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Talent Management and Employee Motivation

Danny Clenaghan, Managing Director at Argos for Business, part of Home Retail Group, considers how sustainable motivation should play a significant part in an effective talent management strategy.

It is crucial for employers to identify talented individuals, in order to nurture that talent, develop the individual’s potential and retain their employment, securing and increasing the value they add to the business. As managing director of a large business, I understand the importance of talent management and motivation in order to keep key talent within the company. By putting in place a systematic talent management procedure, companies can ensure they are engaging key members of staff and investing in their personal development in order to grow the business as well as the employee’s skills as an individual. Companies can gain competitive advantage by closely monitoring staff performance, targeting talented individuals and incentivising them to progress, often deploying that talent to areas of the business where it is best utilised.

Argos for Business strongly advocates motivation and incentivisation of staff as key components within the talent management process. Without effective motivational strategies, companies are at risk of losing valued staff members. Accounting for all elements of the recruitment process, including advertising costs and recruiter fees, through to loss of productivity and training for new recruits, each employee lost could cost up to £30,614[1] to replace. Businesses choosing not to implement a year-round motivational strategy as part of a talent management process should consider the potential of this substantial loss and whether they can afford to lose some of their most talented employees.

Simple motivational techniques are cost effective and can be hugely successful in terms of retaining staff. As well as driving talented individuals to perform better and feel valued for their outstanding performance, motivational strategies keep the wider workforce engaged, offering a holistic approach to the development of the company. Argos for Business launched the UK’s first national Employee Motivation Day earlier this year (21st January), to help managers and business owners understand the positive effects that a long-term motivational strategy can have on a business. We delved into employee motivation levels and found that 40 percent of employees stay in their current job because of good relationships with their colleagues. By comparison fewer than 24 percent highlighted pay as a factor keeping them in their current role, and only three and a half percent placed importance on an annual bonus. Our research also revealed that employees are best motivated by ‘feeling valued’ by their boss.

Long-term reward programmes are essential in helping businesses create a culture of ‘valued’ employees, as rewarding and recognising good work helps staff to feel more appreciated. Incentives encourage employees to improve and maintain performance, which in turn impacts positively on a business’ bottom line.

The choice of reward in a talent management strategy is also very important. Aone-size fitsall approach is ineffective, as what might work for one employee, may not for another.With 43 percent identifying ‘feeling valued’ by a boss as the top motivational factor at work, it is clear that managers must recognise the importance of simple and cost-effective everyday actions. Offering a genuine thank you, a duvet day or allowing your team to leave 30 minutes early on a Friday, can go a long way in ensuring bosses hold onto valuable team members.

However, monetary based rewards should still be considered as an additional tool to engaging employees in the long-term, as 24 percent highlight pay as a factor keeping them in their current role. Recent years have seen a shift in focus of the types of monetary rewards given with gift cards receiving greater favour. Their growing popularity is evident in the industry’s worth, which currently stands at around £5bn per year (source: UKGVA).

Gift cards have long proved an effective tool for motivating staff, while offering the flexibility and versatility necessary to keep employees engaged within their roles in the long-term. They offer flexibility, convenience, ease and cost effectiveness to the employer, while providing employees with the power of choice – the freedom to choose the reward that’s most meaningful to them individually, and ultimately driving change to meet the overarching needs of the business.

The findings of our recent survey reveal the real importance of motivation as a key technique within a talent management strategy and suggest that employers work hard to introduce it as an everyday business practice. Businesses that successfully motivate, engage and retain staff will also reap the performance benefits that come with a driven, hardworking and experienced workforce.


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