Could 360 degree feedback help rejuvenate your workforce?

If you’re thinking about running a 360 degree feedback exercise, you may find our objective look at the pitfalls and advantages of 360 degree feedback useful in deciding if it could help rejuvenate your workforce.

Three Common Pitfalls of 360 Degree Feedback

1. 360 degree feedback is a very sensitive activity that touches people to the very core of their personality and it should be completed sensitively and empathically. If the purpose, methodology or understanding of multi-source assessment is misunderstood, it can result in a destructive situation from which it can take years to recover.

2. 360 degree feedback should never be linked to merit, pay or reward. Under ideal circumstances multi-source feedback is used as an assessment for personal development rather than evaluation. Certainly, the results should never be used as a way to punish the individual in any way.

3. Some would agree that 360 degree feedback can take people outside of their comfort zones and result in some difficult conversations. People may be afraid to give honest answers, perhaps in fear of lack of anonymity or they’ve been encouraged to collude with others respondents to give false opinions.

 

Three Advantages of 360 Degree Feedback 

1. In some cases, 360 degree feedback can be used to reduce tension, for example, if an employee is having difficulties with their manager or there is a perceived ‘personality clash’, the end results averaged and weighted by feedback from others could offset or diminish potential personal misjudgements.

2. The 360 degree feedback process is a good way of improving communication within your organisation and can be a useful tool in the run up to a company restructure and to help implement change. The process can help break down barriers between areas in the company and create a culture of openness and trust.

3. Different people often have vastly different views of who we are. To know what we look like in another’s eyes provides a strong enabler for personal development and growth. Being able to gather and analyse the perceptions of colleagues, not just those we report to, can be extremely powerful in helping us understand how our actions play out from many points of view, other than our own.

 

Tips for success

  • Have a clear communication strategy for disseminating the purpose aims and intentions of the assessment
  • Develop an unambiguous questionnaire which includes open ended comments
  • Have a properly constructed competency framework and link this to your organisational goals and values
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • View criticism positively and as an opportunity of personal development
  • Have a plan of support and development in place for candidates following the assessment.
  • Provide clear, consistent and easily understood results reports.

 

If you would like to speak to one of the team at Inspiring about 360 degree feedback, call us on 0800 612 3098 or email info@inspiring.uk.com or get in touch using the form. You can also visit our 360 Degree page for more information.

The Happy Employee: Transparency

When it comes to the workplace environment it can be difficult to ensure total transparency. The phrase ‘you are the face of the company’ is something that employees often hear, and whilst this is designed to encourage employees to represent the company as best as they can, it is also true.

As an employee, you are responsible for various company procedures, as well as client interactions – acting as a major part of the company. Which is why transparency in business is important; how can you represent your company without total understanding of how the business runs? By implementing transparency in the workplace, you can effectively increase overall employee productivity.

Information

Some companies limit the information that they provide to employees; both client related and internal. By including employees in communication about the company’s profits and achievements, a positive connection is forged – as employees can understand how their hard work contributes to the company’s success. The same can also be applied to losses and any setbacks, as employees will feel invested and increase their efforts to ensure the company gets back on track.

Authority

By providing authority to employees, you can motivate them to become empowered. Employees who are given authority become more inspired to be decisive and take responsibility for their actions, both of which are strong elements in great employee performance. This also reduces time wasted on waiting for approval from a higher authority, and allows employees to continue with the work that they are given at their own pace.

Communication

Giving your employees an opportunity to discuss ways for the company to move forward, improve operations or point out areas that require development, allows you to establish a connection with your team. Show them that management appreciates and values employee thoughts and suggestions. Consider implementing the changes and requests your employees offer, where applicable, as this further cements your relationship with your employees and demonstrates that they are an important part of the business.

Deliver on your promises

As management, it can be easy to offer incentives to your employees to encourage them to work harder and more productively. Whilst these incentives can be an effective tool, often we can forget what we have promised – or put it to the side so we can focus on more important things. However, by not delivering on your promises to your employees, they can become unhappy, resulting in a lower standard of employee performance. By ensuring incentives are given to employees, big or small, and providing everyone with the chance to receive these bonuses, you are ultimately encouraging employees to work harder to receive these benefits.

