Engagement and Motivation in 2013 - How and why managers will be the key to engagement


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Every organisation big and small faces similar challenges in delivering and sustaining performance in 2013.

Reward and recognition should play a role but focussing on employee engagement is critical.

As we head into this New Year, the superstitious may want to look away. Long gone now is the auspicious 2012 which, thanks to the Olympics and Paralympics, reminded
us just how we can be when we work together and get behind a common goal.

Instead, the next year, ending with an unlucky ‘13’, looks like another uphill struggle for those of us in business, as all the signs show we are unlikely to be blessed with an immediate improvement to the commercial and economic environment which has
jinxed us since 2008.

But, if there is one thing we learnt from the sporting achievements of 2012 it is that great performance doesn’t just come down to luck. The truth is you can ensure you have the best chance of coming out on top by getting the way you manage your people right in the first place.

With this in mind, it is time for organisations who want to succeed in the coming year to redouble their focus on the environment they create for their people.

So what should those organisations interested be thinking about? On the surface the answers are deceptively simple.

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Engagement and Motivation in 2013 - How and why managers will be the key to engagement

  1. 1. Engagement andMotivation in 2013:How and why managerswill be the key to performance
  2. 2. ContentsIntroduction 3Why managers matter 4Partnering to engage 6Providing the right support 8Getting the tactics right 10Opening up the loop 12Conclusion 14 2
  3. 3. IntroductionEvery organisation big and small faces similar challenges in delivering andsustaining performance in 2013. Reward and recognition should play a role butfocussing on employee engagement is critical.As we head into this New Year, the superstitious may want to look away. Long gonenow is the auspicious 2012 which, thanks to the Olympics and Paralympics, remindedus just how we can be when we work together and get behind a common goal.Instead, the next year, ending with an unlucky ‘13’, looks like another uphill strugglefor those of us in business, as all the signs show we are unlikely to be blessed with animmediate improvement to the commercial and economic environment which hasjinxed us since 2008.But, if there is one thing we learnt from the sporting achievements of 2012 it is thatgreat performance doesn’t just come down to luck. The truth is you can ensure youhave the best chance of coming out on top by getting the way you manage yourpeople right in the first place.With this in mind, it is time for organisations who want to succeed in the coming yearto redouble their focus on the environment they create for their people.So what should those organisations interested be thinking about? On the surface theanswers are deceptively simple.The starting point is the non-negotiable in successful performance: employeeengagement. We need to make sure managers and people who keep our customershappy are committed to what we are trying to achieve. After that we need tosustain that engagement and motivation and then we need to ensure we focus onmonitoring the extent to which we are succeeding as a result.But achieving all this is slightly less straightforward. Of course, the quality of thereward proposition we develop and deliver to our employees will have an impact onthe extent to which we can encourage the right behaviours. But this is only part ofthe answer.Organisations can’t just rely on central schemes and plans to deliver engaged andmotivated employees. What employees really want is personal recognition and ahuman touch. Here it is not the size of the salary or reward budget that dictatessuccess but the role of the manager that matters.This thinking is at the heart of this whitepaper.Over the next few pages we will examine the role of the manager and what we thinkpeople in HR, reward and benefits should be doing to make sure managers in theirorganisations are their partners in delivering performance. “What employees really want is personal recognition and a human touch” 3
  4. 4. 1 Why managers matterThe people closest to the front line are the ones we have to trust to transformperformance through improving motivation and engagement.One of the items at the top of the wish list for most organisations, big or small, is thedesire to improve motivation, engagement and performance. Here, among all theinnovative schemes we develop and tactics we deploy to achieve this, is one key partof the motivation mix that rarely gets the focus it deserves - the role of the manager.Managers matter immensely in every organisation that is serious about motivationand engagement.The first area where they make a difference is as the link between strategy anddelivery in an organisation. It is only through effective partnership with managersthat organisations can effectively execute future plans. Managers - particularly frontline managers – are the ones who we must rely on not just to transmit orders but tomotivate and inspire our employees.The second area