Zip, Zap, Zowie! Employee Motivation Techniques that Improve Performance

Here is a recent video clip of a speech I gave on employee motivation.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee appreciation, Employee Engagement, Job Satisfaction, Leadership Speaker | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Job Engagement: How to Improve Work Performance

Job Engagement

Employers face the complex tasks on finding ways to improve job engagement, work performance and job satisfaction.  A global economy of discriminating employees has placed demands on employers never before seen.  Employers face the challenges of maintaining productivity, job performance as well as keeping their workforce engaged and satisfied with their jobs.

Environmental pressures, increased regulations, rising costs, and the needs of the workforce have placed management in a complicated and tenuous situation.  The answer lies with creating a work environment that maintains employee job satisfaction as well as motivates people toward exceptional performance.

A  survey conducted by the Conference Board showed only 45 percent of Americans are engaged with their jobs. This is the lowest job engagement level ever recorded by the Conference Board in more than 22 years of research.

Those that fail to improve job satisfaction are at risk of losing their top talented people to the competition.  Supervisors and managers who maximize the potential, creative abilities, and talents of the entire workforce have a greater competitive advantage than those who don’t.  Employees that are engaged in their work have a higher level of job satisfaction and motivation.  Engaged and motivated workers provide the health insurance businesses desperately needed in these chaotic times.

Here are a few job engagement techniques that can boost job performance.

Team Assist Boards:  Best Buy Company, Inc. has boards, which are located in multiple areas within a department.  Peers or managers recognize the excellence of others by writing a quick message of thanks, and then post it on the board.

Tool for New Employees:  Northeastern University has many divisions, each containing several departments.  The division decided to develop a tool to assist the new employees.  It is an orientation/training manual, and the entire company helps direct them where to go, who to speak to, and what they need to begin working on.

Staff Excellence Award:  Northeastern University has developed a staff excellence awards.  These are done monthly and the winners are nominated by those in their department.  They receive a gift certificate and plaque.

Perfect Attendance Recognition:  Graybar has weekly or monthly drawings for perfect attendance.  This is for those who have had no tardiness, etc. for the previous weeks.  They give one gift certificate per week.

On the Spot Award:  NexCom uses the “On the Spot Award.”  Any supervisor who finds an employee doing the right thing gives it.  They give that employee a gift certificate, minimum $25, maximum $100.

Breakfast Burrito Reward:  Sandia National Labs has the Breakfast Burrito reward.  When a team or individual meets a certain performance goal, they get a Breakfast Burrito party.  Status towards achievement is tracked on a poster… red chilies indicate falling behind schedule, and green chilies show if they are on time, or ahead of schedule.  This is very inexpensive, but well received.  Employees love to eat!

Feed the Teams:  Smith and Nephew encourage their various departments to select a weekend to feed the mfg. teams that have to work.  They arrive at 8:00 p.m. Friday night for the second shift, 2:00 a.m. for the third shift, and at noon on Saturday for the first shift.  The teams have been very appreciative.

Executive Lunch:  Tenet HealthSystem selects an employee from each department via e-mail to join Executives (VPs) for lunch.  Approximately 10 executives and 15 employees have lunch in a conference room on the Executive floor on a monthly basis.  There is no set agenda.  Coworkers get a chance to interact with one another, and interact with executives on an informal basis.  This program has done a lot for job engagement.

Order our E-Book,  Boosting Employee Engagement: 50 Ways to Motivate and Unleash Employee Performance for $12.95

Job Engagement

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee appreciation, Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Employee Retention, Job Satisfaction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Customer Service! How to Create an Exceptional Service Team


May 3, 2012



When your customer service team loses their drive, it’s detrimental to productivity, profits and personnel.  Learn how to create an excellent customer service strategy and motivate your service team to provide superior service, inspiring customers to return and spread the word.   Join us for this 60-minute webinar where you and your colleagues will discover:

  • Strategies to Boost Morale and Work Ethic Among the Front-Line Reps
  • Tips and Tricks to Increase Profitability Through Stellar Customer Service
  • How to Promote Customer Brand Loyalty: Keep Them Coming Back for More
  • Ways to Identify, Reward & Train Your Customer Service Team: Be the Best Around


This 60-minute webinar will provide you with essential skills to create a high level of service quality at every level of your organization, to promote customer loyalty.


