HR career Q&A: Motivating a disengaged team

Q I’ve inherited HR staff who are interested only in their own remits. How do I encourage them to take a greater interest in their profession, and to help me develop a motivated team?

The HR expert’s view

Involve them. Have they been praised and recognised in the past or just left to get on with the job, therefore allowing apathy to set in? Communicate with them. Ask them if they understand what is expected of them as individuals. Ask if they have a clear idea of the vision of the organisation and where they add value.

Set goals. Give them a sense of ownership and responsibility for their work and projects within the team and then celebrate their success with them when they achieve it.

Provide the right tools for the job. Ensure they have the right resources, training and support from you to do their jobs well. Maybe there is a level of insecurity within the team or the organisation or maybe they have not met their career aspirations and feel they have stagnated within their career.

Praise them. Everyone knows a highly motivated team will achieve better overall results – not only on a personal level but also for the organisation. Take them out as a team and bond with them. HR often gets left to organise team-building for the rest of the organisation, forgetting they too may need similar opportunities.


Esther O’Halloran, HR director, Paul UK

 

The recruitment expert’s opinion

A key consideration here is one of communication and of “sharing the vision” – something your underperforming predecessor obviously failed to do. The role of HR today as an integral component of overall business and commercial success is beyond question – but your team needs to know and appreciate the value that it can bring to the organisation.

This is also about creating and maintaining employee engagement and there are a few golden rules. First, listen. The best way to know what your employees need and expect is to ask them and to listen carefully to their answers.

Set clear, consistent expectations. Vague or unclear expectations will make the team feel fractious, insecure and disengaged.

Impart a sense of the importance of their work and opportunities for advancement. The chance to work your way up the ladder is a tremendous incentive for productivity and engagement. Ensure there are good relationships with others in the workplace, especially immediate bosses. Many employees see their direct supervisor as both the management and the company.

Give regular positive feedback which, ideally, should considerably outnumber the negative comments. But don’t go overboard – too much positive feedback becomes meaningless and counterproductive. Finally, celebrate and reward success.


John Maxted, chief executive, Digby Morgan

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