Category: Staff Motivation (page 4 of 5)

How To Really Freak Out Your Workforce

Employers everywhere are facing many different challenges and this makes staff motivation very difficult.

Some companies are struggling with the decline of the manufacturing sector and related job losses.

Organisations in the resources-rich states are facing rising labour costs and skills shortage issues.

Businesses in the retail sector are trying to protect tight profit margins and decreasing sales volumes against the flight to online shopping.

No matter what the economic environment or challenges, all organisations need to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their workforce.

Maximising this efficiency and effectiveness can be done in all sorts of ways such as:

  • Employee Value Propositions (EVP)
  • Process improvement programmes
  • Training and development
  • Employee engagement initiatives
  • Employee retention systems
  • Performance improvement plans

There are all sorts of ways to successfully manage your workforce and many of these good ideas are discussed in the free HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide.


Not Our Recommended Approach To Staff Motivation

One method of staff motivation that is NOT RECOMMENDED is to give employees $10 if they can successfully guess which of their colleagues is the next to be fired.

In a post a couple of years ago on the US ABC News website, details were reported of a court case in the United States in which an employer found himself in hot water for trying to motivate his staff by running a “firing contest.”

Apparently the employer sent a company-wide memo telling staff they could win if they successfully guessed which of their colleagues would be fired next.

Once the winner had been chosen, the contest started all over again.

Unfortunately for the business, a number of staff resigned after they realised the whole thing was not actually a joke as they first thought.

Some might call this an “interesting” approach to employee engagement and employee retention.

Staff MotivationThe judge called it “egregious and deplorable.”

Either way, this employer won’t be winning any Employer of Choice awards anytime soon.

And in case you’re wondering, yes there were penalties involved.

The employer was required to pay large fines for issues relating to what we in Australia might refer to as constructive dismissal and harassment.

So, if you are thinking about implementing this novel method of employee motivation, perhaps you may be better serviced sticking with the good ol’ Employee Of The Month award until something better comes along . . .

You can download the HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide now.  


Understanding The Reasons Why Employees Underperform

Employers often ask us for information on the reasons why employees underperform.

Reasons why employees underperformToday the HRwisdom Blog is sharing some useful information for you to use.

However, first we should remind you to always seek legal advice before you commence any performance management proceedings which might ultimately end in termination of employment.

Depending on your location, click the appropriate link to get our recommendations for specific workplace law advice:

Each of the sites above contain a link to a free downloadable performance management documents, HR templates including a written warning letter template for you to use in your organisation.

As for information and hints on how to handle employee underperformance, we recommend following the details below as advised by Fair Work Australia.

Underperformance or poor performance can be exhibited in the following ways:

  • Unsatisfactory work performance, that is, a failure to perform the duties of the position or to perform them to the standard required
  • Non-compliance with workplace policies,
  • Rules or procedures
  • Unacceptable behaviour in the workplace
  • Disruptive or negative behaviour that impacts on co-workers.

Underperformance is not the same as misconduct.

Misconduct is very serious behaviour such as theft or assault which may warrant instant dismissal.

In cases of misconduct employers should seek specific legal advice about how to proceed before taking any action.

What are the reasons why employees underperform? 

There are many reasons why an employee may perform poorly.

Some of the common reasons include:

  • An employee doesn’t know what is expected because goals and/or standards or workplace policies and consequences are not clear (or have not been set)
  • Interpersonal differences
  • There is a mismatch between an employee’s capabilities and the job they are required to undertake, or the employee does not have the knowledge or skills to do the job expected of them
  • An employee does not know whether they are doing a good job because there is no counselling or feedback on their performance
  • Lack of personal motivation, low morale in the workplace and/or poor work environment
  • Personal issues such as family stress, physical and/or mental health problems or problems with drugs or alcohol
  • Cultural misunderstandings
  • Workplace bullying.

Underperformance should be dealt with promptly and appropriately by an employer, as employees are often unaware they are not performing well and so are unlikely to change their performance.