where managers matter is in communication. People may sit up andlisten when senior managers walk the floor and sit with teams in an organisation.But their influence is fleeting and it is the line managers who work with them everyday who are the ones who really matter. They are the people who can deliver themessages that matter in a language our employees will listen to. It is all too easy tolet emails, leaflets and posters from head office wash over you without taking noticebut consistent face-to-face communication from a line manager is harder to ignore.The third area where managers have influence is around trust. They are the face ofthe business who know each employee in the team, a bit about each person’s life andwhat makes them tick. In many organisations, the loyalty and affinity of an employeewill be to their line manager rather than the centre or the top of an organisation.They are the ones who notice the achievements and the shortfalls in the team andhave the power to reward, promote and personalise the recognition we give ouremployees.Of course many organisations understand some if not all of these attributes ofmanagers, which is why they are deployed for cascading messages and teambriefings around targets and priorities.There is, we believe, the opportunity to go much further, to rethink the tools we giveto managers to motivate and engage employees and increase their ability to do thatjob for us. Our job in the coming year has to be to put these managers at the heart ofwhat we do.“Managers are the face of the business who know each employee in their team and what makes them tick.” 4
  5. 5. At a glance - why managers matter• Managers are the bridge between strategy and execution in our organisations• They are critical for communicating what needs to be done and motivating employees• Their knowledge of what makes employees tick and how we can relate reward to individual achievements is highly valuable• If we want better engagement and performance we need to give managers better tools to work with 5
  6. 6. 2 Partnering to engageTo deliver improved and sustainable levels of performance we need to rethinkthe way we engage with our managers.If the managers in our organisations are the people who hold the key to increasedmotivation then it is our job to create a framework which gives the best chance ofthat happening.Here, we think the starting point shouldn’t be the strategy and tactics of reward butseizing the opportunity for those of us in HR, benefits and reward to rethink ourapproach to providing that support for managers.At the heart of our thinking is that if we are to get more out of our managers by wayof motivation and engagement, then we need to start by getting closer to them. Thepriority areas we see here are as follows:• ake it a collaboration. Get out of your office and talk to the people who actually M use the tools you give to them to understand the support they need and what the blocks are to motivation and making the most of reward and benefits.• Take time to understand how they work. Whether your organisation is big or small, the reality of how managers work with their employees is best understood first hand. That way you get an idea about which communications and initiatives are simply disregarded and those that really work. This insight can make your benefits communication work better and link more meaningfully with managers and employees.• ake it real communication. Communication is a two way process of listening and M talking. We often do all the talking and only listen in the form of surveys. Take time to listen to the detail of what managers have to say about what they need and find out why they are saying it to show you are engaged with their needs and priorities.• ake action. Make a pledge to treat your managers like partners and take action T where you need to, explain when you don’t and communicate what you are doing.This partnering is critical for creating a closer relationship between central corporatefunctions and managers and creates the foundations for your refreshed strategy,focused on the manager, to work. “If we are to get more out of our managers by way of motivation and engagement then we need to start by getting closer to them” 6
  7. 7. At a glance – a partnership approach• Those responsible for motivation and engagement need to get closer to managers as a first step to improving performance• Listening to managers’ needs will give better insight into the tactics and communications which can work in reward and how you can help them• A partnership approach will strengthen engagement with any changes you make as well as support future delivery of reward strategy 7