 

Ultimately, transparency provides your employees with a clear and happy path to success, allowing them to feel valued, supported and involved, whilst ensuring any grievances can be swiftly and effectively handled.

4 key ways to increase personal productivity

In both your professional and personal life, productivity has its place. But why is productivity important?

From a business perspective, productivity is the efficiency in which a company runs. However, while productivity is imperative from a company’s standpoint, personal productivity is just as crucial. By maximising your own productivity you are reprogramming your mentality towards tasks, which can then be applied to your professional work life.

Decide how long to work for

It can be very easy to begin a task, or even a work day, with the notion that you will work for as long as you can force yourself to concentrate, or for as long as you can. But by resigning yourself to work in this state of mind, you’ll find yourself often looking at the clock and willing the time to go faster. Once you decide how long to work for, commit to it. As a result of this you’ll find that the first few hours of the day go by much faster – and you’re spending much less time clock watching.

For example, if your work day is 8 hours long – commit to producing a worthwhile work output for 8 hours. Not only will time go a lot faster because you’re focusing on your work but you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment. Once you know how much time you’ve assigned yourself to complete tasks in, plan what tasks you’re going to focus on and provide time allocation for each piece of work. Assigning one hour for a task to be completed in a high standard means that you can complete 8 similar tasks by the end of the day.

If you need help, ask

Asking for help is often seen as a sign of weakness; this is why typically we avoid asking for assistance when we are struggling with a task. Rather than putting yourself under pressure to try and complete a task that you don’t understand, finding someone to help you is much more effective. It presents you as willing to visit various options in order to produce worthwhile results. Asking for advice or assistance can save you time and resources. Plus, it reduces the chances of having to begin the work again.

Know when to take a break

Breaks are important for your brain, as well as your wellbeing. Productivity is about working to your best capability to produce a high-quality work output. However, by not giving your body and mind the rest that they deserve, you ultimately end up reducing your productivity. Working continuously for hours at maximum productivity is a fail-safe way to exhaust yourself. Alternatively, try working in shorter bursts to ensure that you are not tiring yourself out, and to help you achieve maximum amounts of efficiency. Giving yourself a ten minute break every few hours is sure to help clear your mind, making you ready to work productively once more.

Prepare for the next day

At the end of your work day, or after completing your tasks, try to spend half an hour planning the next day. Be realistic about what you want to achieve, and do any research or organising that you may need to do. By preparing yourself in advance for the next day, you ensure that the time you spend working is entirely on the tasks you have set yourself, rather than on unnecessary efforts. By providing yourself with an agenda you also leave your brain free to think about more important things that need your attention.

 

How do you make yourself more productive?

 

How to Create Effective Learning Within Your Organisation

Providing effective learning within an organisation is a necessity, both for employees to help them reach their potential and for the organisation to grow as a whole.

To ensure effective learning is taking place, organisations should consider reviewing what is on offer for each employee and the different methods of learning available. You will not want to waste time and resources trying to teach employees in ways that are not going to be the most beneficial. Creating effective learning enables the right learning techniques to be applied to the right employees to make learning as efficient as possible.

How to Determine Effective Learning Techniques

One of the best-known learning techniques is from Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984).

Effective Learning

The Learning Cycle claims that effective learning happens when the individual being trained has experienced the training either in a hands-on capacity or within a training course. They then have interpreted this for themselves and gone onto digest it and understand what they have been taught. The last step is implementing their new knowledge.

To understand this cycle more clearly an example is when a child learns that a fire is hot. They learn by putting their hand near to a fire and it will hurt them and therefore they will not do this again. Thereby effectively completing the Learning Cycle.

Learning Styles

Understanding that different individuals have different preferences is key to Honey and Mumford’s (1982) Learning Styles theory. They developed the idea that as individuals, we prefer one of the four stages of Kolb’s Learning Cycle more than the others. This is to say that we are more receptive to training in our preferred element.

