Motivation without money: Can it be done?

Categories: Winnthinks

A very timely item cropped up in Call Centre Focus this week, and although it concentrated on the situation in contact centres across the UK, it reflects all too starkly what is happening across most sectors right now. This is what it said:

“Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that pay cuts were depressingly commonplace last year, with more workers being asked to work for less than any year apart from 2008 when the recession first began to bite… The majority of employers blamed the economy or rising costs for wage cutbacks. While these drivers are real, they are further damaging already fragile workplace morale… “With only 19 per cent of employees feeling that their pay rise reflected their performance, there is clearly a need for improved communication of positive news, so that employees feel valued and understand what’s important to their organisation,” commented Charles Cotton, rewards advisor at CIPD. “Only then might employees remain engaged with their work and motivated to perform well.” (Source: Call Centre Focus, 13/01/12).

Well, that’s depressing, right? It’s a vicious circle: you can’t afford to give people a pay rise or bonus, so your best people get fidgety and leave if they can, looking for greener pastures elsewhere. Those left behind are demoralised, overworked, and give you a decreasing return on the investment you can still make in them. What a nightmare.

So what to do? As Winston Churchill once said, “Gentlemen, we have run out of money; now we have to think.”

If you find yourself stuck in this situation, there may well be a strategy your organisation hasn’t tried yet. Even if there aren’t the resources available to give people a pay rise or bonus, employers can still demonstrate to their people that they are valuable and appreciated by investing in their future for them. That is where a well-designed, expertly delivered learning intervention can be worth many times more than its face value.

(Coughs modestly and waits for the penny to drop).

It’s true. Increasingly, organisations are investing in programmes like Springboard and Navigator ( or Team Building Days to inject some fun into these dark days, raise the energy levels, increase engagement with the organisation and its customers, and (most importantly) help people think differently about themselves, what they are capable of, and how to get the best out of their interactions with other people (including their customers and colleagues). Great for those individuals, great for their managers and great for customers!

Reckon your people could use a little bit of Winnthinking? I do. So get in touch and together we can put back some va va voom without breaking your budget.