Clerical Work

One of the questions I was asked to cover was “How do you motivate clerical workers – who just want to work 8 hours a day, pick up their paycheck and go home – to do a better job”?

To me this is an interesting question because it assumes that people are not interested in being successful or feeling fulfilled in their job, which is not something I agree with.

Personally, I think everyone who comes to work, wants to go home knowing that they have done a good job and that they feel appreciated.

With this assumption, I always look to recognize the work that people have done, give them positive feedback.

As leaders we should always look to appreciate the actions that we want repeated.

However, if I were to take over a department where there was clearly a motivation problem and people were just going through the motions, then I would look to organize some workshops with the key members of the team to ask them what I could do to make their jobs more enjoyable.

It’s a truism that “happy people are productive people, and that productive people are happy people”.

So I would ask them what would make them happy, and also what could be done to make them more productive, whats stopping them from being more productive.

If we don’t ask then we will never know.

Taking this approach it shows that I am interested in improving both their performance and happiness, and that I see that the two are linked.

Give the team the opportunity to identify improvements, incentives, etc., you never know they may just surprise you.

It could be a question of “give and take”, e.g. that we look to allow them to work 9 days during a two week period  – working their full 80 hours – providing we see 5-10% increase in productivity.

This opportunity for a long weekend, one week in two, may motivate them, and if you have sufficient staff to provide cover for the two week period, you have now just improved productivity by 5-10% for no additional cost.

As leaders, we need to be innovative, that doesn’t just mean that we need to be like Steve Jobs and invent the iPhone, it means that we should look to see whether there are any creative options we could take, which could be used to motivate our teams.

What are you’re thoughts, do you have any other suggestions?

Gordon Tredgold