I Left Post-It Notes of Praise On Each of My Employees’ Computers. Here’s What Happened Next.


When I managed a small call center in Tulsa, I was always looking for creative ways to motivate my employees. One evening I was working late and I picked up Bob Nelson’s 1001 Ways to Reward Employees book from my bookshelf. One of the tips in the book was called Post-It Note Therapy. The concept was simple. Write a note of praise on a Post-It Note for each of your employees and stick the note on their computer monitors.

So, I did it. I sat down and wrote out praise for each of my employees and I left the notes on their monitors. Then I went home.

The next morning I had an out of office meeting and I didn’t make it into the call center until early in the afternoon. The second I stepped into the call center, I felt an energetic vibe that startled me. There was movement, smiles and warmth and mostly an amazing energy. What was the deal?

After taking in the scene for a few seconds, I went to my office. I opened my door to find my computer monitor covered with Post-it Notes! Every one of my employees had written me a note of praise! I nearly cried as I read the heartfelt praise. I had forgotten about my Post-it Note Therapy from the night before. I went out into the call center and saw Post-It Notes everywhere! My employees really got into this therapy. They praised each other and even praised people in neighboring departments.

If you’re looking for a genuine, yet super easy, way to praise your employees while upping the energy in your work team, consider Bob Nelson’s Post-In Note Therapy. The investment of time is small and the rewards are potentially huge.


How to Motivate Customer Service Professionals (Live webinar)

April 27, 2017 – 1pm ET – 2:00pm ET

Get the webinar details here. 

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Motivate Your Employees Like Fans Motivate Their Sports Teams

woman working at a computer

Managers can learn much about praise from the sports industry. Critical to the success of any sports or corporate team is praise. Here’s how coaches and fans motivate athletes and (and what you can learn from them!):

Cheer your team. Perhaps professional athletes would play simply for the money, but can you imagine a basketball game with no fans and no roaring cheers? It wouldn’t be the same without the fans. The cheering of fans energizes athletes. Fans cheer to motivate, encourage and show support for their teams.  Athletes, like your employees, are motivated by both money and praise. Never assume money alone is going to motivate and keep employees.

Praise progress, not just results. Football fans don’t wait until a touchdown to cheer. They cheer when their team moves the ball to first down and when the opposing team is stopped on third down. Many managers withhold praise until the goal is accomplished and some only give praise during an annual performance review.

Point out the positive, even when your team misses the mark. In an interview after a loss, coaches always state what their team did well, highlighting the effort and talent of their players. Coaches summarize things the team could have done better and quickly point out the strengths of the other team and they do this without slamming their team.

Here’s a creative idea you might want to try. One day I got my entire team involved in praise. I sent an email to the group and asked each employee to take a few moments to leave a note for a fellow employee stating why they appreciated them. The next morning I had 12 notes from employees thanking me!  The notes kept coming throughout the day and every employee took the time to thank every one of their co-workers. The department buzzed with energy the entire day.

Everyday you should look for opportunities to praise your team. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.


The Psychology of Employee Motivation

How to Establish Rapport with Callers in 6 Seconds Flat


Female customer service representative using headset and laughing

I just got off the phone with a call center agent who is in fear of losing her job because her supervisor says her tone, attitude and approach with customers is unacceptable. she has exactly 90 days to improve — or she will be fired.

She said she found my blog when she googled how to improve your customer service skills. I wished I could be there sitting across from this young woman, who I imagine is in her early 20s, and coach her. But she’s in Los Angeles and I have a plane to catch this afternoon, heading to the east coast.

I did coach this young customer service representative, over the phone, on how to soften her approach by making sure she doesn’t over-talk customers, by using what I call a “lead-in” and by listening with the intent to understand.

We talked for nearly an hour and then I gave her a complimentary enrollment in my online learning suite. She touched me with her proactive spirit and now I am determined to help her.

After coaching this young lady, I thought it might be helpful to share with you 4 of the tips I shared with her today. Maybe these tips can help your own employees deliver a better customer experience over the telephone.
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Who Says There’s No Free Lunch?

