AB Reader Perspective: What tactics do you use to motivate employees?

This article appeared in the May issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.



Greg SchmidtGreg Schmidt

Greg Schmidt
Aquatic center manager
Eastern Washington University Sports and Recreation

"I award gold stars for extraordinary efforts or insights. For 12 consecutive trainings without an absence, they are awarded a green star; for making a rescue, a red star. I also award a blue star for a funny or absent-minded incident. Each employee has a paper star with his/her name on it, to which they attach the stars that they have earned. At our annual ice cream social in June I award a donated prize to the person with the most 'star points.' "

Nathan QuebedeauxNathan Quebedeaux

Nathan Quebedeaux
Assistant AD for sports medicine
Southeastern Louisiana University

"We have an Idea Wall where staff members use input on here as motivation to push for innovation. Any idea that gets passed by administration is used as positive performance evaluation upon review for either prizes at staff meetings or earnings for professional development."


Tim AganTim Agan

Tim Agan
Health, wellness and personal trainer instructor
Intellitec College, Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I create a positive environment and fun challenges. For example, when I would ask questions some of my trainers had a habit of answering with 'I don't know.' So I created a weekly challenge — I kept track of how many times 'I don't know' was said. Whoever had the most 'I don't know' responses had to buy coffee for the team. The positive that came of this was when questions were asked to the trainers and they did not know the answer, their response became, 'I will find the answer and get back to you.' "

Karyn PowerKaryn Power

Karyn Power
Recreation superintendent
Wausau & Marathon (Wis.) County Parks

"We have three outdoor water parks with seasonal staff. Because they work in swim suits and casual uniforms all day, they host 'Pretty Parties' where staff dress up and catch a late dinner once a month after closing."



Ken Hack
Fitness center director
502nd FSS JBSA METC Fitness Center, Fort Sam Houston

"A small yard sale dot is hidden every month in the facility. The dot is placed in a location that the staff should find it. The staff member who finds it receives a paid half-day off and management must work the half-day slot. We use the dot program as a training tool — in staff meetings we bring up the amount of time it took the staff to find the dot and the reasons why it wasn't found sooner and what we can do to ensure we find the dot faster."

Sheryl Bindelglass
SherylGolf, Martinsville, N.J.

"Everyone needs a little R&R: Rewards and Recognition. Several of the most popular programs we have used include scratch and win cards given to the team when we catch them in the act of doing a great job. After redeemed, the cards are posted for the team to see all the great things their co-workers are doing during an average day. The number one tip to this program being a great success is that managers/co-workers and guest can award the scratch and win card."

Ray Knecht
The Bay Club Company, Cupertino, Calif.

"We give a Shining Star of the Month Award to a line employee who exhibits 5-Star Service toward our members and guests and goes above and beyond their job description. The department managers with the GM will present a Shining Star Award Certificate, Shining Star Pin and $75 AM EX gift card while they are working in front of their peers. Department managers and GM take a group picture with the employee and post it in the employee break room."

Tim Yount
USA Triathlon/Sports Governing Body

"We actually cover entry fees for triathlons they do that are sanctioned with us. The crossover between athletic fitness and productivity is much greater that most might think. We also do a 401k match program for everyone which increases demand for our positions. Thirdly, we offer a great comp-time program whereby every weekend day that you work, you get comp time to use during the year."

Brody Busho
South Dakota State University

"Working in athletics, you really become a family. In the summer we grill over the lunch hour, we'll have routine employee games on our fields and courts, and we'll go to other sporting events together to discuss ideas and network. I'm lucky in the fact that our staff is fully invested in our University and playing on our surfaces gives them a chance to enjoy the hard work they put in to maintaining those exclusive areas." 

Share your thoughts with AB by answering our current Perspective question: What sports venue would you like to see renamed?

This article appeared in the May issue of Athletic Business with the title "Rewarding and motivating team members: What are your tactics?"


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