by Beth Standlee, TrainerTainment founder and CEO
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April 2014

Beth StandleeParty Professor

Do You Know What Your Employees Want?



In Zig Ziglar’s book Born to Win he makes the great observation that “desire is the mother of motivation.” Every new employee, every existing employee, every manager or supervisor wants something out of their job.

It is your job as the owner or manager to figure out what that something is. I find it difficult at times to spend enough time with my own team. I’m most successful when I book that time. I know it may seem impossible to find any “extra” in your day to spend time with your employees. However, if you are to know what they want, you have to talk with them.

I can hear the groans now. As the owner, manager or supervisor you want the front line to do their job. That’s your desire. However, I’d bet big money that you get very motivated when a team member takes that extra step and comes to you with a great idea or solves a guest issue without having to come to you. They can only do that if you have encouraged them to take that kind of initiative.

Taking five minutes a shift to listen and learn more about your employees can make a difference in their loyalty. Maybe they stay longer. Remem­ber, it costs you a lot to hire, train and fire or lose an employee. When you find out what a team member desires you can get to the heart of what motivates them. I’ve often said that you can’t motivate others; they have to be self-motivated. While I stick by that statement, I do believe you can inspire someone to tap into their desires in order to ignite that drive that makes them want more.

Here’s an example. If you find out that a front line employee really desires some new hot car then you know their motivation for working in your center. Learn about that car. Ask how they decided that’s the car they need. Listen to the plan for acquisition. Check up on the progress. Keep that desire on fire and you’ll have an eager employee who will gladly come in if it means extra hours.

I have a team member who “works to live” and not the other way around. I could barely comprehend what he meant because I’m a workaholic who “lives to work.” I’m not proud of that, and I didn’t even know that’s what was going on until recently. But what I have learned is that today I’m interested in the things that this young man does in his life. His desire and his motivation to work and do great things with our company are rooted in having the money he needs to do great things in his life. That’s important for me to understand and to communicate to and with him.

You may be wondering why the Party Professor is rambling on about motivation this month. The reason is that you can’t be having much of a party if your people aren’t motivated to bring the energy and excitement to your program. I’m asked at least once a week, ‘How do I motivate or even find the right people to run my party program?’

Oftentimes we see centers hire young people who may be great customers. They are nice kids who enjoy bowling or skating for example. Look at their motivation for working in the center. They love the activity. They think that if they work at your facility they will get to skate or bowl more. The reality is they come to work not play at your center. Those two concepts are very different. Most job applicants will answer the question of, “Why do you want to work here” with this standard answer, “It looks like a fun place to work.” That speaks to their motivation. They value fun. The reality of the job can be very different.

So what do you do with the team member who comes to work because it looked like a fun place to work or they really love bowling. You make sure that they get to bowl three free games a day (not when they are on shift). You create a way for Ms. Fun to earn passes to the park on her day off.

I challenge you this month to spend time with each of your employees. Find out why they work at your center. Learn about what they desire. What are they interested in outside of the job? When you get this, you’ll get to the very heart of what motivates them and then you can know how to inspire them to do great things for themselves and for your business.

Beth Standlee is the CSO and founder of Trainertainment, a sales training company dedicated to great guest service, party development, and ultimately bringing more money to your bottom line. Beth can be reached by email at

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