Motivating My Decorators....ideas Please

Decorating By lunawhisper0013 Updated 12 Aug 2013 , 3:21am by Stitches

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lunawhisper0013 Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 9:25pm
post #1 of 18

AI manage a grocery store bakery and my decorators don't seem very motivated to learn new things or improve their skills. They have this "it's just a job" mentality, which makes me sad because of the passion that I have for cake decorating. I had the idea to do a competion type thing where every couple weeks, I have the decorators do a cake based on a certain idea or theme and each cake is individually scored. I wanted to avoid having them actually compete against each other because I don't want to cause resentment among the crew. I was thinking that a certain score would get them a certificate, and x number of certificates would get them a title (icing apprentice, cake artist, etc.) And each title would have a monetary award (not too much because it will be coming out of my own pocket) I am hoping that by doing this, it will inspire them to have more pride in their work and to try things they may never have tried before. What do you think? Does anyone have any suggestions or other ideas? I want to try to encourage them in a positive way. Any input would be helpful. Thanks!

17 replies
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bikemom3 Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 9:33pm
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AYou might give an embroidered or stenciled apron along with certificate that they can wear as a visible sign of their achievement

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lunawhisper0013 Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 9:36pm
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A[quote name="bikemom3" url="/t/762189/motivating-my-decorators-ideas-please#post_7428404"]You might give an embroidered or stenciled apron along with certificate that they can wear as a visible sign of their achievement

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bikemom3 Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 9:49pm
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AYou can get aprons in expensively at the craft stores or you can use a new one you have at the store. You might also (if your able to) tie the award to an extra long lunch or break. The More new skills learned could also help on performance appraisals. If you have any type of monthly staff meetings it's nice to make a presentation. Gift cards are nice too, nothing extravagant $5 for Starbucks or Sonic. I know how hard it is to keep people who don't make a lot of $$ motivated...I used to be a preschool director and had 27 people to keep motivated out of my pocket too

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as you wish Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 10:25pm
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AI think a lot of motivation can be achieved with simple positive words. I know it doesn't sound like much, but just telling someone something as simple as "The colours you chose for that cake look great together!" or "I overheard a customer saying how much they like your buttercream roses." can really make a person enjoy what they are doing and want to do it even better.

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kikiandkyle Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 10:38pm
post #6 of 18

AOr hire people like me who love cake but can't seem to find a vacant position anywhere!

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Stitches Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 10:49pm
post #7 of 18

What about first pick of your scheduled hours or you can have a prime day off you don't usually get off (like Saturday).


Or an extra half hour for lunch once a week (even if it means you personally go in for that half hour on your day off to work that 1/2 hour)


The next time they ask/request for a day off, they get it no matter what day of the week it falls on.


Or they get to pick which holiday they get off instead having to work it.


Sometimes being the winner makes you the biggest suck-up or make sure it's something they want.


It might be that the biggest looser has the same schedule as the boss or person they don't like to work one wants that.


It depends upon your people........I'm not going to wear an apron ever! Not my thing, etc...

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bubs1stbirthday Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 12:10am
post #8 of 18

Sounds like you may be hiring the wrong people. People who are highly driven, who take pride in themselves and their work will achieve the things you are looking for, even if they are not being paid highly - their pride will not let them do otherwise.


If it is that they just don't have the skills required to do a great job then it is up to you to allow them the opportunity to get these skills ie, training days etc. Also if you have a mainly good crew with one or two 'lazy' ones in the bunch this will run through the rest of your staff.


A thankyou and a small reward will certainly go a long way but at the end of the day the desire to do well needs to come from within.

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mcaulir Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 12:37am
post #9 of 18

I think scoring people's cakes is more likely to de-motivate people, especially the lowest scoring. And if you think they won't compare scores with each other, I think you're kidding yourself. And then the ones who score highest might be likely to do a wrose job, because they don't want to stand out from the rest. It really depends whether the reward is more valuable than fitting in with their work mates.


Kids love star charts - adults tend to feel like they're being treated like children. Plus, as people have already said above, some won't want to wear an apron, some don't drink coffee, or never get to Starbucks. Certificates are just more paper that I have to deal with. I'm already drowning under bits of paper at home.


I think quiet encouragement of individuals is a better way to motivate. Mention to each what they already do well. Praise their efforts for a while  - a week or two? Tell them something about themselves that makes your job easier - could be that they're always on time, or they're fast with some technique, or that they're consistent with something, or that they do particularly neat writing, or can smooth icing especially well.


You don't have to go overboard. You're just trying to establish that the worker is a valuable member of your team. Making them feel like they're helpng you personally by doing things well. I get that finding something might be more difficult for some workers, but find something. If there's nothing they do well, maybe your store has a performance counselling procedure.