Turn One-Time Customers into Life-Long Buyers: Keys to Distinguish Your Service.

  • How to establish & implement customer-focused policies to boost brand loyalty
  • Ways to create an improved, lasting relationship with your customers
  • Increase exposure: WOW them with service and the word will spread

Give Your Organization a New Face: Happy Staff are Ambitious Staff

  • How to keep your best reps satisfied with recognition & advancement
  • Promote employee confidence to build an indispensable & tenacious team
  • Integrity, loyalty and dependability: Key rep traits customers respect & notice
  • Strategies to train cheerful & upbeat staff members: Attitude is contagious

Increase Productivity & Empower Your Reps to Go Above & Beyond

  • Methods to motivate reps to strive to do better than the ‘norm’
  • Recognize negative customers: Don’t let them ruin your day
  • Facilitate an incentive program: How to determine who & when to reward

Live question and answer session – Have your specific customer self-service questions answered!

Your Expert Presenter:

Gregory P. Smith is recognized as a leading authority on talent management, organizational transformation and customer service, Smith teaches businesses how to create exceptional workplaces that attract, retain and motivate talented people. As an international speaker and author, Smith has addressed organizations in over 25 countries. He has spoken to hundreds of associations, human resource associations, healthcare organizations and businesses on numerous workplace related topics.

  • As the founder and Lead Navigator of Chart Your Course International Inc., Smith helps executives and business owners accelerate individual and organizational performance and navigate through increasing rates of change. He helps design strategies and processes to grow organizations and implements business initiatives creating clearer direction, increased profitability, stronger executive teams, improved communication and happier and more productive employees.
  • Smith has written and published over 350 articles and 9 books including his latest, Fired Up! Leading Your Organization to Achieve Exceptional Results.  He has been featured in hundreds of magazines and trade journals and appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Bloomberg Business News and PBS television.

Cost:  $199

Recording will be available

Register here. 

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Customer Service | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Employee Recognition Ideas to Drive Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Employee recognition is a powerful tool in building morale, motivation and job satisfaction. A pat on the back or a personal note from a peer or a supervisor does wonders. Small, informal celebrations are many times more effective than a once-a-quarter or once-a-year formal event.

Employee appreciation and recognition are critical to achieving organizational goals. All humans need to feel appreciated. In a survey conducted by Robert Half International, results showed employee recognition and appreciation was the number one reason employees stay in their work environment with fair compensation being second.

Here are a few employee recognition ideas to consider.  Some of these ideas provide ways to increase employees satisfaction without increasing pay.

Drive My BMW

Graham Weston, co-founder and CEO of Rackspace Managed Hosting, gives the keys to his BMW M3 convertible to his top performing employees for a week. This creative way to reward employees has a bigger impact than cash. He says, “If you gave somebody a $200 bonus, it wouldn’t mean very much. But when someone gets to drive my car for a week, they never forget it.” The important point is pay and money do not necessarily create job satisfaction. There has to be something more.

The Extra Mile

United Services Automobile Association (USAA) provides blank “Thank You” note stationery to their workers for a program called The Extra Mile. Employees are encouraged to say “Thank You” to each other for the help they receive at work. The most surprising thing happened on the first day the notes were printed. They ran out! The company couldn’t keep up with the demand.

President’s Employee Recognition Dinner

Schreiber Foods, Inc. holds an annual President’s Employee Recognition Dinner.  Throughout the year employees nominate each other for five award categories: leadership, quality improvement, innovation, community involvement, etc.  A team then evaluates the nominations, and the winners are selected.  They are announced and recognized at the President’s Dinner.  The recipients receive a crystal award and a bonus.

Before embarking on creating an employee recognition program, take the time to first discover what may be causing employees to be un-motivated.  Identify and fix the de-motivators first.