Theorist

These individuals like the theory behind things. They need to draw upon concepts and facts to fully engage with learning. They prefer to be challenged intellectually by information and create their own theory or conclusions.

Methods of Learning

  • Models
  • Quotes
  • Facts
  • Statistics
  • Theories
  • Background Information

Reflector

These people like to learn by watching others. They prefer a back-seat role where they can see what others are doing. They like to be at the edge of activities to observe, this allows them to collect multiple pieces of data and draw their own conclusions from watching activities from different perspectives.

Methods of Learning

  • Self-analysis
  • Observation
  • Feedback
  • Coaching

Activist

These learners like to be thrown into the deep end. They love to be put straight into activities. They have an open-minded approach and are open to new experiences and different ways of working. They often find success in crisis situations.

Methods of Learning

  • Problem Solving
  • Puzzles
  • Role play
  • Group Activities

Pragmatist

Pragmatists need to see how things work in the real world. They find it hard to relate to activities that are not true to life. They constantly seek an opportunity to put what they are learning into practise to see if it holds up. They focus on outputs and implementation.

Methods of Learning

  • Problem Solving
  • Ability to test the training
  • Case Studies
  • Discussion

Using learning styles to facilitate effective learning

Effective learning is the result of identifying what learning style suits an individual and allowing them to learn in that way. There are many free online Learning Style Questionnaires. It would be beneficial before starting any training within the organisation to discover how your employees learn the most efficiently. The Learning Styles are a very good indicator for how well employees will respond to certain training methods. Despite this, just because they have a preference does not mean they are incapable of learning through other methods. When conducting training, the focus should always be on the training and trying to effectively deliver it to employees. Sometimes training cannot be delivered in a way that some employees will enjoy that is just a fact of life. But, for the most effective learning it is beneficial to try and alternate learning styles.

What is a Learning Culture and why is it important?

One of the best and most efficient ways an organisation of any size can get ahead of its competition is by creating a learning culture.

Working within an SME is all about trying to find that competitive edge. There is a need to continually innovate and be one step ahead of the ‘big boys’. A learning culture, if correctly implemented and carried out effectively, can result in your organisation moving to the next level.

What is a learning culture?

It is important to understand what a learning culture is before trying to implement one.  A learning culture can be achieved by embracing the ethos of learning as a continual process, where it is understood that learning opportunities happen at every stage of an employee’s journey within the organisation. A learning culture needs an agreed set of practices, processes or conventions. The aim of these conventions is to help the people within the organisation learn continuously. All barriers that could potential stop an individual from learning and developing are removed to help create an environment in which learning is at the core.

The differences between a learning culture and training and development

Some may suggest that a learning culture isn’t any different to that of an organisation that provides regular training. However, the subtle differences between a learning environment and that of an organisation that simply focuses on training can result in large changes to the whole organisation. A few examples of the differences are below:

Who leads the training or learning

Within a training environment a specific trainer will come into the organisation and train the employees in a specific area. However, within a learning environment the learning is lead by the individual employee. The employee should be able to understand the areas in which they need to improve or receive coaching and therefore they lead their learning.

How and when learning takes place

Within a training culture the emphasis is on specific workshops or courses which take place at scheduled times throughout the year. However, a learning culture views learning as a continuous effort, for example, through coaching, mentoring and social interaction.

The ‘carrot’ or the ‘stick’

In many organisations, training acts as the ‘stick’, occurring as a result of employees not meeting required outcomes through lack of skills or knowledge. Training in this context is seen similarly to punishment. Within a learning culture the learning is not a result of poor performance but a ‘carrot’ to encourage personal development through a continuous process.

Knowledge sharing

The training culture is often centred around isolation. Different departments are often kept away from one another. This results in some knowledge being warehoused by one department and depriving others of what could be valuable information. However, within a learning culture the emphasis is on collaborative learning. Ideas are shared, not just with other employees but across areas or departments to the benefit of the whole organisation.

