How to Keep Staff Motivated


Don’t just reward the sales team; create unique, personalised recognition initiatives that reward all employees.

Cate Banfield

Keeping staff motivated, especially in light of  millennials’ impact on the workforce, is something very different today. Cate Banfield, senior director, event solution design and strategy at BCD Meetings & Events, said she has witnessed offices spring to life complete with hammocks, pingpong tables, unlimited designer coffee, and gluten-free snacks, alongside an “organic” work schedule that changes based on the week.

“Can that work for some companies? Sure it can,” she said. “Is it sustainable? We are not sure. However, what is sustainable is creating a work culture and environment that is built on trust, mutual admiration between employee and employer, balance, and the right mix of talent that complements each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s also about rewarding behaviours and actions that map back to the company vision and values.”

Recognition can take the form of incentive trips but it doesn’t need to be big; it should however be consistent when deserved and it should feel meaningful and personal to the individual receiving it.

“Moving away from cookie-cutter awards to more personalised ‘thank-yous’ and the opportunity to participate in an experience that is relevant for the individual far outweighs a cash reward that can get quickly forgotten amongst bills and day-to-day expenses,” Banfield said.

Manav Batra

Results-based recognition is an approach that aligns every single employee of a business toward a common set of organisational initiatives. Historically, companies have primarily focused their results-based recognition efforts only on sales or commercial teams. Manav Batra, general manager APJ at BI Worldwide, said that companies need to acknowledge contributions and efforts across their entire workforce, such as sales, call centres, operations, and technology, by creating unique recognition initiatives tailored to different functions.

“Measure performance on an ongoing basis against the return on investment of your rewards programme, and keep fine tuning every six months,” he said. “Our research shows that of the people who have been recognised for their best work, 91 percent of them say that they are happy with their current job and 90 percent of them say that they would recommend their current organisation as a great place to work.”

Meanwhile, of those who have not been recognised for their work, only 47 percent say that they are happy with their current job, and 55 percent would be willing to recommend their organisation as a great place to work.

Manav added that while it is nice to be recognised for your work, this recognition gets amplified when it is given by an employee’s manager. He said that 91 percent of employees whose managers understand them are happy with their current jobs and are nine times more likely to perform with greater intensity. This is where managers might need some help and training on how to spot and reward desired behaviours.

“Train managers to make them aware that recognition is important and to understand the value it plays in reinforcing key behaviours that the company is trying to drive,” he suggested. “Empower managers by giving them discretionary recognition budgets — research shows that when managers have recognition budgets to use in this way, employee tenure increases.”

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