TOPIC: How do you keep your team engaged and motivated?I encourage my team with a high level of standards. We would not be in the position we are in today—with over 50 years in the business—if we did not hold ourselves to those standards everyday. I like to remind everyone at Buffalo Limousine to stay hungry and stay humble. Last, we emphasize that every process is not perfect and can always be improved.
Carla Boccio, Owner
Buffalo Limousine in Buffalo, N.Y.
It’s human nature to appreciate a kind word from the boss, nice feedback from a client, etc. Your employee is truly the best representation of your company. While, of course, your equipment should meet the standards of your clients, an unhappy employee can make or break a job.
I try to thank the chauffeurs for doing a good job or going above and beyond, like with long trips, very early pickups, late-night pickups, bad weather, or a client who needs special attention. I have some employees who will change their plans to accommodate a client who specifically asks for them or for a job where I feel that specific chauffeur’s personality will best serve a client. I have on occasion treated them to lunch, dinner, a snack, or even parking if the job is long or hard to navigate, or if they had gone out of their way to do something extra.
We all know that the better jobs are the packages for limousines or vans or buses, so I will make sure that a good chauffeur not only does airport service but also gets a good job that can keep their interest. If they have a certain job they particularly enjoy, I try and give them that type of work.
Mandy Cicero, Owner
Champagne Limousine Service in Roseto, Pa.
Our chauffeurs are given competitive pay and are rewarded for their extended service. We are extremely flexible with employee availability and time-off requests. We also have incentive programs that help motivate chauffeurs. Our early-morning/late-night winners are awarded cash and gift cards for leading the month in trips. We also have an SOA (Save Our A**) incentive for the chauffeur who steps up in during times of need and goes beyond expectations. We also keep our chauffeurs updated on all upcoming/potential groups, events, etc. to make sure they’re involved. Another thing we do is work with the chauffeurs when it comes to convenience. Early-morning trips and vehicle changes can be a hassle, so often we will let employees take vehicles overnight or meet them with vehicles. Finally, we hold bimonthly chauffeur meetings to discuss things like policies, pay, concerns, and upcoming events. Our office is equipped with a suggestion/comment box for chauffeurs to voice their opinions, which we discuss each meeting.
Keeping our office staff motivated is different. We are a family-owned business, so nearly every employee is invested in the company’s success. I personally have known the owners for more than 15 years and am a family friend, so I take great pride in our success and anguish in any failure. The biggest deterrent for being engaged and motivated is the dog days of summer. Arizona summers are brutally slow in our industry, so getting employees motivated once work picks up in the fall can be a challenge. Most of our employees take their extended vacations in summer, so getting back into work mode can take a little time.
Michael Guertin, General Manager/Affiliate Director
Arizona Limousines in Phoenix, Ariz.
We have daily huddles with our entire team at 10:30 a.m. to ensure open communication, discuss goals, and crack a few jokes. We also host company lunches and evening team-building activities. We treat our team as a family. Everyone takes pride in a job well done and we praise each other frequently.
Sue Jarvis, President
Aristocat Transportation in Warren, Mich.
Our clients keep our team engaged and motivated! Not one phone call or email is the same as the last. Being able to adapt to and assist our clients keeps our team motivated to do better.
Within the office staff we maintain a cross-trained group: Each person takes on various roles, including reservations, dispatch, and management. This provides for an engaging and stimulating work environment that trains everyone to meet the needs of our clients and team.
We take a slightly different approach with our chauffeur team. We engage them personally by asking how runs went, what they like, and how we could do things differently to assist them with their service. We also take an interest in their personal lives without being intrusive. For example, one of our chauffeurs just got married. His wedding was in another province, so we ensured he had all the time off he needed and sent him and his fiancee to the airport in a limousine with a bottle of champagne. Needless to say, he was thrilled!
It’s important to listen to those who serve your clients. This can be referred to as an open door policy, but it goes further. Words need to be backed up with action. If you take an active interest in your team, they will take an active interest in their jobs. Ensuring service delivery to clients—the people who pay all of the bills—needs to be flawless. When we engage our staff on policy, we want buy-in, and that’s done with dialogue. If you want your staff to adapt to your policies, your employee needs to feel that they are being “spoken with” and not “spoken at.” Certainly the extras like staff events and barbecues are great and well appreciated, but getting into the details of the business with the team fosters a better relationship with your employees. As a company, we support numerous community organizations, events, and causes. We ask our employees for those charities that they wish to support and we assist them in doing so.