What are the benefits of implementing a Learning Culture?

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity
  2. Increased employee engagement resulting in decreased employee turnover
  3. The organisation and its people are better able to react to change
  4. There is an increase in innovation
  5. Increased problem-solving ability within the organisation

How to create a learning environment

There are a few different tactics a manager can implement within their organisation to help it to develop a learning culture:

  • The first step is for the leader(s) of the organisation to commit to the ethos that learning is a continuous process and not one that can be set for a specific time. Therefore, they should treat learning as a resource to be used. This is the mindset needed before starting to create a learning environment.
  • The next step is to introduce the aspects of coaching and mentoring to senior management roles, setting out a plan to coach and mentor the employees that report to them. Some managers may need development themselves in these skills, which only highlights the importance of the learning environment from top to bottom.
  • The employee should then be encouraged to create their own personal development plan to ensure their learning and development needs are noted, understood and followed through. If an organisation is committed to developing a learning culture it must be mandatory for employees to create these plans.
  • It is imperative that once a new skill has been learnt that the organisation recognises and celebrates the achievement, for example, when an employee successfully masters a skill they were being coached on. It does not matter how they have learnt but what matters is that learning is celebrated and rewarded.
  • Regular feedback within a learning culture is very important. There are two main areas of feedback that are vital for the creation of a learning environment. Firstly, feedback from the manager to the employee that they directly manage, where the manager can suggest areas of their work which they could benefit from developing and improving on. Secondly, when the employee has begun to work on identified development areas, the employee should give feedback on whether the specific method of learning they are doing is helping them. This will help the manager be better informed for future development through the identification of preferred learning styles. In addition, the employee should give feedback on what, if anything, they have gained from the learning activity. This needs to be constantly assessed as to whether the investment in learning is worthwhile to both the employee and the organisation.
  • Developing blended learning methods. Not all employees learn in the same manner, some learn best in training courses, others prefer a hands-on approach, whereas other may prefer to learn by being coached. Read our blog about alternatives to training courses.

Are Traditional training courses still needed with a learning environment?

There is always going to be a need for training courses in the traditional sense. Training courses have improved and changed over the years and can often be extremely beneficial. Training courses are sometimes the best methods in which specific learning can take place. Within a learning culture, training courses are one of many tools to be utilised without becoming the main focus of the organisation’s learning and development plan.

The Best Ways to Upskill Staff for SMEs

Upskilling employees can be a secret weapon for SMEs against the larger organisations and allows them to punch well above their weight.

Upskilling isn’t about simply training employees to be competent in their current role. Upskilling is the continual act of enabling talent to develop skills that are not necessarily directly related to their current role. Take a look at our recent article: ‘The benefits of upskilling employees’ to read more about the multiple benefits to organisations.

For many SMEs financial budgets are often a concern, so devoting a portion of an already tight budget to upskilling talent that may not directly improve their current job function may seem like a gamble. However, there are ways to begin the process of upskilling employees that won’t cost a great deal, and we’ve outlined some these below to help you get started.

Free Courses

There are many free digital resources and courses that enable employees to learn alongside their job. This is a great way to enable employees to discover if they would like to learn more about a specific area. This doesn’t cost you anything and you will soon start to reap the benefits. For example, Hubspot’s Academy and Google Digital Garage both offer free courses. This is not considering printed resources such as books and case studies. We often neglect these types of resources, but they hold a wealth of knowledge. For the younger generation most of these resources can be found online and in PDF formats.

Mentoring

Often we overlook the amount of knowledge that we have within our own organisation. We often have devoted Marketing, Accountancy, HR and Sales teams that have a wealth of knowledge within their field. Any employee that has an interest within these fields can be linked to a mentor that they can shadow or have one-to-one sessions to pick up new skills. These mentors can even run mini training courses for employees that wish to attend.

