The current economic climate is resulting in many new challenges and difficulties for businesses and now that the situation has been this way for a while an important issue must be addressed – employee motivation.
As pay cuts and wage freezes are now the norm and staff are expected to carry out their jobs with fewer resources, keeping the morale of employees up is vitally important.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) communicating effectively with staff is an important way of achieving this.
Employees who understand the rationale as to why their salaries aren't increasing and the situation within the company are more likely to be understanding and patient with cuts.
Everyone appreciates being valued for the work they carry out and the CIPD's research found that rewards and incentives handed out to staff were based on performance in fewer than one in five companies.
Motivating staff can be done in other ways aside from salary increases and bonuses and even in more affluent times for the economy, these are not necessarily the incentives employees respond to the best.
Well thought out rewards which are appropriate for the demographic they are aimed at can be a great way to make sure that staff are singing from the company hymn book.
With resources low employees must be motivated in order to be more efficient and companies which don't invest in getting this right may miss out in the long run.
Employees must feel valued and appreciated for the work they do and that economic woes do not mean work has to be a miserable place to be.
2012 is likely to be a time when the general mood throughout business is low as the economic downturn has not just started, but been around for a while and people are getting tired of the austerity measures they are having to resort to both personally and at work.
Furthermore it looks like the current situation is set to continue for a while longer with the government predicting it will take more time than originally thought for economic recovery.
This means that now more than ever is the time to make sure staff are motivated – whether it is allowing them benefits such as flexible working or incentives and rewards or even the chance to take part in different experiences.
Bosses need to make sure they are in tune with their workforce as that communication works both ways – listen to what staff want and the changes which would improve their quality of work life.
January is also another issue to factor in and despite the fact that Blue Monday is behind us, it is still winter and the excitement of Christmas has been and done.
Motivational activities which give staff something to look forward to at this bleak time of year can be especially appreciated as employees count the cost of the festive period.
The government has recognised the importance of employee motivation and put suggestions forward, such as greater use of staff ownership tactics.
Companies, such as John Lewis, are run this way and by having a stake in the business it is thought that staff are more inclined to feel involved in the company, leading to better motivation.
There are many ways of motivating staff and different approaches suit certain businesses better than others, but the most important thing at this moment in time is that companies take the matter seriously.
A happy, well motivated workforce is a more efficient one and during these times of economic austerity it is important that every member of the team is pulling together.
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