In order to encourage employees to want to improve their skills, you must instill a sense of pride in the workplace. This is important in any economy, but it's crucial when money is tight and there is no possibility of bonuses or raises on the horizon. Employees who consider themselves part of a team can concentrate on the greater good of the company, improving everyone's circumstances in the long run. Instill a sense of belonging in your team members to help improve their desire to get better at whatever they do.
1. Build a corporate culture of inclusion and esprit de corps. Begin by training all management members on the new company outlook. Get everyone in charge on board with the new program by creating detailed plans for team building in every department. Begin at the top and let your people know you're trusting them to spread the concept throughout their areas.
2. Create a team mentality throughout your company. Create friendly rivalries between departments or stores. Every year, thousands of pizza restaurants across the country try out for the international Pizza Olympics. All team members are encouraged to improve their skills and enter the contest. The winning team members bring pride to their home store. Many local areas hold similar competitions between rival restaurants. Find a similar project that encourages improving work skills while adding a fun element to the workplace.
3. Band together as a group to do good works. Create a volunteer team to work monthly on charity projects, such as building houses for Habitat for Humanity, handing out food at a local food bank or working on local parks or other community efforts. Employees who work together to help their community often develop a sense of family and pride in themselves. This can turn into a desire to better themselves in the workplace.
4. Offer intangible rewards to the most-improved employees in each department or store. Hold regular contests or evaluations and give interesting prizes, such as days off with pay, the ability to control the radio in the restaurant kitchen, switching places with a manager for a day or the right to design new employee hats and T-shirts.
5. Single out extraordinary employees with unexpected compliments or small awards. Something as small as the company manager recognizing an employee by name or a shift manager buying coffee for a hard-working team can help contribute to an improvement in workers' attitudes and work ethic.