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Roger Black: Top Tips to Employee Motivation

In 2016, Argos for Business worked with Roger Black MBE to explore the importance of motivation in the workplace. Employee Motivation Day is an event that encourages managers to put motivation to the forefront of business thinking and champions creative ways of engaging staff.

Roger has compiled tips for employers looking to keep staff motivated, using his experiences in the sporting arena and translating this into the workplace:

  1. Give your employees more responsibility

“In 1991, the British Team won a gold medal for the 4×400 metre relay team in the World Championships. In a brave move, and instead of listening to the Coach, we made the decision to change the running order the night before the race, and that decision ultimately resulted in a gold medal. The final for this race is still considered one of the biggest upsets in athletics, and is talked about regularly.

“By giving your team members responsibility to make decisions about what they do, you will see an increase in engagement and a greater commitment to tasks – because they have made it their own. Argos for Business’ research showed that taking on responsibility was the main motivator for over a quarter of UK employees, and this resonates in the workplace, as well as the sporting arena.

  1. Organise team building workshops

“In sport, you tend to spend every day with your team mates pursuing a goal, whereas in business you don’t actually spend that much time together. In fact, 21 per cent of the UK workforce say they receive praise and recognition via email, rather than face-to-face. You’re on the same team but you’re not actually physically together, day in, day out. The challenge is getting people to have face-to-face contact more regularly – this can be achieved by organising team building sessions offsite.

“We’re naturally social creatures, and have a desire to belong to a group, team or family. By working together, the British Team felt a greater responsibility to do well and perform better for the sake of their teammates – they didn’t want to let their team down.

  1. Make training available to your employees

“Athletes are driven by a desire to improve and get better at something. The British team were good at what they did, but we all had an innate desire to do even better, and find creative ways of improving and that drove success. By offering training to employees, managers can help them to realise their goals by giving them the education they need, and ensuring they learn about new aspects of business and even higher-level managerial skills they can use further down the line.

  1. Work smart, not hard

“Just because an employee clocks 15 hours at the office doesn’t mean they have accomplished things in a smart way. If your staff are putting in 15 straight hours at their desk, without breaks, will they produce quality work? Make sure you’re encouraging employees to take regular breaks and step away from their desks.

“In practice, hard work can get an athlete to the finals of a competition, but smart work will get the athlete on the medal podium. Hard work is not the only factor that will determine if the athlete is successful or not – many other factors will also contribute to the athlete’s success, such as practise, tactics, preparation and strategy.

  1. Set clear goals and offer words of encouragement

“Like my 4x400m team, different departments and teams within an organisation need to set team goals, whether that’s yearly, monthly or even daily. It’s also important that these goals are based on a clear collective vision to inspire the team, whilst making sure realistic targets have been set so that goals aren’t unachievable. With the goal in sight, employees will feel more motivated to perform to the best of their ability. As a manager, it is equally important to recognise the team’s hard work – for over a third of UK employees, all it takes is a simple ‘thank you’ to motivate them during the nine to five. “

Employees and employers can get involved in National Employee Motivation Day by downloading the motivation resource pack from www.employeemotivationday.co.uk, or by visiting the dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, using the hashtags #EmployeeMotivationDay #EMD #MakeTheTeam and #NatMotivateDay.

Adrian Webster’s Top Ten Tips for motivation…

“The key to being motivated is having a sense of progress, at the heart of which lies good goal setting.”

  1. Set yourself lots of small goals to stay focused and to give you a sense of progress – vital for long term happiness and job satisfaction
  2. Before starting a day’s work, just “step back” for two minutes. Take a few deep breaths, relax, unclutter your mind and picture your day ahead, and what you’re hoping to achieve. You’ll be far more productive
  3. Stay focused on the positives. Every organisation has it faults but unless you can change them, don’t waste your time dwelling on them
  4. Have some fun! Having fun helps people relax, bonds teams together, releases endorphins and is the bedrock of creativity
  5. Embrace change and don’t be frightened to make mistakes. Try out new things and regularly spend time on the edge of your comfort zone
  6. If you want to think outside your box, get out of your box! If you’re looking for new ideas, go for a walk. A different environment is likely to stimulate your brain and induce innovative thinking
  7. Never overlook the importance of the little things, the TNTs – Tiny Noticeable Things. They may be tiny but they create the biggest, longest lasting images
  8. Believe in yourself and be yourself; you’ll be surprised how many people will want to follow you and you’ll be astounded by what you are capable of achieving – especially when you pull together with those around you
  9. Don’t be a prisoner of other people’s thinking. If you want to successful, release all the childlike qualities that you had in abundance as a young child, be the most enthusiastic person you know and look at life through uninhibited eyes
  10. Start every day by drinking a glass of water to rehydrate your brain and help it perform at its very best