Best practice employers understand that issues that are not addressed promptly also have the potential to become more serious over time. This can have a negative effect on the business as a whole as it can affect the productivity and performance of the entire workplace.

Helpful hints

Dealing with underperformance can be challenging and confronting for employees and employers alike, but it does need to be addressed.

Managers need clear procedures, organisational support and the courage and willingness to manage the issue.

Provide training to managers on how to handle underperformance issues. It may be helpful to include role play workshops in the training material so that managers can learn how to approach matters in real-life scenarios. Well trained managers are better able to identify and address issues of underperformance.

If performance problems arise, it is crucial that they be resolved early. The longer that poor performance is allowed to continue, the more difficult a satisfactory resolution becomes, and the more the overall credibility of the system may suffer.

Not every underperformance issue needs a structured process. Explore other options for improving performance, such as the use of continuous feedback.

Remember that for performance management to be successful, the culture of the business should be one which encourages ongoing feedback and discussion about performance issues in open and supportive environments.

Ultimately, of course, an employee may choose to submit a complaint or claim against you (e.g. unfair dismissal, discrimination) even if you follow a very clear and proper process.

This is why we recommend you seeking early expert advice from here:


10 Simple Ideas To Improve Employee Morale

Thanks to Vlasta Eriksson for these quick and easy ideas to improve employee morale.

Ideas To Improve Employee Morale[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]our employees are the ones who help reach the collective goals of the organisation.

Hence it is very important to keep their morale up so they can work towards achieving better results.

Sometimes the plain and simple things in life are the most important ones.

It’s the same situation for the workplace.

Simple and well thought-out plans make all the difference to lightening-up staff morale.

Here are 10 steps that explain how any organisation can spend a few minutes and improve their staff morale at the workplace.

1. To reduce the stress level of employees, get rid of equipment that doesn’t work well such as computers, photocopier, fax machine etc and replace it. Make sure the supplies are always enough and the kitchen is stocked with provisions.

2. Allow them to work flexible hours. Employees also have personal commitments as well. Today, best practice workplaces are offering flexitime, part-time positions and work from home options more increasingly.

3. Give importance to the ideas and advice of your employees. Encourage them to speak up on different issues that relate to the organisation or themselves. Implement their ideas if practical and let people know of their contribution.

4. You can hold bake-offs and share morning tea or coffee because mornings are a great time to share ideas. Everybody can bring in some sort of baking confectionary. This can also raise some funds for charities that are widely supported by the employees.

5. A management expert believes that short messages should be delivered in person. Today, we live in an era where 40 percent of emails are not given any value. It means that rather than emailing the person who sits two floors down, just go and talk to him/her directly; it strengthens the relationship.

6. Offer your employees to sit with you for a day even if you are meeting someone. This will boost the morale of the employees up to a great extent and a give them lots of useful insight too.

7. Offer them advice on how they strive harder to make the best of their careers. Reimburse them for continuing education courses, professional seminars and lectures.

8. You can run contests and awards schemes. You can set a prize for something as simple as the best customer feedback received during the month.

9. Maintain a specific budget for entertainment. Arrange a team to decide the fair allocation of the budget for each quarter.

10. Celebrate the birthdays of your employees. It will not cost you to email your wishes. Every employee has a birthday so eventually no one is left out.


How To Train Staff (with a funny HR video thrown in)

How To Train Staff (with a funny HR video thrown in)

The issue of how to train staff is one of the key issues addressed in the free HR guide available for instant download at HRwisdom now.

In the HRwisdom Community Employee Attraction & Retention Guide, sixteen expert employee management practitioners from all areas of the human resources field offer their best employee attraction & retention advice.

How To Train Staff

How To Train StaffMuch of the information in the comprehensive free guide goes towards addressing staff development and motivation issues.

In the wider context, the free guide has been developed to help business owners and Human Resources professionals who want to fast-track their staff management success.

One such expert contributor is Anthony Sork.

Anthony Sork is the creator of the Employment Attachment Inventory. The world first, internationally patented business instrument used by leading organisations to increase employee attachment, reduce attrition and increase performance of new employees.

