Posts tagged ‘Motivation’

Remote working – is it a help or a hindrance?

More and more companies have turned to remote working in order to save money and to gain access to a larger pool of resources.  Interestingly, I was speaking to a manager this week who noted that remote working includes anyone in your team who is not sat in the same vicinity – they could be in another country, another town, half a mile down the road working from home, in the same building but on a different floor, or even on a different part of the same floor.

The challenge of communicating effectively is still the same.  They admitted that, even when people are in the same building, if they have to get out of their chair to speak to them the chances are they would send an email instead.  Not even pick up the phone, they would send an email – how worrying is that!  This is a sign to me that leaders have less time to spend with their teams.  Email is not the answer to that problem!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of remote working – I have done it for 30 years – although I have always been able to choose where I work rather than being remote all the time.  Whether you enjoy it or not is highly influenced by your own motivators (I need a balance of independence and teaming), but it is equally influenced by how you are managed, and the team culture that your leader encourages.

So let’s look at why you may have switched to remote working and what the issues could be.  Then we can focus on what you, as a manager, need to do to continue to inspire your remote workers.

Productivity

From personal experience, I know I can easily double my productivity when working at home.  However, that is because I have put in place the disciplines needed to enable me to be more productive – I have a separate office, with a door I can close, reducing interruptions; I have the technology I need to enable me to connect to the outside world; I take regular breaks to ensure I don’t over-work or get fatigued; I keep hydrated and fed so that my energy levels and concentration can be extended; I am accessible to others and let them know what I have achieved.  I’m sure you will have your own tips on this, but even these are not always easy to attain, so many people can be less productive at home, if their disciplines are poor.

Action: Schedule regular contact with your remote teams, either by video or telephone or by meeting up at a convenient location.  If they are not being productive, understand why not and what needs to change.

Stress

No commute, no queuing for a coffee or the printer, it is easy to see why remote working can be less stressful than being in the office.  It can also provide a better work-life balance, because some of that commute time can be put to better use, whether it be to do the school run, keep fit or to socialise more.  However, if your team interacts less with their colleagues they can soon become isolated.  Perhaps goals and expectations won’t be clear, maybe you won’t know who’s doing what or if achievements are appreciated.  All these can lead to higher stress levels.

Action: Make goals, targets and expectations clear to your team, as well as ensuring good performance is recognised and rewarded.

Costs

If you have thousands of in-office employees then they all need a desk, computer, phone, maybe even an office.  You’ll need a canteen, kitchens, toilets, some companies even provide a gym and a swimming pool in to increase staff morale.  So it’s easy to see how having remote working teams can reduce these costs.  However, a word of warning.  It is essential that your teams meet face to face on a regular basis and the company will need to provide a good base to do this. I don’t mean “a hot-desking area” where you get to sit with anyone from anywhere in the company, I mean areas where employees can sit or meet together with their team-mates.  This takes some co-ordination from you as a manager.  It is also essential for you to be clear that you expect your team to participate in these meetings.  In between these face to face communications, your teams will need to collaborate during their work, so you’ll need up-to-date systems for document sharing, video and teleconferencing, which don’t come cheap.

Action: Although you may be able to save money by switching to more remote working, in order to make it work you will need to invest in other areas, such as communications technology and shared meeting spaces.

Engagement

If there is one thing that builds the best employee engagement, I would say “trust”.  Allowing your teams to choose to work remotely at times shows a huge amount of trust. Finding ways to include them, listen to them, thank them and praise them can help to motivate them and maintain high performance.  Everyone needs different levels of interaction and independence, so it is key to be able to understand what makes them tick.  Of course if you are a task-focused leader who struggles to do these things when people are on site, you are going to find it harder when they are working remotely.  Consequently you are less likely to encourage remote working at all.

Action: Ensure that you understand your team’s motivators so you can engage with each individual in the best possible way.  Focus on what they deliver rather than how long they spend at their laptop.

 

So you can see that there can be pros and cons to remote working. If managed effectively, I think the pros far outweigh the cons.  If you have a remote working team and are finding effectiveness and engagement an issue, please get in touch.

