How to bring back the buzz

18-11-2004

Even the most motivated employee�s inspiration starts to fade as tough work issues loom. And for the long-serving staff member who has seen it all before and is feeling deflated about their job, maintaining motivation is even harder.

Companies are paying too little attention to what I call motivational decline. It is costing the country millions of pounds each year through the under-performance of their greatest asset: their staff.

Companies need to invest more in �remotivation� � maintaining and rebuilding motivation and picking up the flagging momentum � if they want to get the best out of their staff. Sometimes the profit share scheme just isn�t enough.

Many companies already do. Successful incentive and motivation schemes usually include creative communications techniques to remind participants regularly of the rewards they can earn. They might send clever mailers or teasers which provide a taste of what can be won if targets or goals are achieved, or issue frequent updates on how individuals are performing.

Before developing a motivation plan, it�s essential to do your research. The few companies that research in advance before developing a motivation programme for their staff are often surprised by the results. Too often managers presume they know it all or rely on repeating last year�s successful scheme. Why not ask the staff themselves, especially the long-serving employees, what would motivate them?

Another way to remotivate staff is to ask them to set their own targets. If you ask a sales team to do this, it often results in better figures than their boss would have asked for. This is particularly valuable because they participate in their success.

Many organisations create staff motivation schemes with once-a-year rewards. You can make this scheme work even harder by shortening the payout horizon with interim rewards. The award values don�t need to be huge, but the motivation value of having frequent winners is massive. Don�t forget the long-serving participant who performs steadily but rarely hits the headlines can be remotivated by the opportunity to qualify for an award in the next period.

Employee-of-the-month schemes, although done to death, do have an impact on motivation levels. It could be based on criteria that change each month, such as the greatest number of orders taken, the greatest number of new accounts opened or the most consistent performance, so that different winners qualify each time.

For any of these schemes to work though, there has to be constant communication over a variety of routes to generate excitement, including teasers, league tables and progress charts, and these should sometimes be sent to home addresses.

Remotivation applies to virtually all of us, as employers or employees, no matter how great your company may be. If you choose to look at it more closely, you�ll reap the rewards in better productivity and improved staff morale.

CONTRIBUTOR: Graham Povey, Capital Incentives and Motivation

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