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Alternatives to bonuses?
28/06/2011 at 14:51 by Career dilemmas (6 posts, registered: 03/05/2011)I'm an HR Director in a medium sized organisation. We have faced, and are still facing, unprecedented economic uncertainty and have had to change some operating practices as a result. My team are constantly struggling with the issue of ensuring staff remain motivated and genuinely engaged at a time when there is so much uncertainty and limited scope to grant inflation-beating salary increases and bonuses. How can we go about ensuring our staff are engaged in the business without the option of financial incentives?
29/06/2011 at 13:13 by James Brook (1 posts, registered: 02/06/2011)In many corporate environments, there is an overriding assumption that all people are motivated in the same or at least similar ways. Strong emphasis is placed on rolling out “one size fits all” solutions that may appeal to some employees, but generally fall short of engaging the vast majority of people. Moreover, the lion’s share of effort and resources allocated to motivate employees are targeted at what can loosely be referred to as “carrot or stick” approaches. However, these often fail to take account of the most critical aspects of motivating individuals – the need to help people feel more valued, appreciated and significant at work.
Our experience suggests that rather than seeking quick-fix, generic solutions to improve motivation and engagement, the starting point should be to understand employees’ unique strengths, talents and aspirations. We define strengths as “underlying qualities that energise us, contribute to our personal growth and lead to peak performance” (Brook and Brewerton, 2007). HR professionals can help line managers implement a more durable strengths-focused system of motivation and engagement through a powerful 4-stage change process we have developed. This involves building awareness of employees’ strengths, skills and abilities (their “sweet spot”); taking action to translate their strengths and talents into productive and energising rituals, developing agility to foster speed, precision and ‘stretch’ in the face of changing situations and ensuring progress and achievement is recognised and celebrated.
By helping employees explore and understand activities, relationships and work conditions which energise them and enable them to bring the best of themselves to work everyday, organisations will be building strong levels of engagement and sustainable competitive advantage which will last well beyond the next bonus or commission cycle.
13/07/2011 at 20:41 by Kristin Hull (1 posts, registered: 06/03/2011)Hi, everything I've read about employee engagement (see the TowersWatson surveys, available for free!) seems to favour the relationship with the line manager and feeling the organisation offers good opportunity for development, over salary. It varies by country but I didn't see one country that put salary first. If you could put together a development programme that makes line managers better at say, coaching their team members, or a mentoring programme, perhaps this would have a longer-term and bigger impact than bonuses or incentives. Also mentoring could take the place of the knee-jerk sending someone on a training course, and of course offers development to the mentor as well as the mentee. Hope that's interesting.