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September 3, 2019 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Motivating in a pay freeze

Over the past ten years thousands of organisations in both the public and private sectors have imposed pay freezes on their staff. The aim is to improve bottom line results by capping fixed costs. The negative side of a pay freeze is that employee motivation can take a nose dive and the organisation can end up losing valuable employees, so the question is….how can you motivate your team in a pay freeze?

The first thing to do is find out the reason for the pay freeze and the length of time you can expect it to be in force. Take the time to explain the purpose and time frame to your team, so they can understand the pressure the business is facing as well as how long they may need to wait without an increase in their remuneration.

Next look for potential flight risks. These could be the people who are most motivated by money, and/or those who genuinely believe their financial rewards are not ‘fair’ for their role. Discuss with your superiors the possibility of a pay adjustment for these people and remember to point out how much more it will cost in terms of recruitment and possible loss of income if they are high performers within the business. Pay freeze does not always mean a complete freeze.

Another option is to look at alternative ways of compensating your workers, such as greater flexibility in working hours, home working or additional holiday time. For many people these could work just as effectively as financial rewards.

Finally remember that not everyone is motivated by money. For many of your employees other factors will be more important to them, such as job stability, working as part of a strong team or creative problem solving. As long as their salary meets their basic living needs they will stay if their other motivators are satisfied.

The key here is to make sure you understand what motivates each member of your team, and to manage their motivation pro-actively so you can ensure their needs are being met. Small changes really can make a big difference, so make sure you explore all avenues rather than assuming there is nothing you can do.

August 20, 2018 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Motivating Millenials…

A Millennial is generally defined as a person who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century, so born in the 90s. Now we are approaching the end of the second decade of this century, Millennials are the fastest growing segment of the workforce, with numbers as high as 1 in 3. Therefore, knowing how to engage with and motivate Millennials is more important than ever.

In general I don’t like to generalise!  Each person in your team is an individual and should be managed as such, however some common attributes can be identified which make Millennials easier to motivate.

Millennials are easily distracted

Brought up with technology and social media in their everyday lives Millennials are easily distracted by social media and digital communication such as texting and Whatsapp.

Solution: Encourage them to establish daily and weekly goals to maintain focus.  Be clear about what you expect from them, including deadlines.

Millennials thrive on recognition

Nurtured and pampered by their Baby Boomer parents, who didn’t want to make the same mistakes as the previous generation, Millennials are used to instant recognition and praise

Solution: Give regular praise to maintain drive.  Create a culture where balanced feedback is the norm, so that Millennials get used to constructive criticism as well.

Millennials find good works rewarding

A wealthier upbringing than their parents may have experienced mean Millennials are less motivated by the acquisition of money and need to feel that they are making a difference in and out of work.

Solution: Ensure that their job has a clear purpose and that they know what success looks like – they won’t stay just for the pay.

Millennials value flexibility

Aware from a young age of the need for a good work life balance, Millennials are looking for a more flexible working environment.

Solution: Be clear about your flexible working policy, ensuring that managers are trained to deal with remote workers effectively.  This is about creating a culture of trust, which Millennials will also value.

Millennials are tech savvy

Millennials grew up with technology and rely on it in their everyday lives.

Solution: Make sure your technology is up-to-date and fit for purpose.  Leverage it to reduce travel, provide flexible learning opportunities as well as using a breadth of communications media.

Millennials are team orientated

Encouraged to play team games and take part in group activities during their childhood, Millennials value teamwork

Solution: Team building exercises can really work well if they are correctly planned and implemented

Once again, I would emphasise that, in addition to these general principles, each person on your team, Millennial or not, should be treated as an individual when you are considering how to get the best from them.

If you need help motivating your Millennial team, we would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

March 13, 2018 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

Husband and Wife Teams

I have worked with a number of husband and wife teams, many of whom have been effective and successful.  But not without some challenges to overcome, due to the complex nature of their ‘multi-faceted’ relationships.

Whether they run their own business(es), or work in the same company, or even the same team, the first hurdle is to separate their work and their home lives.  Really separate them, as in removing any emotional baggage that has taken place at home when they come into work – not easy!

