What motivates you?
The question of what gets people up for work in the morning is an interesting one. Data from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests that money is not most people’s main motivator. Instead, reasons include relishing the opportunity to make a difference through their jobs, pursuing an interest or becoming an expert in their field – summed up by the 64 per cent who say they are driven by ‘having a sense of purpose’.
However, even if pay isn’t the dominant driver, the majority of employees wouldn’t say no to a financial boost. Never has this been more true than now as the impact of the Government’s cuts begin to be felt and households feel the pinch of rising prices as inflation creeps up.
Not all about the money...
Unfortunately the reality is that most organisations are not in a position to give their staff more than a very modest rise at present. Realistically, it’s a situation which may continue for some time. Although CMI’s annual National Management Salary Survey (NMSS) revealed that the average salary did increase by 2.2% for the 12 months to February 2011, this was the lowest pay rise for more than a decade. As a result of this trend, HR departments will have to be creative in order to engage and motivate staff without being able to hand out high financial rewards to star performers.
Rewarding hard work, loyalty and excellence is a vital part of a retention strategy. We need to keep hold of our best people to ensure the future success of our businesses and, ultimately, the competitiveness of UK plc. Never has it been more important that we find ways to do this that don’t relate to money.
Is the jobs market stabilising?
The other key revelation of CMI’s NMSS survey was that labour turnover has significantly dropped. At 3.9%, the proportion of people resigning has dipped to a five-year low, suggesting that executives are happier in their current roles and more determined to ride out the current economic uncertainty than they were 12 months ago, when resignations stood at 4.7 per cent. While this may also indicate that staff do not feel that there are better options elsewhere, these figures clearly demonstrate that, for the moment, staff are staying put.
This is, of course, good news for the HR profession as recruitment is a costly process. However, the key challenge is how HR professionals can ensure that talented staff are not simply biding their time until the economy picks up and better opportunities present themselves.
The challenge: to engage talented staff
The initial stage in doing so should be to examine your organisation’s culture - how engaged are your employees? The MacLeod Review, a report conducted by the previous government into employee engagement in the UK, highlighted that one of the main reasons that levels of employee engagement are so low in the UK is due to a failure of leadership and management.
Engaged employees - those that understand an organisation’s objectives, recognise that they are key to its functions and feel like they have a say in the way it is run - are more loyal and productive, feel happier and are less likely to leave.
HR departments need to take the lead in addressing the lack of engagement by talking to employees and implementing measures to engage them. This should include working with them to get to the crux of what they would like to see in their remuneration packages. Numerous reports exist to suggest that flexible working options, for example, are prized by many employees as they show the employer understands their needs and create a culture of trust and autonomy. Often, these benefits aren’t recognised by employers enough.
Examine career development opportunities
CMI research also shows that two in five employees blame the lack of opportunities to progress within their workplace for flagging motivation. Again, it's the responsibility of HR departments here to look at things like whether staff members are having regular appraisals and if they have development plans in place so they know what they need to do to move upwards. This may be a set policy in your organisation, but is it happening in practice? Are internal promotions being publicised and celebrated?
Ensuring these things are happening is good management practice. It’s also a win-win situation - both the individual and the organisation stand to benefit.
Invest in training & development
Ensuring that your staff receive all the necessary training to do their jobs is vital. If budgets are tight, you could consider more economical ways of delivering this training. Have you considered the benefits of online development? With increasing number of employees adept at using their PCs, it could be the perfect way to engage them.
Investing in your employees shows that you are as committed to their professional development as they are and doing it in a way that meets their lifeystle shows that you are helping them achieve this. It will also lead to a more competent and confident workforce - the essential building blocks of any successful company.
Position yourself as an employer of choice
We’re all aware of how important it is to attract talented people to our organisations and to keep them once they are working with us. The difficult economic climate may continue to make significant pay increases an unlikely perk.
However, creating a workplace culture which focuses on other kinds of rewards and, vitally, has been designed in consultation with employees, can make your organisation stand out from the crowd.
Benchmark salaries here
The salary checker below has been put together following the results of CMI’s National Management Salary Survey and can be used to determine how your own or your staff’s pay and pay increase relates to the average by sector and by region.
Click the following link to check your salary