Got a business-related question for Mister Sparky? Send it to askmistersparky@primediabusiness.com. Mister Sparky (AKA Patrick Kennedy) is the owner of Mister Sparky, Inc. in Atlanta and the president of Electricians' Success International in St. Louis.





How do you motivate your electricians other than with hourly pay?

Everyone has different ways of motivating their team, and that's because everyone has a different way of being motivated.

With that in mind, I would suggest that the first thing you should do is determine what motivates the members of your team. Some people are motivated by money. For those individuals, the potential for a raise or a bonus will get them going. Some people will be motivated by the opportunity to receive extra time off. For those people, you may be able to offer them an extra vacation day for hitting their goals. Others may be motivated by recognition, so a special award or promotion may be what pushes them to excel.

The exciting thing about people is that everyone has different motivators, so there's no end to the ways that you can motivate your team. But here are a few suggestions.

The first thing to do is institute a scoreboard. This can simply be a huge board with columns for each day of the week and rows for each member of your team. Put it in a prominent place in your company and have your technicians write their daily sales goals and their actual results in the corresponding squares. The effect this board will have on your team will be tremendous because it will create a healthy sense of competition among your technicians. No one wants to be in last place on the scoreboard at the end of the week, so your electricians will be motivated to bring in higher revenues than the others each day.

It will also have an effect on an individual level. When each member of your team comes in at the end of the day, have them write their totals on the board. If they meet their goal, write the amount in black. If they surpass their goal, write the amount in blue. If they fail to meet their goal, write their amount in red. You'll quickly see the effect of this exercise. Your guys won't want to return to the office at the end of the day and have to write their total in red. They want the blue, and they'll end up pushing themselves throughout the day to surpass their goals.

Reinforce the scoreboard with some type of incentive for meeting and exceeding their goals. Some owners will simply award a dollar amount to those individuals who beat their goal for the week. Others will make a game out of it; whoever beats their goals for the week gets a playing card and whoever has the best hand at the end of the month wins a prize. Whatever incentive you want to use with the scoreboard is up to you.

I also think it's a great idea to get your team involved in some type of profit-sharing program. That way they're tied to and committed to the profitability of the company. In our company, we call it the “Bonus Bucket” program. Basically, if we exceed our goals, a percentage of the profit above our goals goes into a “bucket.” Whatever amount is in the bucket at the end of the year gets divided among everyone on the team. It can quickly become a substantial bonus.

With a system like this, your employees know that if they help the company become more profitable, they'll benefit, too. That gets everyone in the office — not just the electricians — excited about how you're doing each day and how you can increase your profitability.

But the easiest way to motivate your team is to give an Employee of the Month award. In our company we call it the “Bright Spark of the Month” award, but you can come up with whatever name you want. You can give the winner a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or tickets to a sporting event. The options are unlimited, and it's a great way to recognize the efforts of your team's superstars.

Most of all, motivating your team gives you a tremendous opportunity to get creative. Organize a contest, plan a company trip or party, but most of all, have fun!