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Staying motivated in tough times

Published on: 8 Nov 2013

Top tips from CIPFA Penna

It’s often said that variety is the spice of life, so when there is a distinct lack of variety in the workplace and employees face tough times, how do you keep your staff members motivated?

Feeling motivated and engaged at work isn’t always easy; even for the most upbeat people. Often our day-to-day tasks are repetitive and only utilise a few skills. However, finding ways to maintain momentum, particularly at a time when energies may be flagging in the public sector, is a good way to create a sense of purpose and drive in the workplace despite radical changes ahead.

In light of the Spending Round many public sector employees are currently facing tough times, so simply asking your team to “dig deep and ride it out” or “to buck-up”, won’t help to engage and motivate staff. It also won’t help to boost productivity. Despite an overhaul of public services well underway, employees still need to deliver core services, be productive and constructive.

Tricks of the trade to help motivate, engage and inspire your workforce Say thank you

Give positive feedback where it is due. This is such a simple thing to do, yet it is often the first task that is overlooked in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. By acknowledging and thanking an individual member of your team for a job well done, this will not only make the person feel valued but also it can make a huge difference in someone’s motivation. Go on say thank you!

Don’t hide behind email

Why not meet your team face-to-face? Rather than hiding behind emails meet your team members to really understand what motivates them to do their job well. Find out what makes them excited to come to work each day, and what can be done differently to incentivise staff members. Use a variety of methods to communicate with employees and actively listen to feedback. You may not be able to address all issues and concerns immediately, but tackling some of the major issues and discussing concerns can improve the office environment.

Break down repetition by adding variety

Encourage employees to change how they structure their day, as this will ensure that individuals use different skills throughout the day. Structuring the day so that employees are working on different tasks helps break the cycle of repetition, for example, instead of writing all day on Monday and then preparing presentations or reports on Tuesday, try to do both in smaller three-hour chunks each day. Stimulating different parts of the brain recharges motivation. This simple technique can help you and your employees to break out of the tedium of repetition.

Appreciate cultural differences

At CIPFA-Penna we are often approached to source new additions to a team and to ensure that this new staff member is someone who will suit the culture of an organisation. When switching from the private sector to the public sector, for example, there are quite a few cultural changes to embrace. Candidates who are able to do this as well as being excellent communicators will help to raise employee morale particularly in tough times.

Hire people who are skilled communicators

In the world of recruitment one of the most powerful tools we have is conversation. From a short discussion a lot can be gleaned about a candidate including, their suitability for a role, how they may come across in an interview as well as fully understanding what is driving their search for a new role. Verbal communication also requires a different skill set and one not everyone has. Being able to communicate effectively is a critical skill and assessing whether a candidate has it or not needs to be addressed at the outset. The right staff will contribute significantly to the motivation of a team, particularly someone with strong communication skills.

Use experts to boost morale.