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3 November 2009 | Shirley Lacy Blog
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Getting the Best From Our Staff - Are Our People Motivated to Reach Optimum Performance?
This week Shirley looks at what is needed to re-motivate and re-energise staff...

  Shirley Lacy

As organizations have been and continue to go through redundancies, mergers and acquisitions, many people have changed jobs or roles. Now may be a good time to review whether our people are doing the right jobs and mix of activities to be most effective.

Some of the things that I have seen recently are:

  • One person was left with too many roles and could not possibly manage the workload and mix of jobs properly. Their manager (of many years) was redundant and advice was difficult to come by.
  • After a round of redundancies, one process team was left doing the work of two teams, without extra resource. Both processes were affected badly and people were de-motivated as they could not cope with the workload.
  • After a merger, two support teams were brought together. They were operating at very different levels of maturity. This caused frustration and misunderstandings as the teams tried to work together. This was resolved with training and workshops for the less experienced reams plus a bit of competitive spirit!
  • After experiencing several rounds of redundancies many people had far higher workloads and little motivation – all they could see was the next round of redundancies. The organization provided ITIIL training to boost morale and this worked – perhaps because people could take their qualification with them if they left.

Managers need to recognise the symptoms of poor performance and proactively help individuals to review their workload and activities. Resetting the scope of work, mix of activities and team/personal objectives can really help to increase the performance of individuals and teams. 

Mixing responsibilities for an individual or team will work better if there are some common types of activity. Here are some examples of what works and does not work: 

  • Some people deal better with reactive activities. Asking the same individual (or team) to perform incident management (inherently reactive) and change management (inherently proactive) is often too wide a range for an individual to cope with.
  • People that are good planners and like to do a great job can find it stressful if the nature of their activities changes to be reactive. 
  • Operational and support people will focus on the key activities to keep the service going. Asking thee people to do project work for less than 60% of their time can lead to project delays and this is one of the reasons for project failure). 
  • Asking people to mix administrative activities with planning or creative activities is not a good mix. This can lead to some people adopting a checklist approach to what should be a thinking or creative activity.
  • Taking a creative person and expecting them to intersperse their day with administrative activities does not work for many people. Individuals tend to select one or the other and one role or set of activities suffers.

Perhaps now is the right time to re-allocate capable people, who have become de-motivated in their current role. Changing roles or the mix of activities can help to re-motivate and re-energise people. It usually has the additional benefit of improving service and/ or processes.

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!

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