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5 Motivation Techniques Used by Highly Effective Managers

5 Motivation Techniques Used by Highly Effective Managers

Remember Mr Motivator, the Lycra-clad fitness guru of nineties TV? He’s a prime example that motivation is personal; what inspires some annoys others. Which is why you need a range of approaches to engage and motivate your team. In this blog post, we set out some of the theoretical models of five motivation techniques you can implement to get the best from your people.

Motivating Factors

Search online for theories about motivation and you’ll find plenty of different approaches to the topic. The best-known is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that suggests people’s basic requirements must be taken care of before they are motivated to achieve higher level needs such as learning new skills.

Expectancy Theory postulates that individuals behave in a certain way because they expect a particular outcome. Both positive and negative outcomes, or the carrot and the stick, can be used to motivate behaviour.

Then there’s Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of motivation. He believed that individuals are influenced by motivational factors that lead to satisfaction and motivate employees to work harder. Examples include enjoying your work and feeling that your efforts are recognised. Then there are hygiene factors that can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation such as low pay or poor relationships with managers or colleagues.

These are just a few of the theories surrounding motivation techniques. The wide variety of models tells us that individual drivers differ from person to person and from situation to situation. Which means, as a manager, knowing your team is key. The following five motivation techniques give you a range of approaches to inspire your team.

1. Tell Your Team You Notice

Recognition is a powerful motivator because it shows people that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
From a simple thank you for a job well done to giving someone something of value to them. That could be a gift related to one of their hobbies, access to knowledge or training or something of cash value. If budgets are limited, here’s a great list of low-cost recognition options.

Knowing your team will help you align the right gift to their personal preferences making them valuable, not necessarily in cash terms, but in meaning. Don’t forget the tax implications of providing recognition in all its forms.

2. Establish Your Team’s Purpose

You’ve probably heard the noise about purpose being a key motivator for millennials. But the truth is, purpose is important for everyone because we all want to feel we contribute something of value.

Although the word ‘purpose’ has been translated to mean ‘doing good in the world’, your organisation’s ‘why’ doesn’t need to be altruistic. In reality, purpose means different things to different people; providing for family, making enough money to retire early or buy a house or being recognised as an expert in your field.

Help you team understand your organisation’s purpose then help them find their own. Once you know their work-life purpose you can find ways to help them achieve it.

3. Treat Your Team as Well as You Want Your Boss to Treat You

Employees expect their boss to do more than telling them what to do and when. While you don’t need to be friends with your team to be a good manager, you do need to treat your team well. This will reduce some of the main push factors that make people more likely to leave.

By taking a genuine interest in people’s problems, like work-life balance, listening to your team when they need to talk pays dividends in terms of improved loyalty and retention.

4. Take a Genuine Interest in Your Employees’ Futures

In business, many things can be unpredictable. However, career paths are something over which you can exercise a good deal of control. Giving people a reason to look forward and stay is a great motivator. By letting people know where they can take their careers and how to do it you’ll make them feel focussed and more certain. Plus, they’ll also be inspired to step up in their current role to demonstrate their capability for their next career move.

5. Show Your Team the Bigger Picture and Let Them Lead

It’s important for teams to understand how what they’re doing contributes to a bigger whole. Assigning individuals tasks and projects and explaining how they contribute to the overall business strategy is highly motivating. Asking your team to lead projects (or elements of projects) and team meetings to make them feel valued and show them that they make a difference. This allows them to share their opinions and be heard as well as motivating them to take ownership.

There are lots of different ways to inspire your team without donning Lycra. Now, go forth and motivate! If you need further help in this area, please contact us.

The True Cost of Absenteeism On Your Business

The True Cost of Absenteeism On Your Business

Can you afford all your employees to be absent from work for 6.3 days each year? According to the CIPD, that’s the average number of days UK workers are missing from their jobs. Absenteeism is problematic for employers because it means paying wages for people who aren’t contributing. But there are other expenses that impact your business in less obvious ways. This article uncovers the true cost of absent employees, explains how prevention is better than cure and ways to manage absence.

The True Cost of Absenteeism

Absence costs UK businesses over £18bn per year. The average annual cost of absence per employee is £522 in the private sector and £835 in the public sector which has more comprehensive sick pay and higher rates of absence.

But absence also results in some or all of the following additional burdens:

• Wages to cover temporary workers or overtime to cover additional hours worked by existing employees
• Reduced productivity as the replacement worker gets up to speed
• HR and occupational health service costs in terms of time and/or money
• Additional claims on private medical insurance which can impact your renewal price
• Decreased motivation as other staff experience disruption and additional pressure
• Potential loss of new business depending on the role
• Project deadlines and client satisfaction may suffer as a result

Employees suffering long-term absence can experience decreased skill levels, social isolation, loss in confidence and depression. This often makes returning to work more challenging resulting in additional support.

It’s clear that, depending on the various factors listed above, the true cost of absenteeism can be significantly higher than the compensation costs mentioned above.

