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How do you keep staff motivated and engaged?

Sarah Wynn, deputy managing director of corporate & community services and talent management at Morgan Hunt


We all know having the right staff is the key to major growth. But how do you ensure your employees are engaged and motivated to achieve their personal goals as well as company goals? We take an in-depth look at what you should be doing.


There is no denying that nearly all recruitment firms face the challenge of sales staff retention. If you’re not, then a conclusion could be drawn that you’re not growing. You can’t grow a recruitment business without taking on more staff. So this means you will lose a percentage each year.


Jack Welch former chief executive of General Electric was very vocal about this point; more specifically that every year the bottom 10% of his organisation needed to be replaced, and he has many followers on this theme.


If you subscribe to this philosophy the questions then remain; how much is too much a percentage for your organisation to lose, what is the optimum number to enable you to achieve an increase in productivity, and who is actually leaving? The numbers are likely to vary in each organisation.


Welch was very specific about the bottom 10%, because this can actually improve the quality of your organisation, but if your high flyers or big hitters are leaving then that’s more of an issue. Statistics show that the top quartile is likely to produce almost 60% of new business sales.


Yet this thinking flies in the face of how businesses regard their employment performance stats; the kind of stats that are used to judge a business on whether it is a good company to work for or not. And in some businesses these are published numbers. High staff turnover is not good for employee attraction, it’s disruptive and expensive. We all know the cost of recruiting.


Understanding who is leaving is a start to developing an employee retention strategy. When recruiting, bring in people that have similar traits to your top performers. But this is teaching a grandmother to suck eggs, because we’re all recruiters, right?


Despite the fact that you may want to lose your bottom 10%, every company wants a good employer brand and so when it comes to employee engagement everyone must be included. Welch, although considered a legend in business management, didn’t have to grapple with Glassdoor or indeed social media. That, and employee practice has changed over the years.


Companies like Morgan Hunt employ dedicated people to look after staff engagement, devising social inclusion programmes that everyone, regardless of their role, can take part in. Yet the basics are simple and it starts with two premises; first that your staff are human beings and that they will respond just like you do to a caring environment, and second that although work will be a necessity for most employees, it’s a whole lot more enjoyable with great camaraderie and much harder to leave.


Recruiters are renowned for their long working hours, and telephone monitoring KPI’s which are part and parcel of the job, but remember that these can also be dehumanising. This is not a reason to get rid of them, rather to be cognisant of them, lest you forget.


Whatever engagement tactics you use, remember that the employee voice should lead in this one respect, because otherwise you cannot call it engagement. 

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