Hire Curious People

One of the key principals to upskilling is having employees that wish to better themselves. When hiring new staff explore the idea of learning new skills that are not directly related to their role. Ask to see if they picked up new skills on their own and get a feel if they are curious to learn more. This is the sort of attitude that helps develop the talent that will enable your SME to compete with the ‘big boys’. Once you have this talent, nurture it by partnering individuals up with leaders or provide resources to help them develop themselves further.

Often we see rewards as monetary based, but this does not have to be the case. Rewarding the effort of learning can be as simple as allowing extra time on a lunch break for study, letting employees leave early on a Friday to complete a course or even giving them acknowledgement within the business that they have completed a course. These types of reward will help to improve engagement and reinforce upskilling within the business.

Personal Development Plans

Giving employees a personal development plan in which they can create areas of competence that they wish to work on brings the emphasis of upskilling on to them. Empowering your employees to develop their own plan is a key step in creating a workforce that consistently wants to develop.

Outside Experts

On a daily basis many of us are in contact with partners and suppliers that help us with certain aspects of our business. A great way of getting different skills into your SME is to invite one of those to come into your organisation and talk about their skills and give advice on what they do within their role. Many organisations are happy to send their top talent to speak with you because of the networking possibilities as well as the interpersonal relationships you have built up with them. These can take place over an extended lunch break and cost nothing, except maybe a free lunch! From these events your employees can discover if the areas discussed are something they wish to explore further.

We’re not ignoring the fact that many employers and employees will want or need to use accredited training courses to secure certifications for certain skills. For an SME, that can mean a big commitment in terms of financial investment. However, by encouraging upskilling, an employee can be given the opportunity to show that they are committed to developing their skills whilst remaining with the organisation, which could help their employer decide whether further training is a worthwhile investment.

What is upskilling and how to use it to benefit your SME

The upskilling of staff has become the new ‘must have’ for SMEs and their employees. Employees are now more likely to look at the other benefits on offer to them rather than just the salary itself, and the opportunity to be upskilled ranks highly amongst those benefits.

Upskilling does not only help individuals by developing them to reach their potential, it also helps the organisation to attract and retain staff, as well as improving the performance of the organisation through it people.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is very similar to training and development. With both upskilling and training, the idea is to help get the most out of your people by helping them to develop new skills or improve existing skills that are required for the role. The difference between training and upskilling is in the development process. Upskilling is a continual internal drive to help employees develop the skills they want. It is also a conscious effort to help employees discover new talents, encouraging them to bring more back to the organisation. Acquiring new skills that are not necessarily specifically required for their job function empowers people to take control of their own learning and could result in a positive impact for the company in ways that may not have been immediately apparent from the outset. The aim for the SME is to create a positive learning environment.

What are the Benefits of Upskilling?

The benefits of upskilling are mutually beneficial to both the employee and the organisation. We’ve listed some these benefits below:

Employee Retention

Employees that believe that their work is challenging, and feel therefore that they are continually developing their skills, are the happiest within the work environment. When employees are upskilled beyond their normal roles they often are eager to discover what could be the next step to take in their personal development.

Promote from Within

As an SME, attracting the best talent can be a long and difficult process therefore once you have people on board you will want to keep hold of them. The best way to do this is to promote from within. Promoting from within saves time on searching for new talent when you already have an extensive pool within your organisation. However, you will not be able to do this without upskilling them first.

Customer Satisfaction

As the saying goes ‘happy employees means happy customers’. By upskilling your staff, they are more likely to be happy within your organisation, meaning they will be more invested in your brand which in turn will result in them presenting a positive company image to your customers. Also upskilling enables them to think outside the box and better aid your customers.

Attracting Talent

As mentioned above, attracting the best talent can be difficult for SMEs; you may not be able to offer the highest salary or the best perks. However, being able to offer to help give them skills that they want to develop it is a great attraction. Being seen as providing a positive learning environment enables your business to continue to compete with ‘the big boys’.

Productivity

It is obvious to anyone that has had to deal with an unskilled worker that they impact negatively on productivity. However, not only training employees to have the right skills needed for their role but also upskilling them, has a positive impact on productivity. When employees are upskilled, they have a diversification of skills, meaning that they can take on additional tasks or roles, therefore increasing the overall productivity of the organisation.

