What motivates us in the workplace?


So what motivates people – and how do you find out the best way to motivate your staff?

Well perhaps not surprising in the current climate – but an answer which I would strongly argue transcends the credit crunch – is training and communication – not hard cash!

In a recent survey covering 1,500 business, 78% of staff said that they would like an on-boarding programme, however in those companies, only 37% actually provide any kind of induction programme.

A third of staff who had gone through an induction programme with the company said it had reinforced their decision to join that company.

Many of those who went through the programmes said that it made them feel at ease with their new surroundings and enabled them to get up to speed more quickly.

The survey also found that 75% of new staff had no level of contact with their employer between accepting a job offer and starting their new role.

So what can companies learn from this information?

Well for a start – communicate with your staff! That goes for existing and new employees of course. But when you have invested time and money into bringing people into your business don’t simply assume that they will just be able to get on with it.

Its clear that a well thought out induction programme introducing them to the company at large and not just their own job and team will make a huge difference to their productivity and also motivate and retain them for longer.

Its also equally important to ensure that arrangements for informing and consulting employees over major change are effective if companies want to improve trust in senior management, especially in current climates.

However, change in the workplace has been prevalent for a long time now and employees may simply be unaware of how well they have coped with change in the organisation in the last 5 to 10 years. So its also important to have a programme which involves staff, educates them and makes them feel that their opinions are valued and trusted.

Remember that usually your staff are the customer touch point of your business and as such they are all your brand ambassadors so making sure they are all on the same page is a vital component in your marketing.

As the economic downturn began to bite, a 2008 report from Cranfield School of Management, commissioned by learndirect Business, revealed organisations that invest in their staff are best placed to save money (44%) improve staff motivation (33%) and increase employee retention (52%).

However, although the Nurturing Talent report highlights training and development can have significant benefits such as increased staff motivation and retention, only a third (34%) of employers have a formal training strategy.

The report, which was compiled using responses from 1,189 training and recruitment decision makers, reveals over three quarters of employers (78%) see skills development as more beneficial to their organisation compared to recruiting staff externally.

Dr Emma Parry, Senior Research Fellow, Cranfield School of Management, who authored the report, said: “this research demonstrates that growing your own is an effective way for organisations to obtain the skills they need while saving money. For employers, the nurturing talent concept means managing and developing employees to achieve business goals.  This could include training employee coaching staff mentoring and job enrichment to stretch employees with new tasks.”

So while formal training including examinations and academic development is an essential tool for many, personal workplace development is a tool which still is widely underutilised.

Mentoring and coaching as part of a structured programme with agreed objectives and outcomes will help staff to become more skilled in their own job, help them to upskill for new roles and promotions, encourage them to have a stake in their own development and keep them committed to the organisation and role.

Its a process which is often used by executives for development so if its widely recognised to benefit senior management then it should be evident that its something which very many more people can benefit from.

Of course a good bit of sunny weather like we are having at the moment doesn’t do any harm either – its just much less controllable!!

best wishes,

Alison

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