Expert advice on the business of running a garment decoration company


I want to motivate my staff but I’m not sure where to begin: how do I workout what deserves rewarding, and what type of rewards should I be offering?

When it comes to motivating staff, a system of incentives and rewards will help create a productive, motivated workforce that works together to achieve clearly defined goals. In my own firm, I’ve found that setting key performance indicators (KPIs) is an effective way to monitor our performance and make sure that we’re consistently hitting our targets. Having a set KPI to achieve will give your employees a clearer understanding of what they’re working towards, and will encourage them to feel personally responsible for their own goals. Here, I share my tips for implementing a KPI scheme in your business.

1 How do I set KPIs? A KPI should be something measurable, so try to set a quantifiable figure. It will help to set goals for both individual employees, as well as departments. At Custom Planet, we generally split each employee’s role into sections, and then try to set a figure for each aspect of their job. For instance, if they’re working production, how much of each item are they producing? How much waste is created? We then track these figures until a pattern starts to develop, and we can then target specific areas where improvement is required.

2 What sort of bonuses should I offer? A bonus will act as an incentive, so find rewards your staff will want to work hard for. If one department is consistently hitting their goals and exceeding their KPI, then reward them with a group activity of their choice, like bowling or a trip to the pub. We also have a bonus structure across the company that rewards everyone with a Christmas bonus if we meet our yearly KPIs.

When rewarding individuals, you’ll want to find out what each employee values, as it’s not necessarily a financial reward. Ask your employees what they want from a bonus: you might discover that many would prefer more holiday allowance instead of extra pay. Others might just want a bit of recognition and a few staff drinks at the end of the week.

3 How should I speak to my employees about their goals? Meet for an appraisal every three to six months, at both departmental and individual level. One-to-one meetings and performance reviews can feel intimidating, so remember to keep the language focused on achieving goals and rewarding achievement. A oneon- one chat with your employees should be a two-way street, so listen to their suggestions. If the source of inefficiency is a process originally put in place by management, employee feedback can be the best way to root out out-dated or constraining policies.

4 What happens when staff meet their KPIs? Meeting your KPIs is a time to celebrate! While bonuses like extra pay, time off or staff nights out all make excellent rewards, don’t forget to recognise your employees’ hard work in person with some vocal encouragement. When someone improves the way that they or their department works, make sure to praise them in person, and to use their success an example of how to improve in other departments.

Once you’ve rewarded their achievement, it’s time to re-appraise and set a new goal. You’ll need to work on your targets and keep refining them. Celebrate meeting your target, reward your staff and then set a new KPI and get back to work — that’s how you grow as a business and stay ahead of competitors.

Andrew Dark is managing director and co-founder of Custom Planet, a printwear and branding specialist that produces custom-made clothing and promotional products for businesses, groups and individuals.