The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
Psychologists are confirming that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Many people put it down to what they call the ‘Sky News’ effect…bite-sized chunks of information delivered in record time, to allow people to get on with their lives, chock full of information. Learn More
A survey among 2,000 workers undertaken by staff development company European Leaders revealed that a huge two thirds failed to understand their company’s vision, which had a negative impact on their motivation and productivity. It also contributed to the fact that a mere 18% would describe their employer as a ‘good’ organisation to work for.
But two thirds of those questioned said that they would work much more efficiently if they were better motivated, although only 36% said they were currently working to their full potential.
If you look at the UK’s best companies to work for, it’s clear that their focus on company values and employee engagement is right at the top of their agenda. So what would boost employee engagement and morale? 41% of people who replied to the European Leaders survey said managers’ ability to communicate passion and enthusiasm about work to them and being prepared to challenge in order to help them reach their full potential would be top of their list.
A further 38% said they would like bosses to help them find something in the workplace that motivated them, while 37% felt managers had a duty to make their work more engaging.
That really made me think about how we engage with our people at work, especially how we tap into their potential to achieve more and grow more. If we just leave motivation up to other people, it will just fade, as it’s something that needs to constantly nurtured and fed. Don’t allow your team to lose its motivation by not getting them involved in the big picture. Help them grow and develop by letting them contribute and add new perspectives to the business.
I read a piece from John Sylvester recently that said the Number 1 reason employees leave a company is from lack of recognition.
Not sure if you would all agree with that, as some managers I’ve recently talked to say their people are leaving for more money. But isn’t that exactly the same thing? If they want to leave for more money, are they really saying that you do not recognise their contribution and they want to go to a company that does?
A recognition scheme can help you to improve retention and morale by giving your employees a sense of belonging and a feeling of actively contributing to the success of a wider team.
A well thought out recognition scheme can help you to:
• Reinforce employee actions to mirror company values
• Promote your brand
• Foster a sense of belonging and a recognition culture
• Reduce recruitment costs – the average cost per employee currently stands at £8,200
• Empower line managers to award positive behaviour
• Improve customer service levels – For every 1% increase in staff loyalty a 0.5% increase can be seen in customer loyalty – (Study by Harvard Business School)
• Create a more productive team
• Reduce attrition
A good recognition programme will include awards and merchandise incentives, rather than simple money bonuses. Cash incentives could cost up to 6 times as much as non-cash incentives and provide similar results. Over time employees come to expect cash incentives and as such, rather than recognising performance that goes above and beyond the norm, cash incentives lose their value over time.
So you need to identify what kind of things will not only motivate your teams but also provide the recognition they are looking for.
You wouldn’t normally put the actor Robert Redford at the top of your pile of management advisors, but he has a surprising literacy when it comes to identifying system improvements and corporate power politics.
Harvard Business Review commented that ‘Redford’s multi-faceted approach to change includes developing grass-roots initiatives, earning credibility and success leverage, practicing the art of persuasion in order to get projects completed, gathering support along the way and demonstrating persistence’.
Redford is quoted as saying, ‘A better way to change a system is to work through it bottom-up, quietly chipping away at standard procedures, creating small opportunities to do what you really want to do, until you achieve real success. Then you can break out your agenda in a larger way.’
‘ I learned that the corporate powers that be aren’t going to be interested in the fruits of your labour and passion unless you are able to understand their agenda and speak their language. You can’t be forceful, loud or confrontational. You have to sell what you have on their terms. Once you have earned credibility and are in a position to get what you want, you need to strike a series of bargains. I concluded that if you want to crack the system, you have to work behind the scenes.’
Interesting words from someone who has seen a lot of the world.
Can we identify what that means for us in the business world? Well, as he says, others are not going to be interested in you, your labours and passions if they don’t see it working to their agendas.
Everyone is going to have their own ideas of how things should work and that isn’t going to change unless you speak their language and identify what’s in it for them.
Hollywood might be a strange place to gain management ideas, but sometimes golden nuggets leap out and impress you.
You can’t deny the value of Redford’s words. Good on you, Sundance!
Knowledge Management is a key requisite in today’s business world. Without a solid system of managing what knowledge is available to you within the company, you run the risk of losing valuable information, of people hiding behind the security screen that acts as a buffer for their insecurities in sharing information, and of people learning a great deal while with you and then taking it with them elsewhere.
Keep in mind these valuable hints for why you should have a good knowledge management system in place:
1. Quality of information and knowledge
Low quality of information in a company is a demotivator for knowledge and information Management. Finding outdated information or no information at all creates frustration and apathy
2. People are different
People are different in the way they think, feel and act. Knowledge management programmes that do not respect this internal face of individuals are not doomed to fail, but the probability of success is much, much lower.
3. Sharing knowledge
Remember that a knowledge management system is the result of sharing knowledge. It is not the sharing of knowledge in itself.
4 Communicate personal benefit
The foundation of all improvements — hence, changes — for a user is his or her personal benefit. When users do not see a direct or indirect personal benefit, they will not be inclined to contribute to change or put in the extra effort.
5. Promote re-use
Instead of sending out the message to share knowledge, management should promote the re-use of each other’s valuable information and knowledge. In practice, it is the lack of re-use (and related
respect) that limits the results of knowledge management, not the willingness to share knowledge.
6. Retrieve only relevant information
Don’t give reasons for overwhelm. Too much information will be daunting and unappreciated. Your aim should be in retrieving and delivering only that information which is relevant in the context of the moment.
7. Who is the expert among you?
Everybody and nobody. Everybody possesses knowledge, expertise and wisdom. The question and challenge is to identify, match and feed personal knowledge with the knowledge required by the
organisation in order to be successful. Nobody is an expert as long as the personal knowledge is not used and applied for the sake of organisational results.
8. Management by example
Management is an example for its team, department or organisation. So, make sure your words and actions point in the same direction. Many knowledge management initiatives fail because this obvious and simple rule was not respected.
Being the example of how you want people to be is pre-requisite in knowledge management within your company. Assess the value, build the commitment and earn the plaudits from the results.
I’m surprised by how many of our delegates on management courses say their companies don’t blog, or if they do,they are spasmodic and not measured as to their effectiveness.
Some benefits that can be achieved through corporate blogging include:
Your team can offer valuable assistance in achieving your goals and objectives, but only when they are given the opportunity to do so. Many managers are reluctant to offer more power to the team because it is risky and diminishes their control. But it is also motivational and offers more opportunities for growth and advancement.
The death of the British Newspaper, the News of the World, this week, opens not only a debate on ethics, but also a deeper one regarding the whole social media of news and news gathering.
Fewer people today than ever actually read a newspaper.