Then continue with the praising, and start saying, 'Hey, can I show you how to do X? I love how smooth your icing is - if you just do X,Y and Z, your piping would make the whole thing look better.' And then praise any improvements you see in that worker in that area. Pass on any praise customers give. Praise your workers to your customers within hearing of the worker. "This cake was done by Mary Sue - she's our roses expert - she did a great job on your cake!"


The idea is that people like to know that what they do is valued by someone. That they're helping somehow. Obviously they know that the cakes go to people for their birthdays. But if they're picked up in a box by someone looking for the cheapest cake they can find within 20 miles of their house who doesn't even look at it, the motivation of seeing a customer thrilled with the unique and beautiful cake that custom designers get is lost. So they need to know that you, as their boss, is appreciating what they do.


Long term, that kind of thing works better than a $5 coffee voucher.

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CakePrincessPE Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 7:48am
post #10 of 18

I would like to expand on what mcaulir said:

"The idea is that people like to know that what they do is valued by someone. That they're helping somehow."


I agree with the above sentiment. As decorators and cake bakers there is nothing more pleasing that seeing the reaction of the customer. If you were to incorporate the decorator in presenting the cake to the customer and even take a picture of them with it to place inside the store, they may get a feeling of being more involved. Combined with the fact that they may be reluctant to present a cake that is 'under par' to a client, so it may make them take more interest in what they are making. Also, try a 'decorator of the month' that must be judged by secret ballot by both staff and customers - you can use the pics to do this.


Hope this helps...

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CakeChemistry Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 11:54am
post #11 of 18

AWhat excites you? I like getting new stuff to play with, new tools and gadgets and this in turn challenges me and motivates me and increases my skills. I am also motivated by the feedback I get from everyone on here, peer review to me is often as important if not more important can customer satisfaction as you all know how time consuming and skilled what we do is. Make a display for your shop involving all your staff, have a theme, set aside a bit of time for each staff member to contribute, take a decorators picture for the wall of your bakery, tag 'decorated lovingly by ............' on the cakes you sell, anonymity breeds indifference. Also, if your staff are bored, it's probably because they are bored making a limited variety of styles. Involve them in the creative process to increase creativity and the types of stuff you offer x x x ps I've never run a bakery but I have managed a therapy team!

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remnant3333 Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 2:07pm
post #12 of 18

Have a meeting with all of them and maybe offer to work with one person at a specified time per week when time permits on how to decorate different techniques to improve their skills Let them practice as you give them your personal expertise one on one helping their skill to improve in making different types of butter cream flowers, which tips to use, how to make the petals and hold the tips, different designs and border on cakes, etc.  Many people want to learn how to do different techniques but they have never been shown how to expand their knowledge. Many only know the basics.  I think they would be receptive to each one of them having a set amount of time each week with you teaching them what you know. If they really want to learn more offer your time after store closes one on one for some extra lessons to learn because practice will help them tremendously with new techniques.


Also, praising them and letting them know how much you appreciate them is good too!!! 

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Norasmom Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 5:53pm
post #13 of 18

AScratch off lottery tickets make great prizes...and they are sold at grocery stores. You can award everyone a scratch ticket, but the best cake would get the highest denomination or amount of tickets! I realize this promotes gambling a bit, but its a cool prize!

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SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 6:11pm
post #14 of 18

AA boss of mine when I worked retail a long time ago tried the lottery ticket incentive. It didn't last very long for two reasons. We had an employee that was morally/religiously against gambling of any kind, so she refused to accept the tickets and the boss had to find an equivalent prize for her. Also, many times the tickets were non-winners, but when one was a winner, the people from the past weeks that didn't win got upset. In the end, the boss just stopped this incentive. I left soon after so I don't know if anything else was put into place.

Maybe you can teach a new cake design each week, and each employee can learn it and make several in different colors. Even just teaching them a new border, for instance. Or, maybe give them the opportunity to teach each other. They could take turns, one per week or every other week, to research something new, say a new border, then make a presentation to the other employees.

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howsweet Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 6:14pm
post #15 of 18

I agree with Mcaulir. On a side note, do they really have time to relax enough to feel creative? Are they rushed and pressured to get out cakes really fast? Are they overworked? I'm sure there are exceptions, but most grocery store bakeries are not designed to encourage a creative atmosphere and it may not even be possible. That's one reason major chain grocery stores have people who do they creative design work and then go out to teach the decorators.


Some exceptional individuals are always going to express themselves creatively in any situation, but most are not. In my opinion little contests are just going to add to the stress.

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kaylawaylalayla Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 6:27pm
post #16 of 18

AMake an anonymous suggestion box. Maybe they will tell you what they want

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lunawhisper0013 Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 8:11pm
post #17 of 18

AThank you everyone for your feedback. You have given me quite a bit to think about. :-)

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Stitches Posted 12 Aug 2013 , 3:21am
post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by kaylawaylalayla 

Make an anonymous suggestion box. Maybe they will tell you what they want

I LOVE that idea!! I wish every place had one...

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