Boost performance by motivating staff

11 Sep 2015 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 21 Sep 2016

As managers we need to consider how we continuously improve the performance of our staff. Research by The Incentive Research Foundation found that by motivating our staff it can boost performance by as much as 44%.

Five ways we can do this are:

1. Develop sense of purpose and fulfilment – show them how their role is valued, link into the wider organisational goals and what difference is being made. Sharing feedback from service users is a key way of doing this. Research consistently shows that the most powerful motivators are intrinsic: autonomy, fulfilment, purpose and a sense of progress.

2. Be aware of wellbeing – understand skills and strengths of staff and maximise these, as well as weakness or lack of confidence and how to manage and improve these. Giving opportunities to use their skills and be involved in new projects that will empower them. Also consider the environment that staff are working in – is there anything you can do to make it more conductive? Think of your policies regarding work life balance and how this impacts on motivation.

3. Acknowledge problems – support your staff and work through issues and challenges together. Encourage staff to come up with solutions and work together to resolve where possible. Recognise that there will be problems that you don’t have control over such as uncertainty of funding/contracts, increased demand for services and financial cut-back but agree a plan for managing it to reduce stress on staff.

4. Show appreciation and praise – this can come in a variety of forms from the informal thank you to the formal recognition events. When thanking your staff make it specific, timely and regular, also think about what the staff member would appreciate thus making it meaningful for them – eg out for coffee/lunch, card, mention in newsletter, email from CEO, reference at a team meeting. Thanks goes further than we think in motivating our staff - One4all Rewards surveyed 1,000 UK and 71% said they would forgo a higher salary if it meant they could work for an employer that regularly thanks its employees for their efforts; 34% claiming they would be very unlikely to leave a position if they were shown regular appreciation and praise.

5. Develop staff – supporting your staff’s ongoing professional development is key to keeping them motivated. Regularly reviewing the skills they need to do their job as well as developing new skills and competencies will show them that you are interested in their development and are prepared to invest in it. This can be through training courses, online training, coaching, shadowing someone else, attending conferences, giving them new tasks. For some career progression will be a major motivating factor for them.

Motivating and managing our staff better is something that most of us need help with. NICVA provides a range of training for managers to help them improve their skills and build their confidence. The sessions also provide an opportunity to network, share experiences and learn from each other.

Some training courses coming up include: ILM Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and ManagementILM Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management and the ILM Level 5 certificate in coaching and mentoring.'s picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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