 

These are just five examples of the way in which upskilling your workforce benefits both your business and its people. As discovered by providing opportunities to upskill you are not committing to simply a noble gesture, but you are enabling rewards to be felt by both the organisation and the employees.

How to Improve Business Performance and Productivity with the Deming Cycle

One of the most straight forward ways of being able to accurately plan for continual improvement would be with the Deming Cycle.

In every organisation, the need for improving business performance should be the driving force behind the action that most leaders take. Within the business world, if you are not consistently improving performance within your organisation you are stagnating. Stagnation results in other organisations bypassing you and increasing their market share. Therefore, the ability to continually improve performance should be a never-ending goal.  The Deming Cycle is one of the most straight forward ways of being able to accurately plan for continual improvement. The Deming Cycle can also help increase productivity as well as improve performance in general. This is because, when organisations focus on goals that they wish to achieve, they usually begin the process by looking for possible operational improvements, thus increasing productivity as well as improving organisational performance.

The Deming Cycle was developed by W. Edwards Deming (1986) and within it he created a simple premise for predicting the results of effort to implement improvements. He put forward four logical steps that loop continually to help drive better performance.

Deming CyclePlan

In the planning stage, the organisation must establish what objectives are needed to be met to create the desired goals. It is in this stage where the organisation must analyse their current position accurately to be able to correctly measure where they are, compared to where they want to be.

Do

This stage of the cycle requires the organisation begin to implement their plan and start the processes of behaviour changes. At this point, the implementation of the plan should only be carried out within a small section of the overall business. The organisation should also be collecting data to help them evaluate the process in the next steps.

Check

The ‘Check’ stage is when the data collected from the ‘Do’ stage is measured and compared against the expected goals within the ‘Plan’ stage. It is at this stage when you should be looking for any differences between what has happened and what the original goals were within the ‘Plan’ section. You should also be able to identify if there were any deviations from your plan and what was implemented, as this could account for lack of success in the ‘Do’ stage. This should lead to the understanding of whether or not the goals set in the ‘Plan’ section are attainable. If they cannot be reached, the process may need to end here and started again.

Act

Within this stage the organisation first needs to identify that all the other stages were carried out correctly, i.e. the ‘Check’ stage identified that the ‘Plan’ stage was correctly implemented within the ‘Do’ stage. Secondly, it needs to be confirmed that the outcomes have resulted in improvements on what had come before. If so, the process can then implemented throughout the whole organisation. This new and improved process would then become the required standard that the organisation must meet.

 

The Deming Cycle can be used and reused for almost any activity within an organisation, meaning the organisation is constantly reviewing its practices and processes and therefore continuously improving performance and productivity.

10 Alternatives to Training Courses for SMEs

With the business world being as competitive as it is, employers are discovering that the main thing that can help differentiate them is their people. Developing, or ‘up-skilling’, employees is now more important than ever. Gone are the days where training courses focused upon just the necessities and regulations of the job role; we are now seeing more forward-thinking employers who are looking to uncover talent within their people which, in time, will give them the advantage over their competitors.

We know that making sure your employees are up to speed with what is required of them is vital, so training in that respect will always be a necessity. However, with some training courses coming in at a high cost, SMEs could find it hard to find the budget for broader training and development, often having to weigh up the cost of training courses against other necessities in their annual budget.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some alternatives to training courses that SMEs could investigate that might help implement learning and development and nurture talent at a lower cost.

Coaching

This is effective if the employee has a specific objective or area of development that they need to target.

Mentoring

An effective technique when there is already an individual within the organisation with the expertise to develop potential. This enables transfer of knowledge and ways of working.

Shadowing

A great way of helping an employee explore different aspects of the business. It is beneficial to watch someone else demonstrating what is required of them, then reflecting on what they have learned. They can then discover the effectiveness of their ways of working and even make suggestions for improvements, which could be mutually beneficial. This could be a reciprocal arrangement whereby one colleague shadows another in turn, allowing for feedback on both.

