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Best Practices for Engaging, Motivating and Inspiring your Employees

Jan 2, 2019 by Donna Petiford 1 Comment


engaging, motivating & inspiring your employees blogIn this series written by Great Game employees, we will highlight some of the highest rated sessions at the 2018 Gathering of Games conference. In this blog, Donna Petiford, Great Game's Quality Assurance Manager, covers the session How to Engage, Motivate and Inspire Employees by John Williams.

John, an 8-year Gathering of Games speaker, works at Central States Manufacturing and has been playing since 1988. Check out the highlights from John's "give one, get one" session, where he tapped into the wisdom of the crowd to compile best practices on engaging employees to their highest potential, as well as, the audio from the session below.

 How to Engage, Motivate and Inspire Employees

1. Include their picture in recognition. Everyone likes to look at themselves (think of the number of mirrors in your house). Include a photo on the screen in your weekly Huddle or in an email to emphasize the employee's hard work. 

2. Tell them when they do a good job. It's important to recognize your employees as soon as you can and be specific.  Being specific about the accomplishment will encourage the person to repeat the good work.

3. Send a birthday card to their house. Be sure to include a personalized, handwritten note (or don’t send one at all). As an extra special note, send a birthday card to the employee’s family members with a message like, “Happy Birthday from your Mom’s work. Tell her how we appreciate her hard work and dedication!”

4. Provide a tangible reward. It can be something as simple as a candy bar, but must be something the employee will value (find out ahead of time what your employees’ preferences are).

5. Teach your employees about the business. Take advantage of financial literacy training including events and on-site training. Make a commitment to regular training, as well as company-wide Huddles and High-Involvement Planning.

6. Celebrate publicly. When you have a team that meets a goal, make some noise! Celebrate the whole team publicly.

7. Act silly and laugh! Especially if you are in management, take a break from strict business. It shows your team that you and the management staff are just like everyone else. Examples might be dressing up or participating in a company-wide competition.

8. Provide opportunities for individual professional growth. Send employees to workshops, trainings and educational classes. Reward with responsibility and give employees an opportunity to shine in a special project.

9. Say the 4 most powerful words that you can ever say: “What do you think?

10. Challenge your employees to think outside of their own “box” while connecting back to their job performance. 

11. Thank them for their time, thank them for being there, and be sincere. 

12. Send employees to conferences (like the Annual Gathering of the Games) and workshops in order to widen their perspectives and diversify their skills.

13. Leaders need to engage in order to get an engaged workforce in turn. Learn what gets them excited. Ask questions and get to know the workflow and processes. 

14. Admit your mistakes and don't station yourself behind a desk. The desk creates a barrier between yourself and whom you are talking to.

15. Show empathy and care for individuals within your company. Consider whether people are in the right positions where their talents can shine. If not, get them in the right spot where they can utilize their talents. 

16. Introduce yourself at company parties. Compliment your employee to their spouse (and remember to be specific). 

17. Tag or give shoutouts to your employees on your company's social media accounts.

Your most valuable asset is your workforce. Invest in them and you'll see a return, a more motivated, engaged, and inspired workforce. 

Want to hear the full session and hear more ideas and examples on how to engage your workforce? Check out the audio from the conference here.


Check out the Annual Gathering of Games to learn more about the world's largest open-book conference.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Donna Petiford
Written by Donna Petiford
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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.