Monday March 5, 2012
This article originally appeared in Management Today
By Elizabeth Anderson (Management Today)
Unless you're Bob Diamond, bonuses are a thing of the past and even giving employees a raise looks doubtful. The good news is that there are other ways of motivating them.
The prospect of discussing money (or the lack of) is enough to get any boss perspiring. But don't be tempted to put off questions about a wage increase in the hope it gets forgotten. The chances are your staff will have a good idea of the financial state of the company. 'Tell it how it is. You need a frank discussion with your team to say we can't afford to pay you any more but what else can I do to help?' says Carole Spiers, business consultant and occupational stress adviser.
Ask the team
It's easy to get so swept up thinking of solutions in board meetings that you forget to ask the people who matter: your colleagues. And the results can be surprising. A few years ago, Kwik Fit Insurance asked its call centre staff what would make them happier at work. Taking leave in two-hour blocks was one idea. They also wanted lids for their coffee cups, so they could drink at their desk without cutting into their breaks. 'They're simple suggestions but are unlikely to come out of a board meeting with senior managers,' says Jane Sunley, chief executive of consultancy learnpurple, which specialises in employee engagement.
Sunley, who works with the Maybourne Group, owner of Claridge's and the Berkeley Hotel, says the hotels put a map on the wall of the staff canteen. When people join the company they put a pin on the country they're from. 'It welcomes them to the team and is good for communication,' she says. A social office is often a happy one. Organise get-togethers, whether it's paintballing sessions or a small glass of wine in the staff room at the end of an afternoon. Helping a charity is another way to give workers a common purpose and a feel-good factor.
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