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Motivating Staff

A business-English activity

This article about Motivating Staff is by Company Class teacher Ivan Garth. You can do the interactive activities in this order: Motivating Staff - Websequitur, Motivating Staff - Matching, Motivating Staff - Simple Cloze or Motivating Staff - Difficult Cloze, Motivating Staff - Quiz, . . .

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William Christison
Oct. 1: Disponible para clases particulares en Madrid.
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William Christison
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Teaches English classes in companies and in his own private home.

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. . . and Motivating Staff - WebRhubarb.

Or, if you prefer, simply read and listen to the article below.

The definitions of some words and phrases can be found at the bottom of the page and linked in the activity above.

Motivating Staff

By Ivan Garth:

MP3    MP3

A woman waits a good while at the counter to pay for her purchase. When an employee finally attends her she doesn't receive a smile nor a "thank you".

Do you think this customer will return?

Perhaps, but I assure you she won't be doing any word of mouth marketing for you.

This type of attitude doesn't only have negative effects in customer service, but also in other areas of the company: Imagine you arrive to work stressed and grumpy, growling at everyone in your team. Now change that situation to a happy start, smiling and pats on the backs. Which day will your team be more efficient?

Now, you either have a very strange team or I'm inclined to think the answer is the second day.

So here are some quick tips to keep up the morale of your team:

Be cheerful and transmit happiness as in the previous example.

Use motivational words. It's as simple as saying "good job" or "thank you".

Make sure everyone knows what's expected from them.

Talk to your employees on a regular basis and tell them when they are doing things well.

Be fair and consistent in your disciplinary system when they fail to perform.

Make time for people. Schedule regular periods where you can dedicate more time to them.

Talk about their goals and help them develop and achieve these goals.

Provide leadership. Guide them and never forget that a good leader can delegate all except their responsibility.

Be disciplined. Motivating is a full-time job, you can never relax.

Think about what makes you tick, I'm sure you are not too different from your team members.

Establish a good rewarding system.

Make employees feel part of the company through stock options or similar schemes, such as profit sharing.

Herb Kelleher, Chairman of Southwest Airlines explained to Mark Morrison (Managing Editor at BusinessWeek) the importance that the motivation of his people had played in the success of the company. He pointed out that they are always in touch with their employees even when they are not at work: maternity leave, sick, retired... showing that they value them as individuals, not just as workers.

And also, generous profit sharing schemes and stock options created the necessary team spirit that is essential for success.


Practice expressions from the text: Motivating Staff Vocabulary Matching Activity

motivating staff - motivating the workers at a company. - motivando los empleados.
a good while - a long time. - un buen rato.
counter - the "bar" where you pay for things. - mostrador.
a purchase - a buy. - una compra.
I assure you - I am sure and you should be also. - te aseguro.
word of mouth marketing - marketing consisting of people telling each other. - marketing del boca a boca.
customer service - work that increases the value that buyers receive from their purchases. - servicio al cliente.
grumpy - irritable. - malhumorado.
growling - making a low threatening sound like an animal (for example: a tiger). - gruñendo.
pats on the back - a soft friendly open handed hit on the back. - palmaditas en la espalda.
tips - practical advice. - consejos.
morale - the general motivated attitude of a group of workers. - moral (en el sentido de alentar).
cheerful - happy. - alegre.
fair - just. - justo.
perform - to do something well. - rendir.
leadership - the capacity to get people to do things. - liderazgo.
what makes you tick - the thing that motivates you to do something. - lo que te hace funcionar.
rewarding system - the method the employer uses to motivate his workers. - sistema de recompensa.
stock options - the right to buy stocks at a specific price. - opción de compra de acciones
profit sharing scheme - A system by which workers receive part of the profits of a company. - programa de reparto de beneficios.
in touch - in contact. - en contacto.
maternity leave - a scheme by which a pregnant female worker can stay home with pay. - baja por maternidad.


Do this activity to text your comprehension of the text:
Motivating Staff Comprehension Quiz.

Discussion Questions

1. Will the woman return to the shop?
a. Yes.
b. No.
c. It's possible.
2. Herb says that keeping close contact with employees helps increase motivation.
a. True.
b. False.
c. It doesn't say.
3. Punishments are bad for motivation?
a. True.
b. False.
c. It doesn't say.
Ivan Garth - Business Talk
Número de teléfono del profesor   Phone: +34.670.910.330.

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William Christison
William Christison
Oct. 1: Disponible para clases particulares en Madrid.

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