Keep motivating!

Whilst watch my favourite family film this Christmas, Scrooge (the wonderful Alastair Sim's version), I could not help but reflect on its lessons to us from an employment perspective. 

Let’s start with Ebenezer Scrooge himself, a man obsessed with money who treats his poor employee Bob Cratchit badly and his only significant relationships are destroyed by his greed and indifference. There is a lovely scene in the film where the spirit takes him back to his youth and he revisits a Christmas party held by his previous employer Mr Fezziwig who manages to keep all the staff happy with a party and celebrations all round. Scrooge remembers how little money it took to create a sense of comradeship and unity. It made me wonder what employers who do not have much money to spare will be doing to motivate staff to higher performance in the next year.

How people feel about their jobs and their workplace determines how motivated they are and we all know that there is a clear link between job satisfaction and productivity. Job satisfaction depends on a number of things such as tangible rewards like pay and benefits, which means that employers will have to ensure that they set the right pay rates and staff incentive schemes for their industries and sectors.

Job satisfaction also depends very much on the culture of the organisation the things that make you proud to be part of the team. There are many things that motivate people: 


  • Interesting and varied work
  • High quality training and development. Encouragement to study for professional qualifications
  • A culture where staff can talk to their managers openly and honestly
  • Authentic management and leadership which is consistent and genuine
  • Respect for appropriate work life balance. Offering the opportunity for flexible working
  • Fairness at work including promoting equality and diversity
  • Proactive and regular communication
  • Regular appraisal of performance and feedback, recognising the contribution of staff
  • Asking for feedback from staff, getting their views on the business
  • Recognition and reward for ideas
  • The chance to socialise with colleagues on a regular basis. 


Most of all it’s the simple human interactions that make a difference. The leader who recognises their staff and knows a bit about them: the organisation who decide that the small extra cost of providing free tea and coffee is worth it: the security guard that says hello with a smile. At one organisation I worked at my Chief Executive had an uncanny ability to know when we were really tired and fed up and would appear in the office and say “Right, feels to me like a night out is in order “. He understood his people, he knew we would work loyally for him and the organisation and that big bonus payments were not going to happen but the occasional night out with the team did the trick. I still also treasure a handwritten note sent to me by a very senior member of Government when I achieved an award. It was sent to me the day after the awards when the results were public. This person was so busy and had such an important job that I could not believe that the time was taken to write to me (and it was written not typed by a staff officer).  It made my day, my week and frankly my year! 

Little acts of kindness and recognition go a long long way.  What do you do in your organisation to keep motivation levels high? 




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