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Staff motivators - what matter most?

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26 May 00:00 by Simon Bruce

Have you ever been asked to complete a staff opinion survey by your employer? Even if not, and they are less in vogue than they once were, you may have seen survey results detailing and prioritising what motivates staff. Money regularly comes in the league but not at the top of the list. Job satisfaction, feeling recognised and appreciated, being on a desired career path are often seen as more important. Of course the salary should be in the range that meets the needs of the employee. There are also needs for staff training and for staff to feel they are advancing.

1. Appraisals

A name to strike terror in some but a bi-annual review, fairly conducted by the employees' manager serves not only to give feedback from and to the member - the manager can hear how the employee feels. Good companies also allow staff to appraise their manager. A good counterbalance. The appraisal rating is often used in the calculation for the annual salary review. If work days are hectic a formal appraisal procedure is obligatory and often is the sole time a manager is forced to really listen. The appraisal is seen as an activity with a deadline date that must be met. The appraisal is put into writing after the meeting and manager and staff member both sign the document that is then sent to HR.

2. Staff retention

Staff turnover eats into profits - not only due to recruitment time but loss of momentum when training new staff. So knowing how your staff feel is important. Gone are the days of staff working for one company for their entire career. Getting ideas from experienced staff may provide valuable insights for the management group to stimulate change. A company that does not change, dies. It is so valuable to retain motivated experienced staff. Team spirit seen in some companies is almost tangible and is certainly felt by customers. What can you do to stimulate this?

3. Training

Training is seen as a staff benefit. It serves both the company and the staff. Things change and keeping staff up to date means they feel appreciated, are learning new skills and more likely to stay with your company.

4. Promote from within

This is a tricky one. It may not always be possible, especially if your company direction changes. But aspirations of staff should have been noted in the bi-annual appraisal so now you should not miss the fact you have that budding social media guru already in your company - if that is what you are seeking. You should build in a form of career ladder so staff can a) state what they would like to do b) see their wishes are recorded. How would you expect them to feel if you bring in a new candidate for a role one of your team could do, with some added training. Spur them with the knowledge you listen and they can apply for new opportunities in the company.

5. New ideas

This should be a two-way street. Staff may come up with new product or service ideas. They may also show interest for remote working, flexible hours. See what your competitors are doing. Your staff will! Introducing more flexible staff working conditions has often been the cementing solution to retain a valuable member of staff who is thinking of leaving. But why let it get to this stage. By following the steps above, you should not have any surprises.

6. The office

You should look at the working conditions within your company offices. How do they compare with your competitors and local firms? When viewed against your competitors, how do your staff and customers perceive your offices? As for office hours can you offer more flexibility? Remember when hot desking was in vogue, staff worked from home or any desk in the office, then savings were seen that allowed refurbishment and top of the scale fittings. This can also make a difference....how many hours did you spend at your desk last week? Ergonomic? Well lit? Comfortable? Modern? Effective temperature? Space to think? More and more companies are giving staff more control on their day to day routines, the controlling factor is - does the job get done. Over strenuous control can work against you.

7. Out of the office

External training venues, team building, are all discussed in many places, sometimes too much. But it cannot be denied the value of a team working well together for a common good. When a staff member is on holiday do other team members willingly pick up the absent colleagues telephone? It should not be something you have to regimentally control but be self-creating by the team. If not then perhaps you need to spend time and reflect and repair. The time spent could be worth a lot, and leaving it too late only means your potential repair costs will be higher. Communication is a two-way street. Staff motivation is a component of a winning company.