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Communication and Gingerbread: How to motivate employees this Christmas

By Jule Scott



Photo: Pexels by Jill Wellington

Just in time for the festive period, the seminar ‘Top Christmas sales with highly motivated employees’ was held by the German retail association BTE Handelsverband and communication and motivational trainer Andreas Nemeth. The focus of the lecture was, as the name suggested, motivation.

Nemeth revealed tips and tricks to motivate employees as well as oneself in the admittedly difficult current climate. He also explained how to successfully extend this motivation to customers in order to encourage them to make a purchase, because according to him, it is "highly motivated employees" who turn "enthusiastic customers into customers who are eager to make a purchase”.

How is motivation generated?

How do fashion retailers manage to increase the motivation of their employees? According to Nemeth, there are three different ways of motivation, each of which can either be achieved through pleasure or through pain. These include the self-motivation of employees and motivational impulses from the outside, such as pressure, or at best, of course, recognition. The last and "highest level of motivation" is the meaningfulness of one's own task.

The theory suggests that employees who recognise the meaning of their tasks will be motivated to carry them out. While both conscious and unconscious thoughts can be trained through targeted linguistic formulations, three aspects are particularly important for a positive, motivating corporate culture:

1. Information flow

The current political and economic situation has been accompanied by uncertainty and worries. Open conversations and honest exchanges help to convey security and can relieve employees of their needless worries and fears.

2. Realistic optimism

Blind optimism is rarely helpful, but it does make sense to motivate employees with realistic optimism. Sentences like "Christmas can come. We are well-prepared," can set positive motivational impulses, explained Nemeth.

3. Empowering the individual

Focusing on the mistakes of employees is never helpful - because he who seeks, finds. Instead, the development of the employee's potential should be strengthened, whether through personal discussions, coaching or targeted assignments. Above all, it is important to recognise that everyone has untapped potential.

How can a motivation-driven communication culture be established?

Language and the right form of communication are the most important building blocks to motivate people. Both inner monologues and the way people communicate with each other are important factors because every word has both a conscious and unconscious effect on the human psyche.

In a nutshell: Language can strongly influence other people and, as a result, colleagues, employees and customers. Even small changes in wording often has a major impact on the motivation of individuals. Thus, with the right attitude, more demanding customers can be seen as an exciting challenge - it's all a question of view and wording!

For managers, it is particularly important to think "proactively", explained the communication trainer in his seminar. By "proactive" he means dealing with situations without protest. It is better to be in favour of something than to be against it, he explained. That doesn't mean ignoring everything at all; rather, it's about managing the workforce in a consistent but protest-free and understanding way.

"I can understand that you are overworked, nevertheless let's go full throttle during the Christmas business," was one of Andreas Nemeth's examples of such a proactive response to an employee who is stressed by additional opening hours around Christmas.

On the sales floor in particular, care should be taken to exclusively speak of positive and inspiring topics and the careful use of words. If constructive criticism needs to be voiced or a serious discussion has to be held, this should always take place off the floor in private rooms.

Fostering employees’ self-motivation

In order to foster employees' self-motivation, the seminar provided five concrete tips, the implementation of which should lead to success:

  1. Set meaningful goals for employees, because these promote motivation and give the person recognition, respect and responsibility. Over the Christmas period, for example, an above-average number of items per customer could become an incentive for employees.

  2. Define a clear set of rules, because these provide security - everyone knows exactly what is expected of him or her. Especially during the Christmas season, it should be determined which Christmas services are standard and offered to all customers.

  3. Open communication and trust go hand in hand with the flow of information within the company. Weekly morning meetings are useful for this. To make it Christmassy, Andreas Nemeth suggested Advent meetings to kick off the Saturday - preferably with non-alcoholic punch and gingerbread. Concrete goals and rules for the day can also be defined during these meetings.

  4. Employees should definitely be invited to participate in the brainstorming sessions and be involved in the innovation of a business. On the one hand, this results in greater respect and esteem for one another, strengthens the innovative power of the company, and also means that the employees are more engaged with their work and the business.

  5. Employees' individual responsibility should be strengthened by giving them more room to work independently. Of course, there are rules, but within these there should also be enough leeway for employees to make their own decisions.

In the spirit of the upcoming Christmas season, Nemeth also emphasised that small gifts, whether for employees or customers, go a long way.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de

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