I interviewed a body shop manager a few years ago who told me that he motivated his people through fear.
Everyone who worked there was scared of the guy and as a result, productivity was high, but most of his crew eventually left after 1--2 years. I asked him why he managed his people this way, and he said that he tried be a mentor and a friend to his employees for a long time, but most of them took advantage of the situation and his business suffered. He realized that when people fear for their jobs, they will work harder with better results. He admitted it created a lousy environment, but at least he was getting his money's worth out of everyone, he reasoned.
Dr. Nancy Friedman works with huge automotive corporations to help them with their morale, and often focuses on incentive programs that are designed to motivate and retain top employees. She has seen every form of employee management out there, so she knows what works and what does not.
"Motivating through fear is normally from the old, old school and it seldom works," she said. “It also creates a very unpleasant atmosphere and turnover. There are much better ways to get folks to do what you need done."
With a shortage of qualified people in this industry, managers can't act like Attila the Hun anymore. A good tech or estimator is worth its weight in gold, so keeping your best people is more important than ever. Rewarding your employees for their outstanding performance is one way to keep your crew happy and engaged, but many managers think it will cost too much or require too much time. But in reality, you can reward your employees for their good work without it costing you an arm and a leg.
So, here are some ways to motivate your employees that will cost you very little while creating a positive and productive working environment. Based on experience, happy employees don't send out resumes and are less likely to get poached by your competitors.