Anthony describes how it is easy to preach about the importance of induction in an employee’s level of attachment. However the challenges of managing that induction in a way that works for the employee, the business and the HR team can be confronting. He then shares excellent advice on effective inductions and how to train staff.

For instant download of the comprehensive free “HRwisdom Community Employee Attraction & Retention Guide,” click on Employee Attraction & Retention Guide or visit now.

Funny HR Video On Teamwork

To balance out the high powered ideas you’ll gain from reading the employee attraction & retention guide, we thought you’d might enjoy this short but funny HR video . . .


Remember, for instant download of the comprehensive free “HRwisdom Community Employee Attraction & Retention Guide,” click on Employee Attraction & Retention Guide or visit now.


The Attributes of the Best Employees

What are the attributes of the best employees within organisations?

The attributes of the best employeesToday’s HRwisdom posting comes from HRwisdom expert contributor, Drew Davies.

For over sixteen years Drew has been involved in business training, coaching and mentoring programs to leaders at all levels across all industry sectors.

HRwisdom asked Drew about his thoughts on what attributes should be considered when promoting employees within the organisation.

Over to Drew to explain the attributes of the best employees . . .

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] number of years ago I was working with a large timber company on a Quality Assurance project. I found myself having a meal with the Human Resources Manager and the Production Manager and over a fine bottle of red wine we had a discussion about what criteria we use when looking to promote people within an organisation.

Management over the years have looked to the old tried (but not necessarily true) indicators when promoting people from within and organisation, ie:

  • Length of service
  • Can they do the job
  • Level of expertise.

While these may be important, I would like to argue that they are not necessarily particularly accurate indicators of a person’s suitability to take on a supervisory, team leader or management role.

This article is the first in a series that will explore the myths and realities of this exercise which can at times be both frustrating and rewarding…

I believe that the first attribute that should be considered when looking at promoting a person in any organisation is their ATTITUDE.

It was Tom Blandi a French literary theorist and author who in 1907 wrote “Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force”.

A person’s attitude to work, life, family, friends, the world and others gives those around them an insight into why they do the things they do, and ultimately their character. How they treat their workmates, how they treat you (if you are their boss), and how they respond to their customers and clients. What do they say about your organisation? What sort of words do they use when describing the business?…is it “I”, “they” and “them” or “we” and “us”.

I am not saying that what we should look for is the “Yes” woman or man… someone who agrees out of fear, or some misguided “warm and fuzzy” response. Rather there is a respect and genuineness that sets them apart from their colleagues. They think through the issues and offer balanced and well thought out responses. What I am saying is that by watching a persons attitude will give you a rare insight into what is really important to this individual…and as we all know…attitude rubs off. If this person is going to lead a team, then they need to be someone whose attitude is not changed and blown around by the circumstances they find themselves in. Rather they exhibit one that in spite of what is going on around them they continue moving forward. Their attitude acts as a stabilizer in the “cut and thrust” of modern business practice.

Zig Ziglar well known author and motivational speaker writes “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.” Interesting and thought provoking words.

If the candidate has the right attitude, then a lot of the other qualities we will be talking about over the next issues will fall into place. The wrong attitude will block them.

Words like humility, self control, gratitude, stickability come to mind. Perhaps a useful exercise for you would be to write down what sort of attitudes would you look for in person who will take a supervisory, team leader or management role… Once you have done that think about what that person would look like if they did not exhibit those qualities. What does the opposite behaviour look like? Could you work with someone who exhibited that opposite behaviour?

To close let me leave with you this quote from Harry F Banks (I cannot find anything about him, but the quote makes sense) “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.”

Drew Davies

Drew’s passion is to encourage and challenge people to discover and reach for their potential, not just in business but in their whole lives.

For over sixteen years Drew has been involved in business training, coaching and mentoring programs to leaders at all levels across all industry sectors.

You can contact Drew via HRwisdom or by visiting:


Managing Generation Y In The Workplace

Managing Generation Y In The Workplace

Today’s HRwisdom Blog looks at managing Gen Y staff and comes thanks to HRwisdom expert contributor, Robert Watson.