Expanding Roles

By expanding an employee’s current role, they are likely to develop longer term aspirations and invest more into the organisation. Also, they will come to realise what areas they need to improve in and, given the opportunity and with support, can start to address these.

Project Roles

Putting an individual forward for different project roles helps to broaden their perspective, whilst encouraging interaction with new areas of the business can aid their development. It may even result in hidden skills being identified.

Practical Learning

If an individual has been given a new task or responsibility, they may be able to learn on the job providing they are properly supported. It is important however that they have the confidence to ask managers and colleagues for support and advice whilst they are learning.

Distance and E-Learning

There are specific college and online courses, some of which are free, where the individual learns in their own time and at their own pace. These can include accredited courses, which build towards a qualification.

Volunteering

Giving employees the opportunity and time off to volunteer may help to develop existing skills and learn new ones. Volunteering could help people build their confidence, as it is a less pressurised environment. It may also lead to networking opportunities.

Blended Learning

This is where the focus is not on one development area but a variety. By using Blended Learning, it gives the employee a mixture of different activities to develop many skills over a short space of time.

Media

There is a wealth of information available on platforms such as YouTube and watching specific programmes can help gain useful knowledge.

Books and publications

In the modern world there is a neglect of written texts. These books and other resources hold a valuable knowledge and theories that can help employees develop. However, for convenience and accessibility, there are often PDF copies of these resources available.

Other Notables

Membership of professional bodies, work placements, sabbaticals, sideways moves and job swaps.

 

People development will always be needed if SMEs are to stay ahead of their competition. But we also know that funding for all these development activities is often limited, therefore thinking outside the box and using alternative methods of learning and development are definitely worth looking into.

Reward and recognition of employees without breaking your budget

Rewarding staff is a great way of motivating them and maintaining employee satisfaction. But how can you do so without spending money? We understand that as a business you can’t throw bonuses their way every time you want to say ‘well done’ or ‘thanks for the good work’. We’ve created this article to share some top tips for showing your employees appreciation for a job well done without putting pressure on already stretched budgets.

Keep hold of your talent

Employee satisfaction is absolutely vital in any workplace, but that doesn’t mean salary reviews and end of year bonuses have to be the ‘be all and end all’. To motivate and retain talented employees for the year ahead, employers need to develop more innovative recognition and reward strategies that don’t rely on money alone. Doing so will protect against misalignment between company goals and individual activities and keep everyone on track. You will maintain and improve employee happiness without damaging the company’s budget.

Honesty is the best policy

Speculation and gossip surrounding pay increases and bonuses can be dangerous. It’s impossible to eliminate this completely but you can make sure that you’re delivering a consistent and honest message about opportunities for financial reward in the coming months and years. Employee wellness is important, so it’s important they know how things like pay increases work because, if for example, an employee had false information, and was hoping for a bonus/increase in the nearby future it could lead to constant disappointment and the employee might start doubting their work and lose motivation and interest. That’s why it’s important you provide accurate information. This will give your employees a sense of control over their futures and help to create an open, honest workplace.

Offer opportunities

A good way to recognise high performance is to offer opportunities to broaden your employees’ experience. For example, ask them to lead an internal knowledge sharing session or offer a day’s job shadowing. This could lead to creating a new role for them in another area of the business. Engaging with the aspirations of your employees and creating personal development plans that help them realise their ambitions is crucial to retaining talent.

Regular feedback

Taking the time to evaluate your communication and feedback processes sends a strong message that you care about employees’ development and that good work will be recognised. Without structured feedback employees can feel like the quality of their work, good or bad, goes unnoticed. Staff surveys and focus groups are a good way of achieving this.

Say ‘thanks’!

It’s common knowledge that  a lack of recognition from management is one of the most demotivating factors for employees. Taking the time to highlight good work will boost employees’ job satisfaction and put any constructive criticism in context. Drawing attention to achievements across teams can be a powerful motivation to other team members.