Source: Dynamic Ideas to Reward, Energize and Motivate Your Teams


We are on a search for innovative ways to keep people motivated and engaged at work.  Please reply and leave us some suggestions on this blog.


Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee appreciation, Employee Recognition, Employee Retention | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Favorite Leadership Videos

Here are a couple of good leadership videos I recommend. One on Zappos and the other about Southwest Airlines. I also added an interesting video delivered at Harvard by J.K. Rowling. Hope you enjoy.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Good Places to Work, Leadership, Leadership Speaker | Leave a comment

Top 10 Human Resource MegaTrends

1. By 2020, the demand for labor will outstrip supply by almost 18 million people.

ManpowerGroup: Talent – The New IT

2. 90% of employers experience difficulties filling mission-critical roles because of candidates’ lack of necessary skills and experience, insufficient qualifications or a lack of soft skills.

ManpowerGroup 2011 Talent Shortage Survey – May 2011

3. Only one in five employers is concentrating on training and development to fill the knowledge/skills gap.

ManpowerGroup 2011 Talent Shortage Survey – May 2011

4. By 2018, 63% of all jobs will require some postsecondary education. The U.S. will fall short by three million workers with postsecondary degrees.

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Help Wanted: Projecting Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018

5. In the U.S., employees eligible for retirement are outnumbering their teenage counterparts for the first time in over 60 years.

Time Magazine – July 2008

6. In 2011, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years.

Pew Research Center

7. The world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites.

Nielson July 2010

8. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.

ManpowerGroup: Talent – The New IT

9. 80% of employers are using LinkedIn as a tool to find talent.

ManpowerGroup: Talent – The New IT

10. 84% of employees are actively seeking a new position.

2010 Right Management Survey

Source: ManpowerGroup “Megatrends to Remember”

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Human Resource Management | Leave a comment

Employee Recognition Ideas on Keeping Employees Motivated

sheildEmployee appreciation ideas to engage and motivate your staff and workforce to higher levels of motivation and employee engagement!

Employee appreciation is not just a nice thing to do, but a critical element provided by good managers. People have a basic human need to feel appreciated and feel good about who they are and what they do.  That is the job of management.

Most managers and supervisors do a poor job making people feel appreciated.

Mark Twain who once said; “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Statistics show the number one reason many people are unhappy with their jobs is the lack of recognition and a lack of appreciation.

A positive workplace is one that develops systems and processes to reward, recognize and sustain those important behaviors.  In many cases if you do not “recognize” those behaviors you will not “get” those behaviors.

Peer recognition is a popular and easy way of making people feel appreciated. Peer recognition is where the employees are provided the ability to reward or show appreciation to each other for doing a good job. Peer recognition works because employees themselves know whom works hard and deserves recognition. Managers can’t be everywhere all the time; therefore, the employees are in the best position to catch people doing the right things. Also, workers usually value each other’s influence more than their supervisor’s.

My Shining Star

I have a client company that created a program called “My Shining Star!” Employees are provided an unlimited supply of “My Shining Star!” forms.  They can write a note on the form about the good job their co-workers are doing. On the back of the form, the company lists the behaviors they want to encourage.  Some of these behaviors are:

  • Demonstrates friendly, caring service
  • Shows flexibility
  • Demonstrates teamwork
  • Helps to save money

The Shining Star program is one way they insure their staff demonstrates good team work and receives words of appreciation and thanks from their co-workers.

I have spent hundreds of hours researching and gathering what organizations do to motivate and energize their people.  Here is another idea:

At Del Norte Credit Union the president sends a welcome letter to all new hires and a congratulations letter for each significant anniversary with the company (5, 10, 15, 20 years). He personally signs each one and sometimes adds handwritten notes. He also calls employees on their anniversary. There are over 1,000 employees at Del Norte. Finally, the president draws four or five employees’ names each month and takes them to lunch.

Source: TNT: Dynamic Ideas to Reward, Energize and Motivate Your Teams


We are on a search for innovative ways to keep people motivated and engaged at work.  Please reply and leave us some suggestions on this blog.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International |

Posted in Employee appreciation, Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Job Satisfaction, Talent Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments