If I were to ask you what motivates your staff, what would you say? Perhaps you’d list the usual inducements – a steady pay cheque, varied and rewarding duties and responsibilities, employee benefits?
But what about the other things – less tangible but just as important – that get us out of bed, through the morning commute, and past the office door with a spring in our step and a smile on our face?
I’m thinking about the culture of an organisation – the values that shape our places of work from top to bottom and are reflected in everything that they do, whether this is the branding that they use, the qualities and attributes that are encouraged in the staff, or the make-up of their corporate responsibility agenda.
Some organisations have clear values and principles that are inculcated from the top to bottom of the organisation from the moment a bright-eyed new starter walks through the door to the moment they collect their leaving present on the way out.
Others may have clear values – or a clear vision of how their organisation could conduct its affairs – but if staff don’t know or aren’t regularly reminded that these exist, then what is the point? This is where good communications has a role to play. Communications isn’t –or certainly shouldn’t be- about chest-thumping and talking up your achievements as a way of improving your bottom line. It’s also an opportunity to motivate your staff and foster pride by clearly setting out your values as an organisation and celebrating those who do justice to these values through their work and conduct.
An example – a care home might have ‘commitment’ or ‘dedication to going the extra mile’ as something that is central to its ethos. What better motivation is there for staff to live up to these precepts than by seeing examples of colleagues who have done exactly that, perhaps by organising a party for residents in their spare time, or putting their practical skills to good use by creating a garden installation. A good communications programme can ensure that these examples are seen and heard by the right people at the right time. In turn, they can foster a sense of pride and motivation in an organisation – a sense that they are contributing to something other than an accountant’s spreadsheet.
And how motivating is that?