Over one-quarter of the year is over. The thrill of a New Year has begun to fade and employees that once appeared motivated and engaged are now looking at the clock with regular frequency.

Keeping employees motivated is a year-round endeavor, and coming into the second quarter is a good time to take stock of the year ahead and what you can do to ensure success. After all, your employees are your greatest asset.


Employees need to feel that they are a part of the business—that they have some skin in the game. To this end, sharing the numbers and providing incentives based on performance each quarter contributes to a sense of ownership. Your servers need to see themselves as your sales team. To this end, consider a quarterly reward to the one that has the highest ticket sales.


With the advent of social media, keeping your customers engaged has become a part and parcel of your marketing strategy. If not, it should be. Keeping your employees engaged is just as important. Gallup recently released the latest State of the American Workplace report. According to this survey, 70 percent of U.S, workers do not feel engaged at work. That’s a large portion of your workforce that may be slipping away.

Engage employees by openly communicating and encouraging communication between the BOH and FOH. Ask their opinion. Encourage them to make suggestions. Millennials are looking for a company culture that promotes health and happiness and understands that leading a balanced life between work and personal life sustains long-term commitment.

Develop a Team Spirit

While promoting interaction among your employees can improve camaraderie, offering team challenging activities outside of the company has shown to improve overall attitude—inspiring employees on the field and in the restaurant. Consider contacting surrounding businesses and setting up a baseball or Frisbee golf league. You’ll be surprised at the motivation this one small thing promotes.

Personal Achievement

Today’s employees want to feel as though they are contributing at a deep level and making the world a slightly better place while they’re at it. They want to feel that they are using their talents to the best of their abilities. Train them to be the best cooks, the best bartenders, the best wait staff and they will reward you by exceeding your guest’s expectations.

Continually Learning

This is one of the great motivational recipes. Help your employees to continually better themselves, extend themselves, and reach beyond what they thought possible. Without this upward climb, they will slink down in their chairs and pretend they are looking up a potential customer’s data when they are really checking out Craigslist job ads.

Company Culture

We may have already addressed this, but it’s so important to the age of Millennials, that we thought it bears repeating.  Company culture is a topic almost every job seeker addresses in this age of the desire to lead a well-balanced life. To this end, consider a gathering place that promotes interaction. This could mean a ping-pong or pool table or gaming center.

Job Security

No one feels very motivated in a job they feel may be pulled out from under them in the coming months. To instill job security, share your history and what inspires you as you look to the future. Let them know that this is not a fly-by-night operation. You’re here for the long haul and appreciate those employees that are willing and able to take the voyage with you.

A Great Leader

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” –Warren Bennis.  A good leader can make up for almost all other motivational techniques that may be missing. A good leader inspires by their actions and leads by example. Your employees want to do their best by you because you do your best by them.

The Ultimate Goal

“There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

Creating a work environment that promotes excellence as well as joy will ensure a long-term commitment from employees that see the bigger picture, understand your vision, and want to contribute to both the company and each other. It may take some ingenuity, but it is well worth the effort. Taking care of your employees ensures that they will take care of your customers.

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