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Training as Motivator

Where are you taking your organisation?  What are you doing with your people?  The two questions are inextricably linked.  As regular workforces contract due to economic pressures and the increased use of labour saving technologies the value of the individuals in the organisation increases.  It makes sense therefore, that organisations should put more effort into motivating and rewarding these individuals in order to retain their valuable services.  Traditionally, companies have used bonus and reward schemes to motivate and retain staff but these too have reduced over the past few years and progressive companies are looking afresh at how they motivate their most valuable assets.  Best-selling business author, Dan Pink has achieved nearly 12 million YouTube hits for his challenging presentation, ‘The surprising truth about what motivates us’.  He highlighted the finding that surprisingly, bonus reward schemes only work effectively for purely mechanical tasks and when tasks require even rudimentary cognitive skills financial rewards can have a negative effect on performance.  Studies carried out by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and other institutions found that rather than paying higher incentives, motivation is best achieved by giving employees a clear purpose, greater autonomy and self-direction and the opportunity to improve their skills.

So how can organisations increase the use of training to help motivate and retain their people without adversely affecting the bottom line?  by embedding a culture of learning and development into the organisation to demonstrate the value that people represent.  People who feel supported and valued are more likely to be committed; people who don’t feel supported are not committed, they may become dissatisfied and are more likely to leave.  Employees want to develop their career and grow their skills.  If they’re not able to do this in their current organisation, they will find one where they can.

The success of most organisations is founded on the quality of their people and the level to which they are supported to achieve their career and personal goals.  Employees should be encouraged to take further qualifications and sit relevant exams and to share knowledge and resources across the organisation.  It is widely accepted that the 70:20:10 model can be applied to most organisations in that 70% of work related learning comes from learning on the job, 20% from social learning which includes informal coaching and mentoring from social groups including social media, and just 10% from traditional structured learning.  (The 70:20:10 model was based on original research in the 1960’s but has been constantly refined and has recently been developed (by Charles Jennings) into a set of strategic tools for HR and Learning professionals to use.).  This reinforces the need for organisations to evaluate the role of training as part of their organisational development and their employee development, motivation and retention plans.

There is a clear link between training and business performance.  Training is not only essential to ensure employees are operating with the most effective and up to date information it can also act as a major motivator that can be the difference between retaining valuable staff or losing them to the competition.  There are many ways in which learning and development can become part of the everyday fabric of your organisation.  The annual appraisal process is used to set individual objectives in line with the organisations goals and as long as they are carried out regularly they provide the ideal opportunity to identify and agree new training objectives.  A training needs analysis carried out regularly for the business and individuals can help ensure that employees have the skills and qualifications necessary to meet the needs of the company as required to remain competitive, meet new regulatory demands or move into new markets.

Investors in People (IIP) is an ideal discipline to help identify not only what is required for the development of the organisation but just as importantly what is important for the development of the individual.  IIP is an effective management tool for company and personal development.  Embarking on an IIP programme can also help open communications channels within the organisation and help establish systems that support and reinforce learning.

The IIP standard has changed dramatically since it was first introduced in the early 1990’s.  It has evolved as a more practical and highly flexible management tool which is far less prescriptive and with much less emphasis on documentation.  Experience shows us that Investors in People can transform an organisation’s performance by targeting priorities and outlining goals. Many of the island’s larger companies already have IIP status but there are hundreds of smaller companies that would see enormous benefits but may feel that the process is too onerous or not suitable for them.

The GTA has supported a number of companies through the process to achieve IIP status. Montagu Evans was the first company from the Channel Islands’ property industry to be recognised by Investors in People. Office manager Carrie Birch, who oversaw the process, said ‘The GTA were absolutely brilliant. They came in and talked to both management and staff about the process and then undertook a benchmarking report. This identified some areas where we could make improvements, particularly within our HR function,’ she said.

‘I was concerned that it would be a lot more work but it wasn’t as much as I expected and the benefits have certainly shown that it was time well invested. I would thoroughly recommend it any small or medium sized business. It was extremely worthwhile.’

Achieving IIP status is something all businesses can do as part of improving their day to day operations and will have benefits for the company and the employees as a whole.  The GTA University Centre is organising a breakfast briefing for companies wanting to find out more about the scheme and it will be followed by a lunchtime event for companies who want to improve on their status.

For further information on training and development opportunities through the GTA University Centre please visit www.gta.gg or email [email protected]

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1st February, 2014

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