One way to help is to review how our couples are motivated at work, to enable them to have a deeper understanding of what makes each other tick.  Combine this with clear business goals and the right skills and they can be really focussed on business success.  That is providing they can switch off when they leave the office!

For example, one half of a couple, who ran multiple businesses together, as well as separate businesses, decided to set up a new business.  They knew this would take some time to build and ring-fenced the time to enable them to do so.  However, they soon found themselves under financial pressure from their spouse.

When we looked at their motivation profiles it was clear that one was more focussed on money and the other on quality and customer service.  This was clearly causing some conflict, so it was a relief to both to find out the reason behind it.  They were delighted to find that the common ground between their two opposing views was both achievable and very productive for the businesses.  It also enabled them to ‘park’ external factors and really focus on business outcomes.

Of course many teams can find themselves in similar situations to our couples, in fact being in a team can feel like a marriage at times!  Most, if not all, issues can be resolved by understanding what makes each other tick.  Simple, quick and effective!

May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

What does your team think of you?

Whenever we run a motivation review for team development we get to hear and see what team members think of their leader – with fascinating results.

We know that staff make plenty of assumptions about their leaders.  After all, leaders see all, hear all, know all, do all…….don’t they?  I mean, a leader would never have a problem with confidence, would they?

So it’s no surprise (to us!) that 99% of teams are unable to identify what motivates their boss.  Perhaps they are too busy looking down to look up.  Those that do look up will see ‘management behaviours’, which imply certain motivators.  However the leader is likely to be using their skills to adapt their behaviours, which may cause some internal conflict with their motivators.

That perception by staff could be very limiting when it comes to communication, collaboration, influencing and even career prospects for each individual.

With a little insight, the team can actually make their boss’s life easier, while enjoying their own roles so much more.  That sounds like a win/win to me……

March 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Banning working from home…

Many large corporations are moving away from the ‘working from home’ concept, with companies like Yahoo banning it altogether.  Unfortunately many employyes will leave their positions in reaction to these new policies.  A one-size-fits-all approach to working hours and conditions is likely to backfire.

Knowing how to motivate your team is vital if you are in pursuit of the greatest productivity.  Dynamic, forward-thinking organisations recognise the value of offering flexible working practices.  They reap the rewards from highly engaged staff who feel motivated and perform their roles to the best of their abilities.  This also lowers staff turnover and thus recruitment and training costs.

Others don’t give the flexibility they could, probably due to poor leadership and management practices and lack of trust.  This leads to some staff feeling de-motivated and under-performing.  Or they might even leave.

However, the ones who will leave first are likely to be some of your best people.  They are confident, competent and are likely to be sought after by your competitors.

The key thing is that some individuals love flexibility, others love being in the office and some like a mixture of both.  So your flexible working policy needs to incorporate the needs of each individual, and what makes them tick.

And your leaders need to be able to get the best from every individual, wherever they work.

Do you understand what makes your people tick, so you can make the most of flexible working in your team?

March 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Understanding motivators helps staff out of a rut

We all know that there’s a strong correlation between motivation and performance.  Recently a leader I was coaching had identified issues with a member of their team, and was trying to find them a role within the organisation that they would enjoy.

The employee had probably been in role for a couple of years longer than was healthy, so by now was very demotivated – the results being variable performance, and consistent mistakes.

The root of the problem was identified when we looked at their motivation profile.  They loved doing new things and solving customer problems, but their role just didn’t lend itself to this.  We discussed the risk of them leaving, but they insisted they wanted to stay at the company, in a different role.

New and exciting roles don’t come along every day, so the action plan here was to really focus on getting the mundane things completed quickly and accurately, to free up time to work on more creative areas.  As well as fulfilling the need for innovation, this approach is far more likely to lead to a new role, as the employee will be getting noticed for the right reasons.

So if you think you can’t get your staff out of a rut, think again.

February 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

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Alan Adair

Contact Details

Alan Adair

Extra Dimension
Helping you and your teams to be more engaged, motivated and effective.

21 Pelican House
Stone Close
Poole
BH15 4GE

Tel 01202 830047

Email alan.adair@extradimension.co.uk

Website
www.extradimension.co.uk

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