Paul Roberts, is a client director with internal communications company Business & Brand Engagement. He believes that when it comes to motivating their staff, too many managers overlook the role of effective communication: “Demotivated staff fall into two groups. Those who are committed to the cause but don’t know what they are doing, and those who have great intellectual energy but lack commitment.”
Build a clear understanding of your company’s objectives and you will get more of an emotional commitment to the business, consequently productivity should rise, he says. Remotivating the demotivated also means giving regular feeedback on the progress of the company itself to the staff through meetings and emails from the CEO.
You also need to give staff the chance to give their feedback to you and their managers. Apart from helping them feel involved with the business it is also enlightening for the management who get to hear things straight from the coalface.
Ian Buckingham, partner at internal communications firm Smythe Dorward Lambert, says that for maximum effect you need to maximise face-to-face communication between management and staff: “This is easier in smaller businesses, where the entrepreneur who started the company tends to be more visible, and offers day-to-day leadership. Don’t forget to talk to people, particularly during difficult trading conditions such as now. When organisations come under financial pressure, managers tend to disappear into their offices, but they must keep communicating.”
You also need to be honest about your financial position. That doesn’t mean handing out detailed profit and loss forecasts, just an appraisal of where you are and where you need to be. If not, all your words can just look like management spin. “People are pretty well educated and are cynical about communications that don’t match up to their perception of how the business is going,” says Buckingham.
Lastly don’t forget performance management, says Lambert. “Having an appraisal once a year isn’t enough. Worse, people feel they are being judged, when you should be telling them what they can do to help the business.”