Are Staff Happy?

Received this recently and thought I’d share it because I believe it is relevant to the owners of all professional practices.

What are you doing to make sure that your team works together and stays together?

Editorial – Are Staff Happy?
By Steve Gold, Editor, Management in Brief

I’ve just got back from not one, but two business shows this week in, respectively, London and Birmingham, and the one thing that struck me was that – behind the smiles to customers – staff were not happy.

When I say unhappy, I mean unhappy with their lot in life as regards business, and judging from the off-guard comments, it all comes down to the managers at the companies they are working for.

Poor management? Quite possibly, so I was interested to see a news story from P&MM Motivation in which John Sylvester, the firm’s executive director, said that keeping employees motivated throughout the recession is “a marathon and not a sprint.”

According to Sylvester, the announcement that the UK `officially’ came out of its recession at the beginning of 2010 may have offered some encouragement of a positive outlook for the year ahead.

However, he says, nobody is really left in any doubt that the end is, in fact, nowhere near to nigh as the UK’s economy remains in its turbulent predicament.

“To see this dim light at the end of the tunnel only for it to be quickly extinguished again, as the patience and resilience of organisations and their employees is tested further, really brings home the truth that maintaining morale through this difficult era must be considered as a marathon and not a sprint,” he said.

Sylvester argues that motivation must remain high on the business agenda throughout 2010 in order to break through the brick wall that marathon runners meet in the final stages of their race.

Continual re-engagement, he says, is required in order to keep employees tuned into the changing company objectives so that they can head enthusiastically onto the next stage.

“Many job roles will have changed over the last year and feelings of job security may also be frail. Take the time to communicate with a workforce and inform them of what the organisation collectively requires in order to get back on top,” he explained.

The P&MM Motivation chief executive says that, on an individual level, managers should redefine each job proposition and set appropriate targets linked directly to the wider company goals.

They should, he observes, offer incentives for reaching these targets, as this approach to `sharing the fruits’ of success will be well received in an environment where pay freezes are the norm.

“All things going well, the need for further redundancies is less likely this year so employers are tasked with assuring staff of their job security,” he said.

The key to all of this, he says, is `recognition’ as this will help to ensure that employees feel valued and rewarded for the extra hard work, commitment and contributions that the current situation demands.

Sylvester claims that, if these efforts are not properly recognised, staff will quickly lose their enthusiasm and begin to set their sights on leaving once the recession has subsided.

In fact, he says, CIPD figures suggest that over a third of workers intend on seeking new employment as soon as the recession has subsided.

If managers can pre-empt this negative attitude by looking after valued staff now, they will weather the storm, as he quite rightly observes – the marathon is far from over.

I think he’s right too. As my experiences at the two business shows I’ve attended this last week clearly show, junior and mid-ranking staff in a large number of organisations are not happy with their employers.

We all have to pay the rent or mortgage, which is why most of choose to work as we do. When this recession ends, you can expect large-scale staff movements between companies.

As some companies will discover to their cost, when their most valuable staff start jumping ship.

Have a good business day.



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