Over to Robert . . .

Weekend papers regularly feature stories about “Generation Y” – the group of people born between about 1979 and 1999.

Managing Generation Y In The WorkplaceOnce a group attains a label, it follows that writers compile the quirkiest features of that group and turn it into literary entertainment.

However, being a business manager you have probably seen some of these people applying for jobs and perhaps you have even employed some and noticed that they are somehow “different” to your regular workers.

So, it will help employers if they can have an understanding of the characteristics of Gen Y.

Gen Y are commonly described as:

  • Very confident of themselves
  • Impatient
  • Quick to learn
  • Positive about the future, and
  • Spending significant amounts of time socialising using computers and mobile phones (and you thought they were wasting time!).

What if you are recruiting Gen Y people?

Unlike their parents, Gen Y don’t look in the newspaper waiting for job vacancies to appear each Saturday. No, they actively use search engines on the internet to spot advertisements and have them automatically sent by RSS feed to their mobile phones. Gen Y can literally send in their CV one minute after the job ad has been posted.

As an employer, you should be using the internet as your primary method of advertising vacancies.

Having said that, it can be smart to use a two-pronged approach.

First, place a small newspaper ad which shows your company name (brand), the job title, a reference to the more comprehensive internet ad and just enough words to excite Mum and Dad into telling their son or daughter.

Second, your internet ad (or website) should contain details to excite the potential Gen Y applicant:

  • Use fresh and bright colour so that your vacancy looks different from the bland text-only ads
  • Show photos or a video of your existing employees smiling at work (an informal but free method of recognising your best employees!)
  • Talk about growth and exciting future developments because Gen Ys want to see that your business is not stagnant
  • Mention technology where appropriate, and
  • You still need a basic description of what the work entails, remembering, however, Gen Y will be wanting to see if your workplace looks like an interesting and fun place to be. As an example, do school kids join fast food outlets because they want to cook 1000 burger patties in a shift? No! They join because they want to be part of a fun-loving team of young people.

What if your business already has Gen Ys?

With Gen Y, be aware that their loyalty to anything is often fragile. If they don’t like your workplace, they will leave and then start looking for other work (although we’ll wait and see what impact the global financial downturn has upon this characteristic). In contrast, the older generations would hang on in a lousy job until they had secured another job.

To a large extent, you need to entertain the Gen Ys, and there is a way to do this which will tap into their impatience and their need for fast-paced learning.

Consider setting up a Learning Log which is a plan of all the topics needed to be mastered before a person can be considered for the next position. Although the topics might be broad, the individual sub-topics will be small and very quick to learn. Training policies help plan for such learning.

An Example: A Supermarket Business

Level 1 Check-Out Operation

  • Opening the register
  • Greeting the customer
  • Operating the conveyor, scanning and packing bags
  • Transactions – Cash, Credit cards, EFT, Cheque
  • Failed scans and Sale items
  • Shutdown and Balancing the till

Level 2 Front End Supervision

  • All aspects of Check-Out Operation, plus
  • Accessing the safe
  • Handling returns
  • Responsible sale of cigarettes
  • Dealing with abusive customers
  • Confronting suspected shoplifters
  • Emergency evacuation drill coordination
  • Rostering of staff.

In the past, a business might train all of these things in a single four hour session of mostly theory.

However, with Gen Y you would use a staged approach, with separate lessons over a period of time. Each mini-lesson would have a small amount of theory, then a walk-through of the appropriate Standard Operating Procedure and, finally, an appropriate number of hours doing the activity under the watchful eye of your most experienced supervisor.

Short, sharp lessons building up towards the end point makes for a program which engages the Gen Y employee.

The Bottom Line:

Rather than shaking your head in frustration at Gen Ys, your challenge is to tap into their many strengths so that your business can ride the fast wave into the future.


Just For Fun – How To Welcome New Staff From Overseas

At HRwisdom, we talk a lot about being proactive and taking positive steps to ensure a motivated and high-performing workforce.

How To Welcome New Staff From OverseasToday, just for fun, we’re sharing one option you may wish to consider.

