuine interest in them
  • Were encouraged in their development by their managers
  • Recognised that they were listened to
  • Recognised how what they did contributed to the company’s objectives
  • Worked alongside highly motivated colleagues
  • Were able to talk about their progress at least twice yearly
  • Had the resources to do their job
  • Were in a role which enabled them to do what they do best everyday
  • Had friends in the workplace
  • Recognised that their job provided them with opportunities for development

The authors then further analysed these 12 key factors and found they could be encapsulated in one single conclusion: ‘Talented employees need great managers.

The talented employees may join a company because of its charismatic leadership, its generous benefits and its world-class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive they are while there is determined by the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor.’

Gallup wrote in its survey findings that the effect of poor management is widely felt. Gallup also determined that poorly managed work groups are on average 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.

As individuals those who are not engaged may be satisfied but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. The actively disengaged are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace and jeopardize their teams’ performance.

But in order to achieve the results we desire in the hospitality industry, it is not necessarily about making your team members “happy”. As the Gallup Business Journal says: “And none of them have anything to do with a ‘bring your dog to work’ policy. According to Gallup research, workplace engagement levels eclipse the effect of policies such as hours expectations, flextime, and vacation time when it comes to employees’ wellbeing.”

It is about engaging them, as highlighted in the 12 points above.

Satisfied or happy employees are not necessarily engaged. And engaged employees are the ones who work hardest, stay longest, and perform best.

“If you’re engaged, you know what’s expected of you at work, you feel connected to people you work with, and you want to be there,” says Jim Harter, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing. “You feel a part of something significant, so you’re more likely to want to be part of a solution, to be part of a bigger tribe. All that has positive performance consequences for teams and organizations.”

In short, if we want high performing team members who come to work motivated, we have to create a motivating environment for them to work in so that we can capture and maintain that motivation.

About the author

Tim Millett2_2Timothy Millett’s training roles have seen him deliver programs across Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and America ensuring cultural sensitivity as well as a broad base of experience in lecturing, teaching and training.

A graduate of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, his hospitality career spans management and director positions in Front Office, Guest Relations, Public Relations, Food & Beverage and Training with organisations including the Regent of Melbourne, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Mövenpick Gastronomy. He was also a founding staff member of the internationally renowned Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Australia.

Tim is currently the Director of Training and Development at iperform, an organisation that specialises in Sales and Service, Leadership and Effective Personal Organisation programs.

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