A brief case: How do I incentivize my employees to go the extra mile?

Margaux Chandler
Owner, instructor
Shred415 East Side

“The boutique fitness industry is composed of businesses that operate seven days per week, 365 days per year, from early mornings to late evenings. Many employees work at the studio before or after going to another job, at times of the day they are likely tired or worn out. Recognizing their dedication both to their role and to our business is critical; their engagement and desire to be a part of the team is what creates a one-of-a-kind experience for our clients.

“To recognize and reward my team, I place little value on extravagant incentives. I aim to motivate my team by creating a positive employee experience, so they genuinely enjoy coming in to work. This is accomplished through fostering a supportive and trusting environment.

“As Brené Brown writes, ‘Trust is built in very small moments.’ Small gestures, such as providing snacks in the break room, proactively replacing used and worn equipment and supplies, subbing a class or picking up a shift for someone, and being there or showing up as soon as you can when the unexpected occurs are all actions that earn trust. These types of actions let your team know you are thinking about them and how they feel while they are at work.”

Jim Lindenberg
Jim Lindenberg

Jim Lindenberg
JML Holdings, Lindy Enterprises, The Union House Restaurant

“There is no one thing that will work for all employees. Most managers think it is money, but it usually is not money. It needs to be multiple things. Make the business a pleasant place to work. Be respectful, honest, positive and supportive. Communicate well and create and maintain a great team. Stay connected to your employees. Give good, positive and honest feedback.

“It is important for a manager to know each employee very well. Ask them what they want or what motivates them. And really listen. Employees want to be recognized for their hard work. Give them flexible work time. Give them opportunities for growth and advancement.

“Give them food. Give them wellness programs. Provide perks and privileges. Present challenges. Provide corporate memberships. Take care of the people who are around and important to your employees. Do some things together outside of work to strengthen your connections and build camaraderie.

“Do these things and you will see a positive change amongst your employees. You will see they feel valued. You will see their quality and production of work increase. Keep learning together and keep growing together, and you will stay together.”

Jon Sica
Jon Sica

Jon Sica
Chief strategy officer, vice president of franchise development, project management
Batteries Plus Bulbs

“Incenting people to go the extra mile is rarely just about compensation. High performers are grown on a steady diet of opportunity and engagement.

“Few in business can resist the chance to be great. One of the easiest things a leader can do is open the door. I do this by looking for smart, skilled employees that demonstrate excellence and giving them a platform to do something big. This could be a sales goal, a technology project or a strategic initiative. The approach is a win-win. Success breeds success, and more opportunity for an employee to keep playing in high-profile roles, while the leader gets to show an employee a career path through the exposure and experience they’ve gained.

“Engaging employees magnifies results. In its simplest form, it’s about making connections. I engage employees by taking the time to share things they wouldn’t otherwise see, like performance and profitability updates and appropriate parts of BOD presentations. This is a great way to extend trust and transparency, and show employees how their work connects to the big picture. I also engage employees by taking the time to create a personal connection. At least twice a year, I like to meet with everyone on my team in an informal touch base. I’ve found that most are grateful because they’ve never had one-on-one time with a leader. Some want to talk business, some want to talk family – either way, we learn something new from each other. It’s also a good way for me to identify up-and-coming talent, and create opportunities for them to go ‘the extra mile.’”

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