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Survey shows that motivating staff is the key to having a high level of employee retention Back  
A recent survey by recruitment company Executive Connections showed that money was not the primary reason people leave their jobs. Hilarie Geary looks at how creating the right working environment with communication and motivation could could help you retain your staff.
If you have a team of people reporting to you, managing these people takes time, attention and care. Be the team small or large its performance is indicative of your management style and expertise. Your ability as a manager will not only be judged on your own performance but also on your team’s. People who are better performers are usually more motivated individuals says Hilarie Geary, managing director of recruitment firm Executive Connections Ltd.

Executive Connections recently conducted a survey with over 300 candidates from the financial services sector including fund management, treasury, investment services, and the corporate finance. The aim of the survey was to identify people’s main motivation for leaving their current employment. The average age group was 27 and the average income with these candidates was ?29,776.00 per annum.

The survey identified that salary was not the influencing factor in the retention of employees, rather that the decision was based on the following factors:
• 33 per cent said work environment/training & development
• 26 per cent said praise and recognition
• 28 per cent said compensation and benefits
• 6 per cent said security
• 7 per cent said prospects

Training and development is imperative in order to motivate individuals, as they will then feel valued. This is structured training with career management in mind for the team/individual. Praise and recognition in another word is motivation - everyone needs to be motivated.

As a result of these findings Executive Connections have been consulting with their clients and informing them of what steps need to be taken in order to rectify the attrition levels.
It has been identified that personnel are more demanding of their employers than in recent times. Your employees want to be involved, they want to be consulted and they want to be inspired to be creative within the work environment. They want to feel that whatever they contribute to the work place is genuinely valued, offers and element of enjoyment and certainly of satisfaction. When people are motivated in this way they are good performers.

Motivation matters
Motivation matters because it can provide the organisation increased efficiency, increased effectiveness and increased productivity.

In the last year a huge number of financial institutions have embarked on structured training and development programmes in order to career manage their employees. Executive Connections has seen certain clients introduce appraisal systems more in line with the career management of their staff, rather than the typical ‘tick the box’ questionnaire methodology. Communication levels have been worked on as a result, and attrition levels have plateaued within these organisations. So much so they have reduced from up to 50 per cent turnover in personnel down to 16 per cent in some cases.
The ‘satisfiers’ in work are normally the following;
• Achievement
• Recognition
• Job content
• Responsibilities
• Career
• Growth

It is important that a manager realises however that individuals vary in their own beliefs and feelings. We all need to be stimulated in different ways in order to succeed. It is often internal satisfactions that motivate people and many are not as dramatic as expected e.g. money is not the greatest motivator. Retention and motivation cannot be boosted, certainly long term simply by throwing money at them.

Although security did not rate top of the list it is becoming increasingly important again - so how do we offer security? Always provide a clear mission to your personnel and communicate it with clarity; provide clear job descriptions ; inform people as to how performance is measured throughout the company; ensure your people are working for the right kind of management; let there be no unnecessary secrecy.

Although as mentioned security doesn’t appear to be a strong reasons for people wishing to leave organisations - it can be a largely hidden aspect of people’s motivation.

Recognition of achievement is another vital part of good motivation. Recognition of achievement can be minor and momentary e.g. just saying ‘well done’ alternatively it can be major and tangible.

Job content
We all spend a major part of our lives at work. So it helps if we enjoy it. While some jobs are easier to motivate people in than others even if work is dull the workplace need not be! Remember even dull work can be made more attractive if communication is good. People will be happy if they know how they fit into the whole picture and see that their contribution is regarded as important and valued. Many managers have extended the scope of work adding or involving additional aspects that are there in part to motivate and thus retain.

Career management
No one likes to stand still - people like to feel that they are making progress. Making progress is motivational. Taking additional responsibilities can be part of that. You must work at giving your people something to aim at. Regular goal setting and evidence of real progress for an individual means that they will commit to your organisation for longer than if they think they are in a rut.
Advancement and growth - what is the difference? One is progress within an employers company and the other is movement onto a better job. Good motivators make people leave! The ultimate plan is to build a team but to retain them and maximize their performance as long and as much as possible.

At the end of the day managers must not only understand motivation in a general sense, they must approach it actively and systematically to create influences that constantly test, alter and enhance the internal office climate. Managers must look to the future and anticipate factors that could influence change around them and plan rather than respond. They must choose their plan well and it must suit the people around them.

Hilarie Geary is managing director of Executive Connections Limited.

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