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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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Kickstart Staff Motivation…With Your Wallet

I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there. The career you’re in has turned into a mundane task. Going to the office in the morning is a fact of life, not a drudgery or a pleasure. It simply IS.

Losing your enthusiasm is bound to happen at one time or another, otherwise you’re not human. The fact is, outside influences affect the way you perform at work. A fight with your partner the night before, a concern over paying off your recent trip to Bali, a bad report card from one of your children, an interest rate hike that makes your mortgage renewal all the more difficult – you’re thinking about it when you get to the dealership in the morning.

And sometimes, these dour moods continue for a while. When they do, and your enthusiasm wanes for your work position, it’s tough to kick.

You identify with this in one way or another, I’ll almost guarantee. And if it’s affected you, it’s affected the others around you and the people who work on your team. They have their own issues, and they empathize with yours. And while people in the workplace can be a great source of comfort, those issues can have a detrimental effect on business if you can’t leave them at home.

What Do You Do When Someone Is In a Funk?

So, it’s been some time, and someone on your team is struggling to meet their goals. How can you help? When that team member is in a bad state, you have a few choices: let it go on, give them time off to deal with their situation, or help pull them out if it professionally.

Naturally, if the situation requires it, they need some time and space away from work to get it handled. In many cases, though, you can kickstart their work demeanor by focusing on another goal. Throw some money at them.

Financial Motivators Have Healing Ability

When that funk interrupts daily function at work, you can help your team member push past it professionally. And at the same time, you can change the environment around them to add a welcome distraction, as well as put a little extra coin in some pockets.

Create a challenge for your team – the whole team, not just the individual - and attach a reward to it. To eliminate the possibility of a negative outcome, make sure it’s a winning proposition. Set a goal that’s achievable, has a clear end result, and a target date that’s within sight.

Here’s what this does:

  • It takes the focus off of woes and onto another important aspect – income.
  • It creates an air of competition, which can break through the funk.
  • The short-term focus allows for a positive outcome during a challenging time.

Keep It Secret

Your team shouldn’t know that the challenge is occurring because of any one particular thing. You could say it’s to drum up business in a slow season or your District Manager has put money on the table for a specific goal (let them know you said this). Whatever you do, don’t let your team know it’s because of a co-worker’s struggle.

You may want to do a week of daily challenges, all with a dollar figure attached. If you have the option, pay it out in cash daily or at the end of the week for an immediate gratification.

The ideas for motivating someone out of a funk are endless. Here are just a couple off the top:

  • Offer service advisors an incentive for every fluid maintenance package sold for a week.
  • If it’s the cashier’s office, give a small bonus for every points program enrolment or email address obtained.
  • For technicians, offer cash for a specific service (one that’s slacking), or change it up over the course of a week.


At the end of your challenge period, evaluate the situation. You’ll have paid out some money, yes. But is your team member more involved or more engaged? Has business increased thanks to the incentive you’ve offered? Will it continue after the challenge is done? A small perk like this at a down time can kickstart a bit of motivation in the whole team.

At least, that’s been my personal experience…

Scott Larrabee

We all love having money and challenges thrown our way, it can be a great motivator! I went thru a "funk" a few years back and almost left the car business. What turned it around for me was a complete transformation physically, mentally, and spiritually. What I had realized was I was living way below my potential, and when I started to set bigger and more exciting goals for my life things changed for me.

 My GM was awesome, I had struggled for a few months and was just going through the motions at work. We are on a draw system here and let's just say I owed. The biggest thing he did for me was show me that he believed in me and my abilities. I called him up and said "hey look, give me this month to show you exactly what I can do and why you hired me in the first place." His belief in me in that moment changed everything for in car sales. Since then I have sold more cars and made more money every year than ever before. Amazing what believing in your people and supporting them with a little human compassion can do to fuel their success and help them realize their true potential!!

Kristen Tepper

We have a client who does a "thank you" session every saturday morning where they load their top employees reward card with funds for X, Y, Z reason. Our platform then sends out an email to the whole team to let them know as a kind of initiative that rewards truly do happen when you work hard and it shows the reason they received the reward.

Anything from exceeding in sales goals to getting app downloads, to staying late one day to helping a teammate with something they were struggling with.

It's a great way to show that their efforts don't go unnoticed. it also doesn't need to be HUGE pocket busting amounts, $10-$25 is a perfect motivator for an average employee for recognition. Best of all, the reward cards are reloadable so the employee has instant gratification. Then they are using their custom dealership branded card around town to drive up some brand awareness. 

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