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Who needs Mr Motivator?

Research has shown that motivated employees are more productive. But when all that is left of Christmas is bad weather, an empty wallet and tighter trousers, it’s hard to stay motivated. When you are also responsible for keeping your employees incentivised, it can be even more difficult. Motivating your workforce, however, does not necessarily mean walking around in multi-coloured spandex, spouting aspirational maxims, or ordering everyone to do press-ups at 7:00am, though that did work for Mr Motivator.

It is often assumed employees are motivated by the same thing - money. If this is the case, then the bosses of Poundland would have had a shock when they recently awarded their staff a 10% discount on in store items as a Christmas bonus. Yes, that’s right, a 10p discount. For a company with annual gross revenues of nearly £1billion, we understand this gesture did not succeed in its likely aim of motivating staff during the festive period.

Whilst the above might not be a fair example because in some cases more generous pay incentives, or pay increases could have the desired effect, if your business does not have the luxury of awarding financial incentives, how will you get the best out of your workforce in the New Year? This is likely to depend on a business understanding what really motivates its workforce. So, if your business does not have its own Mr Motivator why not ask employees what drives them (or drives them mad!) in a staff questionnaire? The results could be surprising and in some circumstances, the implementation of suggestions could cost nothing to achieve.

Studies show that common motivators include job status, praise and acknowledgment, job security, recognition, flexibility, career progression, responsibility and loyalty. This is why some consider options such as introducing schemes to reward performance, long service or increased responsibility or even restructuring a business so there is a clearly defined career path. Others may explore the implementation of flexible working patterns which make it easier for employees to fit their work in with their family commitments. The list goes on. If you are thinking about doing any of these things, then get in touch. You will likely need clearly defined polices on how new proposals will work and to consult staff on any fundamental changes to current working practices. You may also need updated contracts of employment and/or staff handbooks.

Until then, get down and give me twenty!


These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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