How to boost morale

Employers and employees agree that training plays a big role in keeping the
workforce happy.  Margaret Kubicek  asks readers what kind of training is best
for boosting morale

Training is key to maintaining a motivated workforce. According to a recent
survey by Reed Training, it tops the list of initiatives employers have
introduced in the past year to increase morale – a third of employees cite
training as the kind of programme they find most motivating. Findings suggest
in-house trainers are seen to empathise with employees, while coaching provides
personal attention and is preferred to mentoring or buddying.

The report sounds a note of caution, however: training perceived as
irrelevant is not only boring, it actually risks demotivating people. Self-selected
training can be problematic, and e-learning comes under fire too. Considered by
many to be impersonal and lacking in support, e-learning was ranked within the
top five initiatives which employees found least effective at boosting morale.

We ask what kind of training motivates best?

Chris sharpe
Head of Reed Training

The psychological contract people have with organisations has changed.
People expect so much more from their careers than just salary – they expect to
be developed professionally and personally. You have to be in touch with where
people want to go – not just on top of their needs now but for their future.
You have to be co-ordinated and consistent in your approach to training. It’s a
balance between personal and business needs.

Jane Moss
Training officer, Gretton Homes

We run eight care homes across Northamptonshire so staff must get through a
lot of statutory training. Within the past year we’ve incorporated statutory
training requirements with personal development objectives, so they are not
seen as separate.

We have revamped induction and from day one staff are issued with a
development file. We have undertaken appraisal training involving all the
management team, getting them to devise paperwork collectively so they are much
more proactive in using it.

The training that motivates employees best ultimately answers the question
"why am I doing this job?"

Tim Drewitt
Director, Balance Learning

Employers need to understand their people and help members of staff to
self-analyse so they can see their own development needs. Then employers need
to match those specific needs to appropriate tailored training solutions. If
any of those links get broken people can’t see the context it must have to be

Blended learning solutions use a mixture of delivery methods to deliver the
most appropriate learning.

Graham Povey
Managing director Capital Incentives

We often recommend to clients that as part of a motivation programme,
training forms an integral part, and we reward people for successful
performance in the training. If you approach training the right way it is
motivating – it’s about improving people’s performance not just in work, but in
life generally.

Andrew Constable
Director of consultancy and bespoke services, Roffey Park

People must perceive the training experience as relevant to them. I often
think insufficient attention is paid to the design of the training. A lot of
hard work should go into working out the needs of the target population, but
many companies focus on the delivery of modules, the face-to-face element.
There needs to be good preparation, understanding of the individual’s needs and
of your organisation’s language.

Interest from the line manager is very important – both before the training
event and after. Opportunities need to be provided and encouragement given to
people to put into practice what they have learnt.

Colin Robinson
Development manager, House of Fraser

Last year we put out 140 different modules of online learning, from
telephone and finance skills to assertiveness skills. This has proved
particularly popular with part-time and weekend people who wouldn’t ordinarily
have the opportunity to go on courses. It’s definitely a motivator.

We use e-learning as a blended solution. I think the success of it depends
on companies taking it on and managing and supporting it.

Sally-Ann Huson
Knowledge and intellectual property director, TMI

If I have the right skills, right degree of satisfaction and I’m valued by
my organisation, I’m motivated. Morale starts to go down when any of these are

Training will certainly help enhance skills, knowledge and experience, but
if it’s done in isolation it will be demotivating. Training about expectations
– what the organisation expects of you – and the key thing is to communicate
how the training aligns to business.

And the survey says

UK workers , HR directors and managers responded to the
Motivating People at Work survey conducted by Reed Training, part of the
recruitment and training group, Reed. The report can be downloaded from its
website at.

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