No doubt about it – this method is guaranteed to ensure you have sky high employee engagement levels – it just might take a little more planning (and rehearsing) than usual.

If you do any international recruitment and you’re worried about employee turnover and the associated costs . . .

This is one fun example of how to welcome new staff from overseas.

Remember to share it with friends and colleagues.

Video On How To Welcome New Staff From Overseas

Feel free to share this.



Watch This Powerful HR Video Presentation On How Great Leaders Inspire Others To Take Action

Today the HRwisdom Blog is sharing with you a powerful HR video that should serve to inspire you and any person leading people in any type of organisation.

How Great Leaders Inspire OthersWhen describing how great leaders inspire others to take action, the speaker shares such legendary examples as Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.

By the way, we have a lot more excellent management information to share with you.

Make sure you are part of the HRwisdom Community (it’s free).

Just use the form over on the right below to get started.

Then watch the video presentation.

Remember to share this on Twitter and Facebook.


Measuring Staff Performance – Take Out The Hassle

There is often a lot of discussion within businesses about the best methods of measuring staff performance.

The ability to develop and maintain a high-performing workforce is key to success, or even survival during economic hard times.

Measuring Staff PerformanceToday, we turn to expert HRwisdom contributor Leon Noone for some excellent advice on staff motivation.

Leon established his management consulting business in 1978. His core business is helping managers in small-medium business to improve the day to day job performance of their staff.

Leon offers you his usual straight-talking advice on how to take the hassle out of measuring staff performance.

Over to Leon . . .

Practical Performance Appraisal: Measuring Staff Performance Successfully Without Filling Out Forms

The term “performance appraisal” usually means filling out forms, reviewing employees’ work, a formal interview and planning development or remedial activities. And it’s often a hassle. It shouldn’t mean any of that.

Performance not Politeness

Formal performance appraisal systems often ask managers to comment or rate all sorts of things.

Some of these are not only difficult to judge, but have little or nothing to do with performance: demeanour, presentation, co-operation, initiative, attitude, to mention a few.

Make sure your performance appraisal is about performance – the results that the employee achieves on the job.

Performance and Behaviour

I’ve read lots of definitions of these words. The best I’ve found is this: “Performance is what you leave behind. Behaviour is what you take with you.” (Tweet this quote now)

Managers often allow employee behaviour to interfere with evaluation of their performance. When this happens, “good” behaviour often masks poor performance and “poor” behaviour overrides good performance.

A large international company once sought my advice about the behaviour of their leading salesperson.

This person had averaged more than 30% over sales budget for 3 years. But his paperwork was poor.

The company was seriously considering “letting him go” due to the poor paperwork.

I suggested that they employ someone to keep his paperwork up to date and give him more time in the field where his performance showed that he clearly excelled.

Clear Performance Standards

To measure performance you must have clear measurable performance standards.

If you don’t tell your employees exactly what performance you expect, how can you measure whether they provides it? That’s the purpose of performance standards.

You Get What You Expect

Expect the best.

Explain to employees exactly what you mean by “best” and how you’ll measure it.

Create systems to enable them to attain “best”. Do that and you’ll probably get “best” or close to it.

Fail to do it and you’ll be lucky to get third best. That’s what employees will believe you expect.

The best thing a manager can do for employees is to put systems in place that make it impossible for them to fail.

Appraisal Daily

You should be measuring employee performance at least weekly and preferably daily.

This is simple, precise and fast when you have clear, measurable performance standards.

If your standards are clear enough and your systems are sound enough, your employees will know how well they’re doing long before you do. They will measure their own performance through the system. And you’ll know too.

Stay Informed and Prepared

Good systems and clear performance standards are the cornerstones of superior staff performance.

With these in place, you’ll have ready access to the information you need to decide “how well they’re doing”.

And so will employees.

If you want to have a formal interview with an employee, you’ll have plenty of time and be well prepared.

Abandon The Appraisal Form

Filling out an elaborate form once every six or twelve months is nothing more than a bureaucratic construct created by HR specialists more interested in bureaucracy niceties than measuring performance. (Tweet this quote now)

It also requires managers to review work over an almost impossibly long time.