The Main Reasons for Absence

Coughs, colds and other minor illnesses are the main reason for short-term absence followed by stress. Long-term absence also tends to be caused by stress as well as acute medical conditions and mental ill health. 25% of organisations report that non-genuine absence is within their top five causes of absenteeism. And, in line with changing demographics – including an ageing workforce and more women in the workplace – home, family and carer responsibilities also cause non-attendance.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

The CIPD’s Absence Management Report states that, over the past year, 50% of organisations have increased their focus on employee well-being with just 8% doing nothing at all. A third of organisations have a well-being strategy with smaller organisations tending to act on an ad hoc or individual basis.

To develop an appropriate approach for your business, you need to understand the challenges your workforce face. For example, if you employ women in their 60s, in nine to five desk jobs with a high emotional load, your wellbeing plan will be very different to a business employing men under the age of 50 doing manual shift-work.

Dealing with Absenteeism

Short term

A written absence/attendance management policy is a must for businesses so employees and managers knows what is expected. Other useful tools to manage short-term absence include:

• A requirement for absent employees to speak to their line manager so workload can be planned
• Trigger mechanisms to prompt attendance reviews and identify when absence becomes problematic
• The provision of information and support to line managers to help them identify absence problems and deal with them effectively
• Return-to-work interviews that set time aside for managers and employees to discuss any problems that are causing absences and provide solutions where possible
For support with sickness absence, our free download will give you a helping hand.

Long term

Common approaches to managing long-term absence include:
• Return-to-work interviews including assessments to aid a return to work; this may mean that adaptations to the workplace or a phased return to work are required
• Health promotion is a great way to ensure employees have good work-life balance, understand how to minimise stress and identify and deal with other common health issues
• Providing employees with support such as counselling and physiotherapy can speed up employees’ return to work either paid for on an ad-hoc basis or via an Employee Assistance Programme
• Providing employees with planned leave to take care of family or reduced hours can alleviate the problem of unplanned absences

The legal position of absenteeism

One aspect to be aware of in relation to absenteeism is disability discrimination. Even short-term absences can be caused by an underlying disability and this area of employment law that requires careful treatment.
As the CIPD notes, when smaller organisations “need external advice or guidance on absence management … [they] turn to an HR consultant.” Dealing with a potential disability case is the perfect time to seek support.
Disciplinary actions and dismissals.

Sometimes, an individual may have high levels of absence that are not sustainable for the business to bear. This can be grounds for disciplinary action or for a capability procedure to be followed. Dismissal may be an option but only once you have followed the right protocols. Our blog post, How to Safely Terminate Employment gives you more detail about how to do this fairly.

If you need support managing any element of your absence management or employee wellbeing strategy, get in touch on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

The Key to Managing Millennials

The Key to Managing Millennials

So-called ‘Millennial’s’, (those born between 1980 and 2000), get a lot of bad press and here’s how to manage millennial’s. A recent Daily Mail article devoted just under 1000 words to describing Millennial’s as “spoilt, full of themselves, averse to hard work and expect success on a plate”. It’s not for us to comment on the Daily Mail’s appetite for sensationalism but the article did raise a few questions as to how to get the best out of this much-maligned generation.

The key is understanding their values, skill set, ambition and aspirations. that’s how to manage millennial’s.

The millennial mantra: work, live, excel, repeat

There are over 75 million so-called millennial’s in or preparing to join, the workforce right now. To generalise that they all conform to the negative stereotypes the press circulate is just wrong. Within this massive group, there will be a diverse range of backgrounds, skills, attitudes, expectations and work ethics. Would you describe everyone in your generation as the same?

That said, there are key characteristics to the Millennial generation, that provide some clues as to how to get the best out of them:

• A busy social life, a desire to make friends at work and enjoyment of working as a team.
• A need for continual feedback, stemming from the feedback culture of modern schools.
• An urge for a healthy work-life balance
• An unprecedented use of technology in work and social life and ability to multi-task to get jobs done
• A desire to understand where their career is going and how they are being supported to achieve their objectives.

In simplistic forms, there is a culture in this generation to have a good work-life balance, but in a job, that provides both professional and social satisfaction and a structured plan for them to achieve their aspirations. Surely these goals are what most of us strive for? With that in mind, here are three tips to help you get the most out of how to manage millennial’s.

1. Recognise achievement and coach to improve performance

Recognition and feedback are vitally important for all workers, helping them to understand how they are doing, what they are excelling at and how to improve. Recognising achievement is an easy way to inspire and motivate your workforce, but something that’s easily forgotten, when the stresses and priorities of the working day take over. So, schedule time to recognise the achievements of your team.

Consider investing in social recognition software. Tools like Benefit One or Performly help you quickly and easily recognise success, publicly, giving your workers recognition in front of the whole company. This helps to create a culture of high achievement by encouraging peer to peer recognition. Some CRM systems like Salesforce or Dynamics have social networking or recognition tools built in, so be sure to find out before reaching to yet another piece of costly software.

