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What Makes Your Staff Tick?

I don’t know how many times I here a business owner or manager say “if it wasn’t for the staff this job would be great”, like it or not most of us need staff to complete the work we do for our customers.

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I don’t know how many times I here a business owner or manager say “if it wasn’t for the staff this job would be great”, like it or not most of us need staff to complete the work we do for our customers. Generally speaking the type of business owner or manager that comes out with a comment like this usually struggles with the concept and the importance of motivating staff. Think back to a time when you were happy in your job, that may be now or it may have been in a previous job but ask yourself what type of environment did you work in? Did you have a great boss? Did you have a genuine interest in what you were doing? What were your colleagues like, were they more like friends? Did you have a better salary?

I’m going to stick my neck out on the proverbial chopping block and say that you will have positive responses to all these questions except the last, the pay, thus we break the greatest assumption that money buys happiness in the work place.

Let me give you a couple of example of what I’m trying to get at; other than what I am doing now, my best job was when I was 17 years old, I worked for a sports retailer on a government scheme designed to get school leavers into work, the money was terrible (I was on 50 pence (UK) an hour even in that day it was very poor, so why do I look on it with fondness?

Firstly I had a great manager, Andy Croney, I still remember his name, he was good at managing the store but he kept the atmosphere a happy one, I received a lot of training both in sales and product knowledge which allowed me to develop very quickly, we had a small team but a great team, the dynamics worked well between us which flowed into a good social group out of work. My manager left and his replacement Kenny Donaldson took up where Andy left off and continued in a similar management style, Kenny was a bit more adventurous in some of his methods of stock management which very much rubbed off on me, because of my rate of development Kenny short listed me for management training (age 18), I was accepted and within a year was managing my first store.

One of the worst jobs I had was my previous one, the pay was obviously significantly better, but there was no personal development, my manager was never around to pass on his wisdom and advice, I was left to my own devices in an office which surrounded me with staff that had been there for years and never stopped complaining, my bonuses were good but it did nothing to stop me feeling insecure and unhappy in my job.

When it comes to staff it is essential that the business owner of manager understands what motivates in and outside.

Toys motivate me, give me this over a cash bonus any day!!

Work, this information can be used to devise incentives, it may be used to help develop them further within the business, it will lead to a happier work place, increased sales and a lower staff turnover thus costs to the business.

Let me be very clear about something, the manager or business owner that thinks giving a staff a pay rise is the best way to motivate them, is wrong, a pay rise is only good for about one month, why, because the vast majority of us adjust our life style to suit our means and once that adjustment has been made the novelty of the pay rise disappears.

In my experience the best way to keep your staff motivated is to identify what makes them tick, is it money, do they have a specific interest, do they want rise through the ranks in your company, maybe they are about to buy a house (stability of job may be the key motivator), may be they are about to start a family (flexible hours may be their key motivator), what ever it is there is a duty to all managers and business owners to find out what they key motivator is. Once it is identified then training programs, incentive schemes, working hours and general work conditions can be refined to ensure your staff are happy and motivated and most importantly loyal.