#WINEFORGOOD: The Benefits of Motivation in the Workplace

Monday, 6 April, 2020
Santi Basson, Winetech
As the economy continues to struggle, employees and cellar assistants in the wine industry are challenged to remain motivated. They are often looking for inspiration which will address their needs and the need for real solutions is now at an all-time high.

They want certainty during a time when most are dissatisfied and disillusioned, with constant reminders that things are not getting better. Employees want hope, but selling hope is not a strategy.

It is often asked what lies at the core of an efficient and productive workforce. Some will say that it is efficient management and supervision. While it is hard to say that this is wrong, it is not difficult to say that the answer could be found in motivation.

Employee motivation has a definite influence on the performance of a cellar. However, it is also true that many cellars employ cellar assistants with low motivation. So why is motivation so important? There are several reasons why it is important, one of them being because it allows winemakers and management to reach the cellars’ goals. It should perhaps be considered that without a motivated workforce, cellars could be in a risky position.

Employee motivation is important for every cellar due to the benefits. For instance, motivated cellar assistants can increase and improve productivity and help a cellar to achieve higher levels of output, which can lead to growth for the cellar. When cellar assistants are committed and motivated to work, they will generally put their best effort in the tasks assigned to them. Motivation can also assist cellar assistants to reach their personal goals and can contribute to their own development. Once a person meets some of the initial goals, it will in turn further motivate them to continue and develop at a higher level.

Cellar assistants’ efficiency levels are not only based on their abilities, training or qualifications. They need to have a good balance between the ability to perform the tasks given and a willingness to want to perform the tasks. This balance can lead to an increase of productivity and an improvement in efficiency.

Motivation also plays an important role in changing attitudes. An indifferent attitude is changed mainly by motivation. A well-motivated workforce is also a loyal workforce.

So how does one increase motivation in the workplace? The easiest way to increase motivation is to establish positive communication in the cellar. Numerous winemakers confirmed that they have excellent, informal mentorship relationships with their cellar assistants. Most of these winemakers regularly set aside time to talk with their cellar assistants, either individually or as a team. Apart from transferring knowledge in an informal way, they also show an interest in their cellar assistants’ general well-being. Cellar assistants who believe that the winemaker and management are concerned about them as individuals and not just as employees, are more productive, more satisfied and more fulfilled.

Cellar assistants want the cellar they are working for to succeed. According to some winemakers, many cellar assistants have excellent ideas and can think out of the box. Management should try to take some time to listen to suggestions. Nothing is more worthwhile than feeling valued. Many cellar assistants take pride in their work, particularly if they are aware that their efforts create an impact. Improved communication build loyalty and encourage individuals to work harder.

Each cellar assistant contributes to the cellar’s production. However, not everyone sees it that way. Cellar assistants with specific and limited responsibilities can easily feel they are just a cog in the wheel, whose work may not be important. The development and transfer of knowledge can assist cellar assistants to understand the bigger picture and how their work and tasks fit into the cellar’s goals. As a result, cellar assistants can become more motivated and excited about their work, as they understand and realise what they do, matters to the success of the cellar. Winemakers have confirmed that the Winetech study groups and the senior workshops play an important role to help cellar assistants to see the bigger picture about winemaking processes.

Cellar assistants often know that their work or productivity could be better. In many cases cellar assistants do not have the necessary knowledge or training to achieve their potential. The transfer and development of knowledge can help to get things on track to improve productivity and quality of work delivered. The Winetech study groups and the senior workshops are known for the development and transfer of knowledge in a practical and holistic manner. Participating cellars are of the opinion that the Winetech programmes have a positive influence on the quality of work delivered. Winemakers indicated that participating cellar assistants show an improved enthusiasm for their work. Cellar assistants confirmed that they have developed a pride in their work.

Many cellar assistants joined their cellars just to have a job, but there are also many who are very passionate about the product they work with and would like to develop their careers. Continuous transfer of knowledge and training help cellar assistants to reach their goals and by giving them the opportunity to develop their knowledge, they learn how to do their tasks better and gain knowledge about the winemaking processes. However, it should be remembered that there must be motivation or drive before cellar assistants will start to learn. Motivation stimulates interest and the attitude of willing to learn. If a person does not want to learn, he will not learn, even though he understands clearly what is being taught. This means that the winemaker needs to select cellar assistants for further training based on motivation and should have practices in place that will continuously stimulate interest and encourage motivation.

Getting exposed to different skills and the know-how from other cellar assistants, can help an individual to know more. We are all achievers on the inside. Sharing knowledge encourages one to become better at what one does and increase the productivity of the team.

Although self-discipline is usually viewed by many individuals in a negative manner, motivation promotes self-discipline and raises discipline in general to a positive level. The self-discipline of an individual accomplishes much more than the discipline imposed by the winemaker and management. It is a known fact that committed cellar assistants discipline themselves.

When cellar assistants are properly motivated, an energy is generated which has a tremendous impact not only on productivity, but also on labour relations, the stability and the future development of the cellar team.The importance of recognition at work is one of the most powerful motivators and will highly contribute to healthy relations within the cellar.Transfer of knowledge and training is an investment cellars make in their cellar assistants and confirmation to the cellar team that they are valued.

For more information please contact Santi Basson at santib@mweb.co.za or tel no 072 2988 186


There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. The #wineforgood website, launched by wine.co.za in June 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty. wine.co.za has made April a focus for #wineforgood stories. Share them far and wide and spread the good news about South African wine.