Career conversations for optimum motivation
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Career conversations for optimum motivation

Career conversations for optimum motivation

Everybody hates the annual performance review process and recently we’ve been seeing a lot of articles about companies who have replaced the annual review with more regular feedback sessions.

There are a number of problems with the traditional performance review – managers are not trained to do them well. Many managers prefer to leave well alone, if they don’t mention career progression to the staff perhaps they won’t ask for development opportunities! This is short-sighted at the very least because most staff want development and growth and will leave to find it elsewhere if necessary.

A big issue for many mangers is that they believe staff always  want more – either in terms of promotion, salary or power – and when they have more they will still want more. In fact, many employees don’t want any such thing but they do want recognition and to make best use of their skills and talents.

Focus on the person not the job

Reward and recognition need to be relevant to the individual otherwise it won’t have the desired effect; some employees need regular reassurance and positive reinforcement and some need only the occasional pat on the shoulder and a ‘thank you’. The first person will feel neglected and under-appreciated if their managers doesn’t take notice of them often enough, the second will be irritated and worried if they feel they are being micro-managed.

Apart from anything else this is about making effective use of your resources. If you don’t understand the basic motivations of your people you are not likely to be making best use of their talents.

CareerCENTRE Analyse then Plan

Using a career conversation to understand what staff want, what motivates and drives them, what values underpin their workstyle and what aspirations and ambitions they nurture is crucial to building an effective team and a collaborative working culture. The aim is to inspire staff to reflect on their role and commit to a career pathway that benefits individual and employer.

Optimum motivation

The traditional carrot and stick motivational methods tend to undermine autonomy and commitment. Research suggests that optimum motivation happens through mindfulness, values, and sense of purpose, rather than through incentives, power and status, guilt or fear of disappointing others. Understanding what does and does not motivate a particular person is key to designing their career plan, securing their engagement and harnessing their commitment and discretionary effort.

We have a serious problem with employee engagement and productivity in the UK so reviewing your performance review and feedback processes to ensure effective career pathways and talent management will pay dividends long-term. Talking to employees about the work they enjoy doing and committing to helping them with personal development and opportunities to meet their career aspirations is the starting point.

In a knowledge-intensive economy helping employees to manage their careers is important for the employer who wants to remain competitive. The productivity of knowledge workers is predicated on good job design that ensures skills are enhanced and updated and that their aspirations are acknowledged.

A 2012 survey found that 54 percent of workers said knowing their career path is very important to their overall job satisfaction. Employees understand the opportunities available to them to advance their careers and it makes sense to support them to take action to develop their careers.

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