Why should we motivate our staff?
Anastasia Gordon, Communications Consultant at Smithbrook Partners discusses the need for staff motivation and identifies the key areas to focus on when affecting change in your business.
Your people are your most valuable asset and your business is only as successful as those who work there. If you consider that performance is dependent on skill and motivation, it is in your business' best interests to make your people as highly skilled and motivated as possible.
Staff who are motivated work harder and more effectively during their official working hours by finishing the task in hand and discussing projects with colleagues. Outside work, they proactively look for opportunities for their business and make time to learn and develop themselves, saving their employer time and money.
It goes without saying that motivated and proactive employees are likely to talk positively about their work and are great, free, ambassadors for your business.
Good motivation also leads to good staff retention which immediately reduces churn costs and enables a business to retain its knowledge and skills in house.
Many organisations, while attempting to recession proof themselves, kill the engagement on which their future prosperity, or indeed their survival, is built. This leads to immediate costs and disruption from higher staff turnover as well as lower efficiencies due to lack of focus.
There are four areas that have to be right for people to feel motivated. There are a number of actions you can take in each area to improve team and business performance. For best results, we recommend working across all four areas but it in some situations it may be appropriate to focus on and implement one area. All the immediate actions are designed to be no cost or low cost but do require time and effort.
VISION AND STRATEGY
- There has to be a clear understanding of the business objectives.
- Transparent and engaging leadership needs to keep the vision alive.
- Clarity and communication should translate the strategy into day to day action.
Actions to take
- Revisit your mission and objectives - either reconfirming or amending them - then include them in internal communications.
- Put your mission statement on the bottom of internal emails or on a poster in staff areas.
- Include key objectives for the quarter, month or week in a newsletter or email.
RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- Personal objectives must be set, shared and understood.
- Personal, departmental and business objectives must all be aligned so that they support each other and build to the overall mission.
- Once objectives are clear, individuals must be empowered to perform in their role.
Actions to take
- Design SMART, outcome-based personal objectives.
- Implement a two-way appraisal process to discuss and agree company and personal objectives.
- Delegate clear authority with each responsibility and allow staff to exercise that authority.
RECOGNITION AND REWARD
- Criteria for individual recognition and reward must be consistently applied.
- Management and staff need to understand the standards and buy into them.
- Rewards need to be valued by those receiving them, but do not have to be monetary.
Actions to take
- Praise staff who perform well. Beware some staff like praise given privately while others like to be praised publicly - ask how people like to receive praise.
- Praise teams as well as individuals to avoid individual competition de-motivating staff.
- Get creative with rewards for staff. For example, weekly fruit baskets for the staff meeting, shorter hours on their birthday, sandwich lunch for the best department.
- Leadership needs to blend creativity, knowledge, trust, innovation and passion.
- Individuals must respect whoever is leading the organisation.
- Leadership needs to be internal and external.
Actions to take
- Do not assume all managers are automatically leaders; remember the key leadership qualities.
- Encourage leaders to talk to staff and other stakeholders as often as possible - talk about successess and goals, reinforce lessons learned and next steps to take.
- Use staff members as ambassadors, benefitting from their understanding of the mission and objectives and involving them in external networking and events.
Whichever set of actions you choose to implement, remember that the principles and benefits of motivation extend beyond your direct employees to your suppliers, consultants and the rest of your team.
So if you are trying to boost your business it is worth redirecting some of your efforts in the first half of 2011 to motivating your team.
If you have any questions regarding any of the information in this article, or would like further details on team motivation strategies. Please contact Smithbrook Partners at www.smithbrookpartners.co.uk.