They say there’s no ‘I’ in team but there is an ‘E’ and it stands for employees, all of whom are individuals. The bigger the company, the more employees there are to manage. But with so many different personalities how do you as a Human Resources professional get the most from them and keep upper management happy? Well the answer is that there are a number of ways you can keep employees motivated and the bosses happy but they may not be as straightforward as you might think.
Identify the Good, Minimize the Bad
The first step in the process is to identify desirable employee behaviours and then nurture these behaviours in the workplace until they become second nature. This begins by ensuring that all employees have a thorough understanding of company policies and more importantly, company vision. To use a sales analogy, if the vision of a luxury car dealership is to sell the best cars in the world then identifying the best pitch to use to a potential customer is beneficial to the company. Similarly, by figuring out what sort of sales pitch won’t work, the company streamlines its approach and is better off as a result. Of course people aren’t cars and maintaining efficiency in a corporate setting is infinitely more complicated than offloading a Lamborghini to a buyer. The principle stands, however.
“You have to really know what the company is about and what it stands for,” says Jabeen Boga, Human Resources Consultant and speaker at an upcoming SAHRP-accredited CPD seminar at Ashton College. “And once you’ve done that it’s a lot easier to get employees on board with the company vision. If they’re fully on board and motivated the company is better off for it.”
An effective method for doing this is to ensure that each company department is given the freedom and resources to complete the unique tasks it was designed for. Creative teams for example, need to know that they have the freedom to think and if that means allowing them to leave the office to take a walk and clear the cobwebs from their minds then the company should let them know that this is perfectly acceptable. Similarly, if accounts services employees prefer to work in a quiet office and have their door closed so they don’t get distracted then they shouldn’t be prevented from doing so. “What matters most is results,” says Boga. “How they get there is irrelevant. Motivation comes from enthusiasm and enthusiasm comes from the freedom to work in the best way possible.”
The next step in keeping employees motivated and productive is to create tangible, measurable goals. To go back to the car analogy, if the goal of a car company is to sell more cars then setting a benchmark that employees can attain through hard work means that employee and therefore company performance can be tracked.
“You need to be able to measure the impact of employee contributions,” says Boga. “Management can design metrics for providing hard data and for those of us in Human Resources, we can do this through maintaining a dialogue with employees. You can learn a lot just by stopping in for a chat every now and then. Find out what people are working on and what interests them, let them know that their ideas will be heard.” By keeping employees motivated and routinely touching base with them a company ensures its workforce remains productive.
Implementing a reward system that can be used when productivity goals are met is a great method for ensuring that employees remain motivated in the workplace. The classic corporate reward is the stereotypical Christmas bonus cheque given out by a miser boss in a vain attempt to make up for a year of unappreciated hard work. The reality today however, is quite different.
“Corporate motivational practices have evolved considerably in the past decade,” says Boga. “Studies have shown that simple recognition can be worth more to an employee than you might think.” Other forms of non-monetary rewards that employees find useful are gift cards to restaurants or paid days off. “Think of how great it would feel if your boss walked up to you and said ‘here’s a $100 gift card to a steakhouse and by the way, take tomorrow off as a paid vacation.’ That sort of recognition goes a long way in keep people happy and motivated.”
Another reward option for employees is to provide them with the certification and training needed to move up in the company. This can include development options such as free training in management techniques. By providing employees with the freedom to do their best and the skill set they need to grow within a company, it is the company that grows along with it. As Human Resources professionals know, they truly are in the best position to make this happen as they form the bridge between upper management and the “E” in a team of employees.
Ashton College is an accredited post-secondary institution offering fast and flexible education options for adult learners looking to upgrade their skills and change careers. With numerous Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminars delivered online, Ashton faculty can provide your team with the competitive edge it needs to thrive.