Write a discussion post.
“How can frontline employees be effectively motivated to deliver service excellence and productivity? Give Examples. Much of this content and information for this question comes from Ch 11 in our book.
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The working environment can be a really stressful field where anything can happen. This is especially true for those that have to with customers. Orders are either not fulfilled or not filed properly. The amount of time needed in order to complete a job is too limiting. Somebody, an employee or customer calls you out of your name. The only way that the manager, or even the company can make the company, is by finding ways that would make him want to work. Fortunately for the manager and the company, there are many ways they can motivate a front-line worker.
A superior can tell an inferior that he is content with his work. “People are motivated and satisfied simply by knowing that they are doing a good job” (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011, pg. 301). They are days where the workload is too much for those that are at the establishment and the pace of the work is too off for customer satisfaction. A simple “I appreciate all that you are doing can motivate a person to keep on going for the rest of that shift. Telling an employee is one way that person can be motivated to do his job.
The employee likes to be recognized for his work. “Humans are social beings, and they derive a sense of identify and belonging to an organization from the recognition and feedback they get from the people around them – their customers, colleagues, and bosses” (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011, pg. 301). If an employee is stated to best the best at a particular job, he would strive to keep that title, even if the statement was said in passing conversation. Honorific titles can told a lot of weight for the employee who earned it. Recognition for a job can keep an employee motivated to have the job.
If there are hard to reach goals, the employee who does them are would find fulfillment. “Goals that are specific, difficult but attainable, and accepted by the staff are strong motivators [and] they result in higher performance than no goals or vague goals” (Lovelock and Wirtz , 2011, pg. 301). If an employee was told to smile to every customer that walked into the establishment, even if he is having a bad day him self, he would do a better job at what he was told. The reason is the goal that had been set into place for him. Goals can make a person want to do his job.
The employee doesn’t want to work for the money. He has to work for the money to live and support himself. A sense of accomplishment though good workmanship can help the employee, even the front-line employee, do more than he thinks he is able to do. The more of those feelings he gets, the more he would want to do for his employer.
Lovelock, C., & Wirtz, J. (2011). Services Marketing: People, Technology, and Strategy (Seventh ed., p. 301). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.
Frontline employees are the bridge from the customer to the organization, or as Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) would say, boundary spanners. In the restaurant industry, frontline employees are the bridge from the front-of-the-house (FOH) to the back-of-the-house (BOH). According to Lovelock and Wirtz (2011), top service organizations that are committed to effective motivation “understand the economic payoff from investing in their people” (p. 280). Ultimately, frontline employees are crucial to the survival and operation of service organizations, yet they are at times taken for granted in the restaurant industry and not effectively motivated to deliver service excellence and productivity.
McGregor and Doshi (2018) outline several ways to motivate frontline employees, with several of these strategies being used to overhaul the operating model. First, McGregor and Doshi (2018) discuss the strategy of shifting the focus from creating pressure to perform well to learning. Unfortunately, using pressure as a means to motivate is common in the hospitality industry, particularly in restaurants. For example, I worked at a casual fine dining restaurant that required servers to have exceptional knowledge of each and every single dish, the preparation methods, sourcing, and be able to recommend at least one alcoholic beverage to pair with each dish. It was an intense job, one that I learned much from, but the stress grew to be unbearable. We would have a pre-shift meeting and Chef and at least one FOH manager would quiz each of us on the spot. If you could not answer or if you delivered the wrong answer, you would be berated and belittled, and you could also possibly get switched to a smaller, less lucrative section. Chef even sent someone home for the day once when they gave an answer that was one ingredient off. As a result, that restaurant was a toxic, high-stress environment, one that left the frontline employees walking on egg shells, constantly worried that we could be fired for making a mistake while ringing in an order on the point-of-sale (POS) system. Instead of feeling excited to learn about new dishes, different food preparations, etcetera, we felt unmotivated, scared, and angry. We were expected to deliver top-notch service with a smile, but those smiles came at a steep price and they were rarely genuine.
McGregor and Doshi (2018) also recommend “reduc[ing] the economic and emotional pressure,” something that Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) also recommend. A service organization may decide to eliminate sales commissions, or promotion criteria that is sales-based. Sephora eliminated sales commissions and I personally feel that the sales associates deliver more genuine service and that they spend more time with customers to address needs. Encouraging experimentation is my favorite recommendation to motivate frontline employees (McGregor & Doshi, 2018). This will foster creativity and let employees feel comfortable expressing themselves. Positive reinforcement is the way to go if management wants to effectively motivate employees to deliver service excellence and productivity.
Lovelock, C. & Wirtz, J. (2011). Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy (7th ed.). New York: Pearson Education.
McGregor, L. & Doshi, N. (2018, August 30). How to Motivate Frontline Employees. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/ 2018/08/how-to-motivate-frontline-employees