How can you motivate employees on the job? The answer, as Chris Harmon, Headmaster for Legacy Christian Academy, a thriving K-12 school in Frisco, Texas, discovered, might inspire you.
Need: Each school day, Harmon’s goal, along with each of Legacy’s 85 faculty and staff, is to “Faithfully be the hands and feet of Christ in everything we do, serving students, parents and the entire community. All people who are highly motivated to serve, like ours, want to know how they’re making a life-changing difference.” And that’s where simple, ingenuity comes in.
Strategy: Harmon hosts a monthly half-day gathering at which faculty and staff pray for one another. A regular highlight comes when he reads letters from parents who can’t keep their appreciation to themselves: “You made my child feel loved. . . . You reinforce the Christian values our family strives to live by . . . You’ve helped ignite a new confidence and excitement for learning in our son and daughter.” This is “One big key to motivating our faculty and staff,” says Harmon, “is to provide them opportunities to do what they’re gifted in and good at–and that’s to reach out and teach by doing. Recently, our students, teachers and staff teamed together to collect food, toys and blankets for 200 low-income families in Dallas. It was a joy to see our faculty and staff working alongside our students and their families. They showed each other what it’s like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” The lesson is: When you honor, respect and invite your people to give of themselves, they motivate and inspire those around them–so much so that it was the headmaster’s turn to write a letter. . . .
Results: Annually, before Christmas, knowing the school isn’t able to award annual staff bonuses, Harmon invited parents to make a small year-end financial gift to the school’s faculty and staff. It’s totally optional, no expectations. Each year, the letter goes out, and each year the checks come in, many clipped to hand-written notes of appreciation from parents who simply want to give back. As Legacy’s teachers and staff already knew, gratitude can be a wonderful mirror reflecting Christ-like efforts on the job.
P.S. In case you’re wondering where December’s generous year-end giving ranks, it was an increase of 32% over the previous year, with 32% of families participating.