Your job as a manager is a tough one. You're responsible for not only making sure your travel agency functions properly but also ensuring that your agents meet their goals and deadlines, show up on time and get the proper training they need to do their jobs. However, you have to do all of this in a positive, uplifting way that keeps them happy in their positions and keeps your turnover rate low. There are a few things you can do to build a more positive environment and have your employees looking forward to coming to work.
Destroy the boss-employee barrier
As the owner or manager, you know there's a clear-cut line between you and your employees, but that doesn't mean you need to act on it every day. It does nobody any favors when you act superior. Instead, take that boss-employee barrier and break through it. You don't have to be best friends with them, but being a little more intimate with your agents helps to establish a stronger team bond. They will see you as a fellow co-worker and team leader rather than the enemy, even though you never really were. They'll be more willing to come to you when issues arise and seek out advice if you welcome them.
Fostering these relationships is simple. Celebrate their birthdays or work anniversaries, treat the team to lunch once in a while after meeting an important goal or deadline. If you can't go out, order-in from a business lunch catering menu and best of all, it's a write-off.
Another important thing to do is watch how you communicate with your employees. Yes, you have to let them know who is in charge but there are different communication styles that can help prevent misunderstandings and resentment.
Reward them for a job well done
It goes without saying that employees like knowing they are appreciated. Unfortunately, not too many feel that way and that's because their superiors don't take the time to recognize good work when it's done. This doesn't mean you have to praise them every day, but it should be a point after completing a grueling project or exceeding a spectacular sales goal. Recognition goes a long way in boosting an employee's morale, and in turn, keeps them happy so they don't go searching for another job where they will be appreciated.
Rewards can be monetary such as a quarterly or yearly bonus, or they can be promotional such as a boost in position or recognition in a company-wide newsletter or email where other employees can pass on their congratulations as well. Since you're running a travel agency, put together an expenses-paid trip, to award those who go above and beyond, particularly if they set a new sales record. There are plenty of travel destinations and you have access to all of the deals right upfront. See if there's a cost-effective package that you could make work for your company.
While there's no getting around the fact that some work tends to be mundane, repeating the same tasks day in and day out, you can still challenge your employees. Maybe hold a contest for whoever completes the most data entry tickets in a week, or challenge your salespeople to exceed last month's goal with the idea of a lofty bonus at the end of it.
Have fun with the challenges and create a contest where members of your team put together a travel package for other companies to reward employees, whether they aim these packages at a corporation in a booming city or a smaller company that does heating repair in San Diego, for example.
Presenting challenges prevents employees from becoming complacent, keeping them motivated and focused on the task at hand. However, if you notice that the work is too simple and they're completing it ahead of schedule every time, a promotion or position change might just be what they need. Consider their overall performance on the job and see if there's a way you can challenge them further.
Make them feel like they're part of the team
One thing every employee wants is to feel as though they're part of the team. They want to be involved in the important tasks and decisions related to their positions. While the decision-making is naturally the job of the owner and management team, you can still include workers by giving them the opportunity to vote or give their input on matters that affect them overall. Keep a suggestion box, where employees can write in their ideas on how to improve the workplace whether it's regarding the environment or improving efficiency in tasks. If you implement the suggestion, maybe include a small reward such as a gift card to Amazon or a local restaurant favorite.