8 quick tips: team inspiration

Does every member of your team feel inspired by their potential? Even if their day has been busy, are they still motivated by their chance to improve their qualifications and take the next step in their career?

Working in optics, the career path is right there for everyone – from the receptionist who might want to take her first level two qualification, to the DO who is considering management, the Contact Lens course, or perhaps a Masters. Sometimes it can be hard to see the next step, but investing in your existing staff is a great investment, so here are some ideas to help you motivate your team.

  1. Get the new ABDO College and WCSM prospectuses and leave them in the staff room or coffee area. Check out the student profiles in ReView too, and you’ll find out more about the many different routes into optics.
  2. Dedicate one staff training session to discussing the training options available to your junior staff. You could focus on personal goals in the short, medium and long term, and see what type of training fits in. With a wider variety of courses and modes of study available than ever before, it is easy to find the next step for each individual, whether they want to dip a toe in the water and study for a single Level 2 qualification, feel ready to aim for Level 4, or want to commit to training to become a dispensing optician or CLO.
  3. Review your training plans and budget. What does the practice need, and how can you train up current staff to meet those needs?
  4. Make sure that when new staff join your paperwork is in order. Check what the contract offers in the way of training, and make sure you are explicit about what you expect from staff in return. It is reasonable to ask staff to stay on for a certain term after completing their training if you have sponsored them through it, but this needs to be clear from the start. Include a career profession leaflet or information sheet as appropriate in staff induction packs.
  5. Have one-to-ones with staff where you find out their ambitions and outline some options. Discover what motivates your staff: some may be driven by learning, others by the response from customers, while others may quite reasonably be motivated by money. Financial incentives aren’t just about cash: find out if a member of staff is saving up for a car, their first home or to get married, all of which are strong drivers and can provide the motivation to earn.
  6. Ask team members to run training sessions for the others covering something they have learnt recently during their studies. Use feedback forms after the session so that this is a learning experience for the trainer too, and make sure each form asks staff to feedback on ‘What I thought was great about this session’, ‘What I learnt’, and ‘How I will put this into practice’, as well as any criticisms.
  7. Help staff learn about the wider opportunities in optics. This might mean taking the whole team to a national optical exhibition, or arranging a visit to a laboratory or manufacturer. Trainee DOs may feel encouraged if you offer to take them to a CET meeting, or introduce them to people on the LOC. Understanding the bigger picture can help people stay motivated and see how their involvement in the world of optics can continue to grow even after qualification.
  8. Celebrate success. If someone passes their exams, make sure that the whole team celebrates. Whether you simply buy cake for the morning coffee break or take everyone out for a meal, pick a reward to match the size of the success.

Having read these tips, what action do you need to take next? It may be that you are inspired to review your own career progression too, all of which will help you inspire and motivate your team.