If staff are jaded they can bring a business down. But if they’re engaged your enterprise will fly

Are your staff bored stiff?

June 27, 2013

Kate Jones

If staff are jaded they can bring a business down. But if they’re engaged your enterprise will fly. What’s the difference between a company staffed by a motivated team and a company staffed by an unmotivated team? Success and failure, according to the owner of one of Australia’s most iconic brands. Mr Whippy owner Stan Gordon, chief executive of Franchised Food Company, which also owns Cold Rock Ice Creamery, Pretzel World and Nutshack, says having an enthusiastic staff is crucial to the viability of every business. “Having a motivated team actually helps your business grow and if they’re driven, they’ll also grow and embrace the business’ vision,” he says. “The first thing I’d do if I had unmotivated staff is look at what I, as a team leader, am doing wrong. “Am I not creating enough challenges? Is the work too repetitive? Am I not recognising the work done? Maybe I’m not motivated?” Gordon says it should be obvious to any boss that their staff is lacking motivation. “You can see them skulking around the office, dragging their feet around, everything’s a hassle, they make mistakes but always have excuses,” he says. A high turnover of staff is the best indicator and the most costly result of a directionless team, Gordon says. “Like anyone, I would much rather hire people to grow the business than replace outgoing staff,” he says. Gordon oversees 22 staff at the company’s Melbourne head office, plus more than 3000 employees in franchises all over Australia. Drawing on his 20 years of experience in marketing, franchising and people-management, here and in his native South Africa, Gordon has listed the top 10 ways to keep employees motivated.1. Create an environment conducive to work.

Nothing saps up energy like arriving at a drab, uninviting office every day. It doesn’t need to have the latest luxuries, but a workplace should invigorate staff.

At the Franchised Food Company, Gordon says staff have access to music, TV and a spread of fresh fruit and muffins every morning.

2. Try to make work fun.

Some companies organise corporate charity days or team-building experiences to break the monotony of the nine-to-five. “We have bring-your-dog-to-work-day,” says Gordon. “Or you could have bring-your-child-to-work-day.”

3. No long, boring meetings.

This is a common complaint among many a bored employee. Dull and unnecessary meetings are not only time-consuming, but hold up an employee’s day-to-day jobs, resulting in a backlog of work for them. Gordon says more effective meetings can be held outside the office. “We have walking meetings, which are much less confrontational,” he said. “It must be the fresh air, because people always express themselves better when they are walking.”

4. Think outside the square.

Try different approaches to make your workplace a happier place to be. “We have a fun room with grass, flowers, trampolines,” Gordon says. “It’s where staff can go to eat lunch, hold meetings, work through an issue or just read a newspaper. It’s something a bit different, a bit loopy.”

5. Take an interest in your staff.

Gordon, who takes pride in remembering staff birthdays, says just taking the time to ask after an employee can make a huge difference. “Ask how things are going – and, for instance, if they have a family member who is sick, ask how they are,” he says. “But there’s a balance, so be careful not to interfere with their lives.”

6. Recognise what employees are doing.

Understand what their role is and take an interest in what they do on a day-to-day basis.

7. Don’t be afraid to praise.

Give credit where credit is due and be sure to tell your employees they did a good job.

8. Don’t be afraid to criticise.

“But don’t do it negatively or in front of others,” Gordon says. “No one’s perfect, so don’t be afraid to say when something’s wrong. And if you don’t point it out, how will your staff learn?”

9. Show your appreciation in different ways.

Most bosses do this by giving high-performing staff a promotion or a raise. But Gordon says personal rewards such as day spa or movie vouchers can sometimes mean more.

10. Don’t burn your bridges.

“We live in such a small place, you never know where your staff will end up,” Gordon says

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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