  8. 8. 3 Providing the right supportFor our managers to make a difference to performance we need to give themthe right tools to do the job and ensure they understand their role in motivatingemployees.The ability of our managers to make a difference to motivation, engagement andperformance will depend entirely on the framework we create for them to work with.A good framework will focus on ensuring managers understand the context andpurpose for reward and recognition. That means making the following explicit:• Behaviours – clarifying every manager’s understanding around the things employees need to do in order to be rewarded. The link between specific behaviours and business targets should be explicit.• Values – Ensuring behaviour is aligned to the way your organisation wants to do business.• Expectations – Specifically explaining their role in reward and recognition and why it is important.Working hard to establish these foundations with managers will ensure there is athread of steel linking individual performance to business performance and rewardfor the right behaviours.If this is to work effectively, we need to work hard to ensure that we bring our ideasaround performance, reward and recognition alive in the minds of our managers sothey can easily translate our strategic intentions into day-to-day interventions.Here, if we rely on the usual internal communications channels, there is a real dangerof things getting lost in translation. We believe that in order to make a real differencethrough managers we need to work harder with them to understand their role indriving engagement and motivation. There is no perfect template we can apply toevery organisation as managers on the front line can vary in their sophistication butcore areas to focus on should cover:• Insight - ensuring those with management responsibility understand the drivers behind work and motivation and how these impact on reward.• Training - developing and maintaining management skills which underpin employee performance, especially around the role of giving timely and constructive feedback.• Clarity – modelling the different types of reward available and explaining how and when they should be given and what the priorities are.• Control – trusting our managers and giving them the authority to deliver reward and recognition to an agreed budget over an agreed time. 8
  9. 9. • Feedback – the opportunity to discuss change, challenge and opportunity in the way reward is delivered based on the needs of the manager.Although the adoption of a specific training and development programme focusedon the role of managers in performance may be desirable, we have to accept thatit is unlikely for many organisations to do this. So what is needed from those of usresponsible for reward and recognition is to influence current policy, training anddevelopment to ensure these areas are prioritised and for us to take a lead withworking directly with managers on this agenda. “We need to help managers translate strategic intentions into day-to-day interventions.” At a glance – creating a framework for managers • The starting point is to ensure a strategic link between behaviours, reward and business outcomes. • We need to give our managers better knowledge to increase their ability to improve motivation and engagement • This means focusing on training, development and support through partnering if we are to make a difference to our managers 9
  10. 10. 4 Getting the tactics rightFormal recognition schemes need to be part of a wider reward mix which arepersonalised and relevant to our employees.A critical element in the toolbox for managers is the ability to reward in a waythat is right for their employees. While organisation-wide schemes are importantin ensuring consistency in reward – as well as the ability to measure inputs andoutcomes from our investment – we need to make sure there are more dimensions toreward than this.From our work with clients we believe there are five areas where we should behelping every manager in order to improve front line motivation and performancethroughout an organisation.1. Praise – it costs nothing but the effort of saying thank you or well done, but praise is a frequently undervalued reward for employees. That isn’t just about hitting targets but recognising the right behaviours, development and team work. A culture of positive feedback should be the first tool managers use in nurturing motivation.2. Informal recognition – these are the opportunities to buy a colleague lunch, bring in biscuits for the team or leave chocolates on the desk when they have been working hard or going the extra mile. Some managers will spend their own money to say thank you, far better to give managers a small budget for this each year to encourage a culture of informal reward – you can control and monitor this if you use vouchers or preloaded gift cards.3. Discretionary recognition – for some employees the best reward is extra flexibility whether this is the opportunity to come in late after an intense period of work, rejigging shifts to create a holiday and some time out or simply the opportunity for time off. HR policy is there for a reason but managers should be allowed to show small discretion in these areas to show your organisation appreciates the efforts of your employees.4. Formal recognition – of course there is also a role for formal recognition schemes which support the organisation in achieving specific objectives, whether this is customer services, sales or identifying cost savings. The key is to make sure that the reward in question is achievable and relevant for the group of employees you want to motivate. For many organisations, breaking down recognition and reward for specific teams will pay dividends in increased performance.5. Personalisation and timing – cutting across all of these routes for recognition is the need for managers to understand the best context for reward. Where some employees thrive on public recognition, others are embarrassed. The individual circumstances should also dictate the type of reward a manager uses. And of course every manager needs to make the most of catching someone doing something good by delivering timely reward. 10