Two years ago I walked into my client’s office for the first time for an exploratory meeting. The aroma of deli sandwiches and fresh salads was in the air. I spotted a buffet table surrounded by a few dozen employees. When I sat down in the Human Resource Director’s office I asked what special event accounted for the luncheon. She explained that there was no special event, “We provide lunch for our employees every day.”

“Lunch is provided every day?” I asked. “Yes. Every day we provide free lunch to every employee.” I was blown away. I actually have conducted full-day seminars for companies that didn’t so much as provide pastries for breakfast, let along lunch. And this company is giving every employee free lunch every day!

That’s Like Putting an Extra $1,200 in Your Pocket Every Year.

I wondered if the employees fully realized the perk they were getting. When I eat out for lunch, I spend an average of $5. That’s $25 a week. $100 a month. $1,200 a year. When I eat out I drive, which means I’m also spending money on gas. This company is giving employees a minimum of $1,200 in food a year…a $1,200 net savings to each employee.

What company is providing this amazing benefit, you ask? Video Gaming Technologies. Check ‘em out here. Take a look at my full cool client list here.

Motivating Agents and Increasing Call Center Productivity

Using Incentives in the Contact Center: 5 Tips for Success

Employee incentives run the gamut from ball point pens to retirement funds. They include bonuses, benefits, perks, and anything else aimed at motivating agents to take a job at your contact center and to stay there. The idea behind these incentives is to keep agents on a track of continuous improvement and to reward them for succeeding.

So often we think that the only perks people want are more pay and then some bonus money on top of that. But that’s not necessarily true. Many contact center employees are motivated to attain additional skills and knowledge so they can look forward to the prospect of promotion or job enhancement.

We’ve seen many studies that aim to discover which incentives are most important to agents—and all have different results! Here, without ranking, are the most frequently cited incentives:

  1. Opportunities for promotion
  2. Additional training and education
  3. Recognition for hard work
  4. Better pay
  5. Better work environment and working conditions
  6. Job security
  7. Bonus/commission
  8. Employer contribution to retirement plan

Following are five tips to keep in mind when you’re creating a new incentive program or overhauling an existing one.

#1 Make sure the goals are achievable. Many incentive programs revolve around some goal associated with productivity or quality. In order for a program to be a success, it’s essential for the goal to be within reach of the agents. Set the bar high but not impossibly high. Remember, you want people to win. If the goals are set too high, people will lose heart and stop trying. What’s worse, they’ll feel like failures when in fact they may have made great progress from where they started.

#2 Let agents choose their own incentives. The simplest way to make sure your agents will like the perks and rewards given to them is to ask them beforehand what they want. You can include a question on an employee satisfaction survey or find some other way to get agents to identify what rewards would be most meaningful to them. Chances are you’ll get a variety of responses. Keep track of who wants what, and, when it’s time, reward them accordingly.

#3 Make it enjoyable. To really get agents rallied around a goal, you have to do more than just give them a goal and then say, “OK, go out and reach it.” It’s equally important for the process of reaching the goal to be fulfilling for agents. This doesn’t necessarily mean that at every moment the environment has to be jovial, but agents should at least feel that they’re enjoying the challenge.

One way to accomplish this is to celebrate small successes along the way. Another is to continually remind agents of the progress they’re making, the learning they’re accomplishing, the professional or personal growth they’re achieving, and so on.

#4 Use incentives at crucial times. Incentives can be used any time but there are certain situations in which an incentive program is especially timely in the center. Following are a few examples:

  • At the end of training, offer incentives to agents to start using their newly acquired skills.
  • When a major change occurs, use an incentive program to encourage agents to embrace the change and to make a smooth transition.
  • When morale is low, try an incentive program to inject some renewed energy and enthusiasm into the team.
  • At the launch of a new product or project, incentives can help rally the team.

#5 Avoid overkill. Can you do too much? Yes, overkill is possible. Don’t feel that you have to have an incentive program running at every hour of every day. You’ll be exhausted and your agents will be too. People can’t work at their peak at all times.

For more information about improving morale and productivity in your organization, give Impact Learning Systems a call at 800-545-9003 or visit us on the Web at http://www.impactlearning.com.