Giving our chauffeur team flexibility in their schedule allows us to service our clients’ needs, lower costs, and keep happy chauffeurs! We want our team members to feel cared for and valued, and in turn, they care for our clients and make them feel valued, which allows us to provide an exceptional experience to our passengers.
Edison Kahakauwila, President
L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services in Vancouver, B.C.
Communication is the key. Making sure that each team member understands who their customer is (both externally and internally within the organization) and lives the core values of our business every day (honesty, integrity, respect, flexibility, and reliability) creates not only an engaged and motivated workforce, but also an environment of teamwork that extends all the way to our customers. We also seek feedback from associates through formal surveys, conduct meetings of our various teams, and utilize training and development as ways to connect with our mobile workforce. We find it important to acknowledge individual success and high levels of performance with on-the-spot recognition, and then share this with the wider organization to celebrate the good work.
Mark Karolides, VP of Human Resources
Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services in Boston, Mass.
This is a great topic that challenges all businesses. Boston Chauffeur sets individual and team goals in addition to coaching our staff regularly. Also, we do contests that are competitive and fun. This summer we did a contest where the winner got box seats to a Red Sox game, chauffeur service in/out of the game, and money for food and drinks. It was a huge success.
Mark Kini, Founder & CEO
Boston Chauffeur in Beverly, Mass.
Agents are motivated using the Road to Success map displayed in our reservations department, which consists of a weekly competition challenge, including the number of answered calls asking for the business, and our out-of-state program where agents ask all airport transfers if they can also book in the passenger’s destination city. Each week the winner is announced for taking the highest number of calls and booking the most out-of-state reservations for the last seven days and they receive weekly recognition with a Rising Star award that they can display on their desk for doing an outstanding job.
On a monthly basis, agents win gift cards, free car washes/oil changes (courtesy of our shop team), and lunch for both meeting and exceeding the set goals. Agents also received “You got caught doing something great” cards to reinforce and engage them in positive teamwork and performance.
Allison Kubiak, Call Center Manager
Windy City Limousine in Broadview, Ill.
One method we use is to simply be polite and thankful. A sincere thank you for a job well done can be a powerful motivator for continued success, whether it’s just employees doing their job, going the extra mile, or solving a problem. Do it in person and quickly. Saying please and thank you goes a long way.
Greg Palie Sr., Owner
GNS Transportation Group in Orlando, Fla.
The right team is everything for the company. Talk to your employees at least once a week. Give them attention and treat them like family, since we spend more time with our team than we do with our own families. No company can grow unless they have the right people. Gifts, bonuses, and incentives keep the team engaged and motivated. Remember: “You can only steer the boat. The team is the wind that keeps it sailing.”
Imran Qazi, President & Operations Manager
Friendly Ride Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Inwood, N.Y.
One word that best describes our company is “yes.” A big motto that stands in our company is, “The answer is YES!” Meeting the demands of our customers is the overall goal. “What’s the question? The answer is yes!” Can this be challenging and present obstacles for our staff? Of course—but I think that ties in with what keeps our company and employees motivated.
Saying yes isn’t always easy, but it keeps us on our toes. We are constantly changing and rearranging things to make sure that everything requested is met and performed at the very best of our abilities. My employees thrive in knowing that they are able to fix problems and find solutions all for the benefit of the customer. The challenge of being consistent with our performance and quality of service and remaining a top contender in our field is definitely a factor in giving our employees that drive and willingness to give it their all for each reservation that they take.
Douglas Rydbom, Senior Member
Premiere #1 Limousine Service in Middletown, Pa.
Effective delegation is crucial for our day-in-day-out fleet management and business operations. During the delegation process, our people are encouraged to take business risks and make commercial decisions on their own, even though some deals may occasionally end up in financial losses.
We believe that delegation helps them to develop their business skills and gain experiences to take on higher responsibilities. The trust and confidence we place in our staff give them a true sense of ownership and ultimately a real feeling of success and achievement in most cases, if not all. To some extent, this trust between team members motivates people more effectively than the financial compensation alone does.
Amy Yan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
AmyExpress in Kowloon, Hong Kong
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