Karren Brady measures staff motivation by looking at absenteeism, which, at
Birmingham City FC, must be one of the lowest in the UK. It is less then a
quarter of a day per employee.
Speaking at Personnel Today’s HR Directors Club at Somerset House in London,
the Premier League’s only female managing director admitted that motivating
employees can be tricky – especially in football where the pay gap between
staff can be so wide. At Birmingham, the average yearly pay for non-players is
£23,000, while footballers earn that in a month.
One way Birmingham City increases motivation is by promoting internally –
the club’s HR director started 10 years ago, aged 16, and has worked her way
up. "The best thing I have learned is to bring out skills in people that
no one else thought they had," Brady said. "You shouldn’t sack
people, but work with them and develop them."
The club also sends all staff on job swaps, "to see that the grass
isn’t greener anywhere else", Brady added.
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Brady has been managing director of Birmingham City since 1993, when she was
just 23. She took over when the club was in liquidation, and has turned the
club’s fortunes around.
As only female managing director of a major football club, Brady admitted
that she knew she was working in a male-dominated world when she was asked her
vital statistics at a press conference. But, she said, if you are focused on
what to want to do, then that is not a barrier.
"I don’t see myself as a woman in a man’s world. I see myself as a
business-woman given an opportunity with a great business."
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