The Incredibles – Why motivation and energy levels are riding high in the UK

Managers in the UK now seem happier to work long hours, are highly motivated, but need more recognition from employers for the contribution they make.

These are the main findings of Motivation Matters, the second annual survey of 1,800 employees by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and recruitment consultant Adecco.

Compared with last year’s results, executives are now more willing to work extra hours. “There’s been a change in attitude,” said CMI spokesman Mike Petrook. “Managers a year ago said they were struggling to cope with their busy workload. Now they are happy to do it but with a couple of caveats – the main one being that they want a sense of achievement and recognition from employers for the work they are doing.

“It’s clear that development is important to them and the message to employers is ‘make sure you develop our skills as well’. Training must be linked to the organisation’s own goals, be relevant and of use to the person in their job,” he said.

One in five respondents report working at least 14 hours a week more than they are contracted to, and nearly a quarter feel frustrated by ‘old boy networks’ within their organisation. More than one-third (38%) believe flat structures are the root cause to becoming frustrated about career development.

However, motivation levels are impressively high. More than half the respondents say they looked forward to beginning the working week – just 18% confess to the Monday morning blues.

High motivation is more common in growing industries – typically engineering, small and medium-sized enterprises and construction. Here 61% of managers consider themselves highly motivated compared with 38% of their peers in less buoyant sectors, confirming the link between motivation and business performance.

“Managing highly motivated, energised employees can present as many challenges as motivating people when levels are low,” said Richard Macmillan, managing director of Adecco UK and Ireland. “Corporate UK needs to capture and nurture motivated managers, not lock them in a pressure cooker of bureaucracy and old school ties. Most employees are willing to make personal sacrifices to develop careers, but the milk soon turns sour if those efforts aren’t rewarded.”

Another surprise finding was that despite working an average of 8.2 extra hours a week, a quarter of managers feel they could take on more. This figure was the highest in the IT industry, where 36% of respondents say they have the capacity for more work.

The survey also found a training deficit within organisations. About 40% of respondents said they were attracted to their company because of the development opportunities available, but nearly the same percentage report that their employer has no specific training and development budget. Three-quarters of managers believe their employer should be funding their developmental needs.

“Individuals will shop around when their existing post no longer offers satisfaction or career development and organisations which fail to live up to the promise of progress risk seeing their managers jump ship,” warned CMI chief executive Mary Chapman.

Go to to read the executive summary.

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