Human Resources Director magazine spoke to Martin about retaining valuable staff in different ways other than promotion to management
How has isolation made you feel about your job?
I don’t know about you, but for me this experience has made me sit up and feel even more grateful for my job and the people that I work with. The recruitment industry was hit pretty hard quite early in the piece and I am missing the intensity and the challenges that we are fortunate enough to help people navigate through on a daily basis – yes even the difficult ones!
Over 20 years in recruitment has taught me that there is no perfect job, there are always elements that we need to adjust to, even though they aren’t exactly what we need or want from work at that time. For me working part time due to my family life has been a necessity, but something I find really difficult, for my whole career I have worked long hours and fit a lot in to my weeks. I was also a very structured person, working to schedules and always meeting deadlines with time to spare. Part time work doesn’t always allow this, particularly if what you are doing involves other people and the need to adapt to their changing schedules as well.
Over time I have adapted and found ways to make this work – and even though it is still not my preferred working style, I know that it allows me the flexibility to be with my family and achieve other goals with them that would otherwise not be achievable. So I have recognised that working part time with great flexibility is the biggest motivator for me and something that I am absolutely blessed with in my current role.
How do you figure out what your motivators are?
For many years now I have used this little exercise that was taught to me early on in my career to help candidates consider their current motivators in relation to work. There are 7 main motivators that tend to affect people in the workplace and they include:
As one of my mentors used to say to me all the time “You can have everything in life, just not all at once.” This tends to include the above motivators and your job, I don’t think I have interviewed anyone in 20 years that has completed this exercise and told me that they have, or have had, every single element in their role at once. However, if you can ensure that you have at least your top 4 motivators in your role, generally you will find that you are much more content at work and likely to stay longer term.
Order the above motivators in order of preference for your life right now and in to the next 3 or so years (which by the way is what we classify as longevity in a role now). Consider this carefully, your motivators will be different at different times in your life. Just like my example above, work life balance is not a natural preference as a major motivator for me, but changes to my life have meant that it has become number 1.
Some further points that may provoke your thoughts with this exercise:
Direct Manager – ever heard the saying ‘people don’t leave a job they leave a manager’? These people are likely to be highly motivated when they work for someone that they like. Is this you?
Salary – Consider this one carefully. Often people will say to me ‘no salary is not the most important factor, thats number 7 in my list’. Then I will tell them about an amazing role that fits their criteria, but they reject it as the salary doesn’t meet their benchmark.
Work Life Balance – How important is it that you have some flexibility in the way – or the hours you work? Can you work 8-6pm everyday if the role is your dream role? Do you pick up children, have classes you attend, are these flexible or does the role need to be flexible?
Location – Some people are really affected by long days due to their commute, even if the Manager, salary and job is a dream one. Is this you?
Culture – High on my priority list, I know that I am more motivated and driven when I work with like minded people who energise me. Is this important to you? Or do you work in a role where this doesn’t really have an impact. Think about it.
Stability & Security – This means different things to different people. The modern workplace doesn’t allow any of us to feel entirely secure, but certain elements help motivate us. It might be the longevity of the Mgt team, the strong brand, the valuable IP & diversified skills you have developed or the culture that remains unchanged. Ring any bells for you?
Career opportunity – is it an incredible role for you right now, or will it lead in to the dream one later on? Do you need development or is that just not important in your world? Are you happy doing whatever as long as you get paid well and work close to home?
Some people complete this exercise in 20 seconds with absolute confidence in their selections and other people have asked me if they could take it home and send it back to me tomorrow after greater thought. (Secretly I get a little excited when this happens, because it means I have provoked deep thought and consideration.)
Career decisions are difficult. So if all this time to think has had you pondering whether or not you are in the right role – have a go at this exercise for yourself. Then complete it relative to the job role that you are in and the job role that you are considering. How does it stack up with your personal selection? Will staying or making a move mean that you will have 4 of your main motivators?
If you need assistance with this exercise or with any other career guidance or support please do not hesitate to contact our highly experienced and caring team on 02 8042 1840.