Employees must be motivated by work

In response to Stephen Overell’s Off Message article ‘Throw away the manual’ (Personnel Today, 26 April), I agree that the distinction between manual/manufacturing and service jobs is a false perspective.

People can get satisfaction from a carefully-crafted policy, which adds value to staff and the organisation.

There should be equal pride in selling someone the right insurance policy or feeling confident in your ability to respond to an emergency, albeit one that may never happen.

However, I believe the distinction is between work that does, or may, achieve something, and work that is done because it has to be done.

This is especially true in the public sector, where filling in questionnaires, explaining things to auditors and justifying common-sense decisions through reports, presentations or meetings, is all too prevalent.

A sense of detachment occurs when you know that the long hours put in to gather statistics will be instantly filed and forgotten. They only exist because they need to exist; there is only an output, not an outcome.

So I agree that proof of skill and reward is key. Maybe it just means something worthwhile – an equally old-fashioned idea, but one that should lie at the heart of workers’ motivation – be they metal beaters or call centre operatives.

Malcolm Pattman
Head of training
Derbyshire Constabulary


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