Brewing Motivation

Employees need to be motivated to do their best, and that especially applies to customer service—one of the toughest jobs there is.

“Rules are made to be broken,” the old saying goes.

Starbucks learned that lesson the hard way in April when a Philadelphia manager called police to arrest two African-American men who were waiting for a business associate to arrive and had asked to use the restroom but hadn’t bought anything.

The company ultimately changed its policy on non-paying patrons and closed all 8,000 of its U.S. coffee shops for an afternoon to provide racial bias training to all its employees.

Hopefully, the organization understands that one afternoon of training is just the tip of the iceberg. And that this goes beyond racial bias training—although communicating and instilling inclusion and diversity values clearly is of paramount importance. This is also about company culture and employee motivation. Employees need to be motivated to do their best, and that especially applies to customer service—one of the toughest jobs there is.

Organizations need to empower employees to go above and beyond and to sometimes break the rules to make something right. But employees have to be reassured that if they make exceptions to company rules, they won’t be penalized or even fired.

This requires a change in company culture, which we all know isn’t easy. But Learning and Development (L&D) can help. In “Why Change Initiatives Fail…and What L&D Can Do," Paul W.H. Bohne, managing partner and Healthcare Practice leader for executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, notes that L&D “can have an integral role in identifying the culture and leadership competencies that support accelerated change.” It all starts, he says, by fostering a culture of learning.

Organizations can double down on that culture of learning by offering financial aid to employees who want to go back to school for a degree or obtain professional accreditation. Our “Back to School” cover story on p. 16 highlights companies that have ratcheted up their tuition assistance programs for employees recently, and reveals how such programs can increase employee engagement, growth, and retention.

Training itself continues to be a powerful motivator, particularly for Millennials. As “Skills Development Is Its Own Reward” reveals, the direction to managers from top executives at Mastercard, for example, is to ensure employees have an average of two hours per week built into their schedules to learn.

Organizations might even consider getting employees out of the office for a few days. Our 2018 Online Learning Conference (OLC) offers attendees the chance to get hands on with the latest e-learning technologies, take an offsite trip to The Second City Works to learn how to apply improv to solve business challenges, and network with colleagues and experts. Register today at:

Speaking of experts, the 2018 ISA Directory of Learning Providers offers valuable training resources while learning how to hone your resilience skills.

Those resilience skills will come in handy when filling out the 2019 Training Top 125 application ( More than just an awards program, the application helps L&D showcase the effectiveness of training to senior leadership and earn a seat at the executive table to set organizational goals and expectations. How’s that for motivation?

Editor's Note

Training Top 125

Applying for Training magazine’s 2020 Training Top 125 awards program can help you benchmark the excellence and effectiveness of your employee training and development.

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