I am in training to run the Indianapolis 500 Festival mini-marathon this year. I’ve never run a half-marathon before – actually, I’ve never run anything before. A friend asked if I would join her in this adventure and, in a moment of weakness, I agreed! There have been lots of long training runs to do. During those runs, I keep myself going by picturing what it will look like to receive my medal at the end of the race. I saw a shirt recently that said, “It’s all about the medal.” Yes, I am motivated by the medal!
There are people in your organization running a race every day. They are racing to provide your customers with the best possible experience. It’s hard work for them…you put them through training in preparation for the work. But…do you provide them with a medal? What have you done lately to motivate those folks? I have three quick ideas to help keep your staff running.
- Send them a handwritten note. Who achieved the highest QA score of the week? Who had perfect attendance this month? Who just finished their college degree at night, or announced their engagement? Send them a note…not an email…a genuine I-really-took-the-time-to-do-this handwritten note! I worked with an organization that had a president who was passionate about notes. He counted on his leadership team to let him know what was going on with the 500+ employees in their organization. He sent handwritten notes all the time. You could walk through their contact center and see these notes proudly displayed in cubicles. It’s a “medal” that keeps people running because they know you care about them.
- Surprise people with something silly. One year, during an especially busy stretch, we walked up and down the aisles of our call center carrying a tray. On it were small paper cups filled with M&M’s and Jelly Bellies. We labeled one set of cups “Zoloft” and one set of cups “Prozac.” It was a bit of comic relief in an otherwise crazy day. Dress up in a crazy costume, hang balloons from the ceiling, give away little stress balls…it’s all about keeping your runners smiling through their race.
- Present them with a medal! Check this out: http://bit.ly/eOoH7h I love buying fun stuff from these folks. It’s very affordable and they’re a good Hoosier company. I’ve presented medals for all kinds of celebrations big and small (the same kinds of reasons I’d write a handwritten note). People hang these on the walls of their cubicles as well. It’s another fun way to recognize your staff’s hard work.
Taking care of our customers is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your runners motivated for the long haul…give them a medal!