2. Millennial’s are eager to impress so provide structure and leadership

Set clear goals, assign due dates for objectives and be sure to define the criteria for success. Then, set regular informal and formal reviews to measure progress, give feedback and recognise achievements. During these catch ups, provide leadership and guidance. Investing your time in coaching and developing your teams will lead to you being rewarded with high-quality work and an eagerness to impress.

3. Keep work varied to avoid boredom

Millennial’s are massive multitaskers. Having been brought up with the internet and technology, they will be adept at doing multiple tasks at once and in fact, they need this constant stimulation to be motivated. Boredom is the route to lost motivation so give your Millennial’s a variety of tasks and goals to pursue to make work varied and keep them on their toes.

Millennial’s tend to be comfortable working in teams so take advantage of this to spice up their day to day tasks with activities such as running work social events, taking charge of charity events or leading projects.


Managing millennial’s is more about embracing the changing nature of the workforce and the workplace, than pandering to the whims of a younger generation. Millennial’s are the future of business, no matter how you look at it, so it’s important to understand how to get the best out of them, rather than fight against their culture and values, to achieve your businesses objectives. For more advice about engagement, motivation, recognition strategy or any of the topics discussed in this article, get in touch by calling us on 0330 555 1139 or via email at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

How to boost productivity

How to boost productivity

Every business owner wants a more productive workforce and in these challenging times, it is vital that your team is working to it’s potential before you can even consider investing in further recruitment to grow your business. In order to maintain your position in the market, or overtake your competitors, a yearly increase in productivity is key. In most industries, productivity increases of between 10 and 25% are the order of the day. Can you honestly say that your team is delivering this year on year?

We could talk for hours on productivity factors as there are just so many things you should consider. As a starter for 10 here are our top 10 factors you should consider.

1. Great managers are worth their weight in gold

Managers play a vital role in delivering workforce productivity. They should be supported by HR to grow and develop to become great leaders. On the flip side, HR should endeavour to remove ineffective managers as they can be toxic to the morale and productivity of their teams. Managers must communicate goals and objectives clearly and hold employees to account. At the same time, coaching, mentoring and developing their teams is crucial to success.

2. Hire the right people

One of, if not THE most important factor you must consider is the people you hire. Work with your HR team to identify and employ high performers. People who will go the extra mile for both the business and to develop their own skill sets. Self-motivation is key and employees who are committed to personal development will be the key to driving your business forward. Even the best managers will struggle to motivate those who do not have personal drive.

3. Get your team bought in to the business strategy

Communicate the strategy of the business to your entire workforce and ensure that each team has defined and individual responsibilities in achieving this goal. Every employee should feel like a vital cog in the success of the business. The feeling of job satisfaction is often much more important to employees than financial reward. Share and celebrate successes and thank your workforce for the part they played. A simple thank you goes a very long way!

4. Control your control mechanisms

While it’s important for teams to be managed effectively, too much control can strangle decision making and employee development. It is a fine balance but one you must understand to create effective teams. Too little control can create waste and lack of focus. Too much can create blockages and hinder efficiency. Make sure you have the right balance.

5. Manage the working environment

There are so many parts of everyday office life that can have a real effect on the morale and productivity of the workforce. Get them wrong, especially if you have been informed of problems by employees, can quickly lead to a feeling of a lack of care and consideration. This in turn will have a knock on effect on morale and productivity. Take control of the simple things. Are there annoying lights flickering? Is it too hot or too cold? Are employees comfortable at their desks? Is it too loud or too quiet in the office? All these environmental factors play a part in daily productivity output.

6. The importance of goal and objective setting

Managers, teams and individuals should have goals and objectives that stretch them, but that can also be reasonably achieved with hard work. Employees should be coached to achieve them and praised for doing so. Goals should be measurable so progress can be easily communicated.

7. Prioritise objectives and tasks across the business

Throughout the business, tasks and objectives should be prioritised. This should filter down to teams and individuals so everyone is on the same page when it comes to the priorities they should make in their daily working lives. Many employees will spend hours on successfully completing a task. But if that task is of low priority to the business, then that time could be much better spent elsewhere.

8. Reward your employees

Monetary rewards have a big impact on performance and productivity. They should however, be tied to the achievement of goals and performance metrics. Monetary rewards on their own however are not effective at driving continual productivity growth. They should be used in conjunction with excitement factors and a team based company culture.

9. Encourage your teams to collaborate

Many processes and learnings can be shared between teams to improve efficiency. For example, if a team develops a solution to a problem it should be shared with others in the business that may also be suffering from the same challenges. Not sharing information and forcing each team to overcome the same obstacles by learning from their own mistakes is a sure fire way to lost productivity.

10. Ensure you resource effectively

Teams and individuals are often held back by resourcing issues. Perhaps they do not have an adequate budget to complete their tasks. Perhaps it is a lack of training or technology that is holding them back. Enable your employees to have the confidence to communicate these issues to their managers and empower your managers to provide solutions.

Contact us today to find out how you can boost your team’s productivity.