There’s no need for it. Stop doing it.

Use Performance Standards and Systems Instead

Today’s technology means both manager and employee can tell how well the employee is performing monthly, weekly, even daily.

Make employees responsible for measuring their own performance.

You shouldn’t have to wait six or twelve months to find out.


There’s no need to complete a form in order to undertake a successful performance appraisal.

In fact, filling in elaborate appraisal forms is likely to hinder rather than help successful appraisal.

Make employee performance a daily concern.

And expect the best.

How To Measure Staff Performance

Thanks to Leon for his excellent advice on how to get the best out of your employees. Such advice is well-timed as businesses face trying times as the economy continues to suffer.

We encourage you take action on Leon’s advice.

Remember, you can learn more about Leon and his excellent HR services by visiting his website here: Leon Noone.

Finally, as always, we welcome you to share this HRwisdom Blog post with your friends and colleagues.


The Main Workforce Management Mistake Made During A Slowdown

When times get tough, there’s one big workforce management mistake that tends to get made by many businesses . . .

Employee engagement falls off the radar.

The Forgotten Case For Employee Engagement

It depends on who you talk to, of course, but most HR-minded folk would agree that there is a fairly strong business case in favour of increasing employee engagement.

After all, here’s what the hugely influential Gallup organisation had to say about employee engagement as part of their ongoing assessment in which they interviewed more than 3 million employees since 1997:

Employee Engagement“Engaged employees are clearly more valuable to your company than disenchanted ones. Great managers and leaders know this instinctively, and The Gallup Organization’s latest research into employee engagement levels among the U.S. workforce confirms it. In fact, according to Gallup’s calculations, actively disengaged employees – the least productive – cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.”

At an individual employee level, Gallup calculated that each disengaged employee costs businesses approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 paid in salary. Click to tweet

In contrast, Gallup suggested that engaged employees were far more productive and profitable due to their very strong customer focus and heightened sense of self-accountability. These types of employees were also noted as being stayers – their average tenure within organisations is longer and so they continue to contribute to economic grow over the long term.

In an economic downturn, this sort of real data and positive reviews would reasonably be expected to lead all organisations to eke out maximum business performance by further encouraging employee engagement efforts.

However, we continue to see industry surveys and reports that show that many employees are either dissatisfied or actively disengaged in their work.

In Australia, a recent large-scale workforce survey conduct by Insync found that just over half of all people voluntarily leaving their employers were doing so due to disengagement. Click to tweet

A Focus On Survival

The most likely reason for a company’s loss of focus in this vital area is the simple need for survival.

In tough economic times, many organisations will focus all their energy on purely operational matters.

Some short-sighted companies have seen the economic downturn as an opportunity to get rid of the ‘dead wood’ but such an approach is rarely done with longer term consequences in mind.

Jack Welch became known for his tough approach to performance management and firing but he was careful to combine this with a very strong focus on employee engagement for those who remained.

Organisations that lose sight of the needs and expectations of their workforce at any time place the future in jeopardy.

This is especially true in hard times.

Indeed, our friends over in the UK recognised this fact with a report commissioned by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills arguing that: “wider delivery of employee engagement could have a positive impact on UK competitiveness and performance both during the downturn and in powering through to recovery.”

How To Benefit From A Recession

A time of recession or low growth is exactly the right time to be maximising the performance and discretionary efforts of the workforce.

Any person who thinks that an economic downturn is no time for achieving businesses management excellence should keep in mind the findings from the well-known Kauffman Foundation study of a few years ago. The study revealed that just under half of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies and 57% of the Fortune 500 companies had been founded during a recession or bear market. Click to tweet This included many companies that value and encourage discretionary effort and staff motivation such as Sears, General Electric, 3M, Ford, Boeing, State Farm Insurance, and Delta Air Lines.

Tough trading conditions are no excuse to drop the ball by not seeking maximum levels of staff motivation. In fact, they offer proactive businesses a competitive advantage.


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