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How to Motivate Unmotivated Employees - Style Nine to Five

Motivating employees, especially part-time staff who might just see their job as a paycheque, can be challenging. At Style Nine to Five, we understand the importance of keeping your team inspired and engaged. Here’s an in-depth look at practical strategies to help you motivate unmotivated employees, complete with real-life examples and questions you can ask to get started.

1. Identify Interests

One effective way to motivate employees is to align their tasks with their interests and strengths. For instance, if an employee loves accessories, put them in charge of that department. They could handle markdowns, merchandising, and other responsibilities related to accessories. This not only leverages their passion but also allows them to excel in areas they enjoy​.

Questions to Ask:
– “What tasks do you enjoy the most in your current role?”
– “Is there a particular area or department you feel passionate about?”
– “How can we better align your responsibilities with your interests?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Janessa, a part-time employee at a fashion retail store, often appeared disengaged and was frequently on her phone.
Action: Her manager discovered Janessa had a keen interest in accessories. She was assigned to manage the accessories section, handling everything from selecting new pieces to designing the displays.
Result: Janessa’s enthusiasm for accessories led to creative and appealing displays, which boosted sales in that department. Her engagement and productivity soared because she was doing something she loved.

2. Provide a Sense of Ownership

Employees who feel a sense of ownership over their work are generally more motivated. Giving them responsibility for a specific area or task can foster this ownership. For example, allowing an employee to take charge of the accessories department, including decision-making on displays and inventory management, can make them feel more invested in their work and the success of the store​.

Questions to Ask:
– “Would you be interested in taking on more responsibility in a specific area of the store?”
– “What decisions would you like more control over in your role?”
– “How can we help you feel more accountable for the success of your department?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Tom, another part-time employee, often grumbled about his tasks and seemed uninterested.
Action: His manager asked him if he would like to take charge of the men’s wear section. Tom was given the responsibility to manage inventory, plan displays, and make decisions on markdowns.
Result: Feeling a sense of ownership, Tom became more motivated and proactive, significantly improving the men’s wear section’s organization and sales.

3. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Motivation can be bolstered by setting clear, achievable goals. Employees need to understand what is expected of them and how their efforts contribute to the store’s success. Regularly reviewing these goals and providing feedback can help keep them on track and motivated​.

Questions to Ask:
– “Do you feel you have clear goals and expectations in your role?”
– “How often would you like to review your progress and set new goals?”
– “What support do you need to achieve your objectives?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Saba, a part-time cashier, often seemed confused about her responsibilities and what was expected of her.
Action: Her manager sat down with her to set clear daily and weekly goals and scheduled regular check-ins to review her progress.
Result: With clear expectations and ongoing support, Saba felt more confident and motivated, leading to improved performance and customer interactions.

4. Recognize and Reward Efforts

Recognition and rewards are powerful motivators. Acknowledge the hard work and achievements of your employees, whether through verbal praise, bonuses, or other incentives. This recognition can boost morale and encourage continued effort and dedication​.

Questions to Ask:
– “Do you feel your hard work is recognized and appreciated?”
– “What types of recognition and rewards are most meaningful to you?”
– “How can we improve our reward system to better motivate you?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Zhang Lei, a part-time stock clerk, felt his efforts went unnoticed and started calling in sick frequently.
Action: His manager implemented a recognition program, awarding “Employee of the Month” with a small bonus and public acknowledgment.
Result: Zhang Lei’s efforts were recognized, his attendance improved, and he became more motivated to excel in his role.

5. Offer Professional Development

Investing in your employees’ professional growth shows that you value them and their future with the company. Offer training and development opportunities that align with their career goals and interests. This not only improves their skills but also enhances their motivation to contribute to the store’s success​.

Questions to Ask:
– “What are your professional development goals?”
– “Are there specific skills or areas you would like to develop further?”
– “How can we support your growth and career progression?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Emily, a part-time sales associate, expressed a lack of interest in her tasks, viewing the job only as a temporary gig.
Action: Her manager offered her the opportunity to attend a sales training workshop and supported her in learning new sales techniques.
Result: Emily’s new skills boosted her confidence and performance, and she began to see the job as a valuable career step, increasing her motivation and commitment.

6. Create a Positive Work Environment

A positive and supportive work environment can significantly impact employee motivation. Foster a culture of respect, collaboration, and open communication. Address any workplace issues promptly and ensure that employees feel heard and valued​.

Questions to Ask:
– “How do you feel about the work environment and team dynamics?”
– “Are there any changes you would like to see in our workplace culture?”
– “Do you feel comfortable voicing your opinions and ideas?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Ben, a part-time employee, often seemed isolated and unmotivated.
Action: His manager encouraged team-building activities and created an open-door policy for feedback and suggestions.
Result: Ben became more engaged with his colleagues and felt more valued, leading to improved teamwork and job satisfaction.

7. Empower Through Autonomy

Giving employees autonomy over their tasks can lead to higher motivation. When employees have control over how they complete their work, they are more likely to feel responsible and motivated to do their best. This can be particularly effective in creative tasks like merchandising or managing a specific department​.

Questions to Ask:
– “Do you feel you have enough autonomy in your role?”
– “What areas would you like more control over in your daily tasks?”
– “How can we empower you to take more initiative and ownership?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Amy, a part-time merchandiser, felt micromanaged and unmotivated.
Action: Her manager gave her more autonomy over her tasks, allowing her to plan and execute merchandise displays without constant supervision.
Result: Amy’s creativity flourished, leading to eye-catching displays and a renewed sense of purpose and motivation in her work.

8. Engage with Customers

Employees who engage well with customers can significantly boost sales and enhance the shopping experience. However, disengaged employees can negatively impact customer satisfaction.

Questions to Ask:
– “How do you feel about interacting with customers?”
– “What challenges do you face when engaging with customers?”
– “How can we support you in improving customer interactions?”

Real-Life Example:
Situation: Kaitlyn, a part-time sales associate, often appeared disengaged when interacting with customers, leading to complaints.
Action: Her manager provided her with customer service training and role-playing exercises to build her confidence and skills in engaging with customers.
Result: Kaitlyn’s customer interactions improved dramatically. She became more approachable and helpful, leading to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales.

By implementing these strategies and asking the right questions, you can create an environment where employees feel motivated and valued, leading to better performance and job satisfaction. For a more strategies and additional tips be sure you’re signed up to our Employer Newsletter.

Thank you for reading and for your continued support! Remember to list your job openings with us, whether they are internships, part-time, or full-time positions!

– Style Nine to Five team