Whether we like it or not, gone are the days when an organisation could demand motivation, commitment and respect from their employees.  The reality of modern life is that most people have a much greater choice about where they work, how they work and who they work for.  The impact of this is that if employees feel that they are being taken for granted or not being engaged usefully, they have the very real option of ‘getting on their bike’ and working somewhere else.

So what should organisations and individual managers do?

Some organisations try to ‘buy’ commitment by paying huge salaries and big bonuses as they believe that is the best way to motivate and retain the best staff.  While money is important, everyone wants to be paid a fair wage for a fair days work, it is not the way to build a long commitment.  While bonuses may improve motivation and morale, they really only provide a short term motivational effect and can soon be forgotten.  If you believe that money is a big motivator – ask yourself this simple question – if you were paid twice as much, would you or could you work twice as hard?

Other organisations believe that the best way to keep staff motivated is through staff parties, off site team building events and regular social gatherings.  However, for those that already work long hours these can take them further way from their family and home life, and can act as barriers to gaining that extra commitment.

The sad truth of the matter is that many new employees are filled with anticipation and excitement on starting their new job, have all their interest and motivation squashed by managers and organisations failing to understand basic human motivations.  After working with 100’s of both public and private organisations, Developing People have identified a number of common themes about how to keep staff motivated and committed at work.  The organisations that have the most committed staff are where their managers:

  • Are clear about what they expect from their staff.
  • Consistently role model what’s important, and are consistent in behaviour.
  • Support their staff to learn and develop transferable skills.
  • Trust their staff to do their job and give them the freedom to make their own decisions (within guidelines).
  • Involve their staff in decisions that affect them.
  • Listen and pay attention to what their staff say.
  • Respond flexibly to the needs of their staff.

So what does this have to do with Management Training and Development?  It is no coincidence that organisations that invest heavily in Management Training and Development in general have greater levels of cooperation and commitment from their staff.  It is important to recognise that the skills needed to motivate others effectively can be readily learned and developed through the right management training and development.

In Developing People’s experience, those organisations that do not take the necessary time and effort to train and develop their managers experience:

  • High levels of stress levels and absenteeism.
  • Poor communications.
  • Too many meetings and slow decision making.
  • A general lack of trust and cooperation.
  • Managers and staff playing politics for their own personal gain rather than that of the business or organisation.
  • Unexplained changes to strategy and direction.
  • Staff generally disengaged and working ‘9 to 5’.

Ultimately, building a successful business or organisation relies on motivated and committed employees who will go ‘the extra mile’.  Organisations should stop expecting employee commitment to be a given and start investing in the training and development of their managers.