During a recent Q&A session, I was asked this question:
“How do you motivate employees to go above and beyond who are complacent and content to simply go through the motions at work, do the bare minimum, and collect a paycheck?”
First of all, I don’t believe it’s possible to motivate people. People motivate themselves. But you can inspire them. The way you inspire employees to provide exceptional customer service is to reveal the totality of their job role and connect their daily job responsibilities to a credible, enduring organizational purpose.
It’s well documented that carrots and sticks don’t work long term – and they’re expensive. Organizations that tend to throw money at employee incentive schemes oftentimes are compensating for a failure to undertake the real work of crafting a credible, enduring organizational purpose statement.
It brings to mind organizations that “invest” annually in Customer Service Week hoopla to shift the focus toward customers and customer service for one week out of the year in October. But, sadly, for the remaining 51 weeks, the focus drifts back to job functions (the duties and tasks associated with one’s job role).
Incorporate job essence (employees’ highest priority – their purpose – at work) into job descriptions, processes, current best methods, standards, policies, procedures, etc. Then, use these to manage performance. If employees choose not to reflect essence (when it’s a part of the performance standard), then they are subject to performance management measures – just like employees who fail to properly execute job functions.
Illustration by Aaron McKissen.