  11. 11. One area which also needs to be addressed in reward and recognition is amechanism for dealing with unmotivated employees. These are the wreckers whocan disrupt teams and stop others from engaging with the efforts of managers. Here,again, we need to work with our colleagues to influence HR policy and clarify tomanagers the route available to them and the actions to take where this is an issue. “Reward needs to be multi-dimensional if it is to be effective” At a glance – getting reward tactics right • Organisations need to give managers the right tools to motivate their teams • This should include a mix of formal, informal and discretionary reward • Personalisation and timing of reward are critical in motivating and engaging employees • We should also take steps to deal with demotivated employees. 11
  12. 12. 5 Opening up the loopOpening lines of communication with our managers, listening and acting on ourfeedback will allow us to ensure there is an ongoing dialogue and importanceattached to reward.Perhaps one of the most powerful ideas for putting managers at the heart of rewardis for those of us responsible for developing the strategy and proposition to act as abusiness partner for managers rather than a distant support function which dictateswhat they should do.Adopting a partnership approach and listening to managers, as outlined earlier inthis whitepaper, is the first step towards this. However, this is just a start and there areother behaviours we need to adopt if we are to champion the role of managers.The first of these is to act as a partner in communication and for us to really own thedelivery of messages about performance and reward to teams across the business.Of course we can’t be everywhere at the same time, but working directly with groupsof managers, providing informal support and helping managers with employeecommunication, are all areas we can support.The second area we need to consider is maintaining a dialogue with managers,making it clear we are open to feedback, challenge and discussion. Often it isin the course of these conversations we can really strengthen and support themanagers’ understanding of their role. This also allows us to act as a return channelof communications which identifies problems and issues with motivation andperformance way before they appear in formal employee surveys or at review time.The third area is around sharing results. It is the lot of managers in manyorganisations to tow the corporate line and follow initiatives with little sense of howtheir contribution has made a difference. We need to make a point of sharing thesuccess – and equally areas to improve – of the reward and benefits initiatives we putin place and deliver through our managers. Part of that also needs to involve givingthem the freedom to explain why they think engagement and motivation is workingand come up with ideas for change.By taking this opportunity we can ensure reward and recognition are seen as keydrivers of business performance and that we play a more significant role in shapingthe policy and activities our organisations deliver to support that performance in thefuture. “Reward needs to be multi-dimensional if it is to be effective” 12
  13. 13. At a glance – the importance of communication• Once we have established a framework for reward we need to keep managers engaged• We need to play a listening role, accepting challenge and working to identify what is working well and what needs changing• We need to show our managers what their role has been in improving performance by sharing the results of their work 13
  14. 14. ConclusionThis whitepaper deals with many practical steps organisations can take to improveengagement and performance by working more closely with managers. At the heartof its thinking is the idea that we need to do more with what we already have in ourorganisations.So in an environment where we have fewer resources to focus on the flood ofnew tactical ideas and initiatives which seem to suck up time and energy, weare presented with the perfect opportunity to focus on what really matters: theemployees who service our customers and the managers who support them. If we dothis well, performance and success will follow.About EdenredEdenred is a leading provider of reward and benefits which supports employeeperformance. We design and deliver solutions which make employees’ lives easier.Our products and solutions include:Employee Benefits: Luncheon Vouchers®, Childcare Vouchers®, Cycle to Work, FlexibleBenefits, Employee Savings, Total Reward Statements, MyWorkOffers®Expense Management: Premium Card, Eyecare Vouchers®, Clean Way® VouchersIncentives, Rewards Motivation: Compliments Select, Compliments® Card,Compliments® Experiences, Incentive Award Card, Capital Bonds®, Single StoreVouchers, Travel Clubs, Webcentiv®Communication Services: A comprehensive range of solutions to help organisationsengage and motivate their staffTo find out more call us on 0843 453 0053 or email sales@edenred.co.uk 14