Wyre Council

The importance of staff to an organisation

After Wyre once again secured the coveted Investors In People (IIP) Gold standard, Garry looks at the importance of putting people first for organisational success.

Garry Payne"Companies that invest in their employees' professional and personal development will gain competitive edge over their rivals and a more committed workforce" (Mike Jeram, National Secretary of Business and the Environment, Unison).

In my opinion employees, including volunteers, are the most important resource for any company. How employees are treated and how much they value the company they work for will have an impact on how the company performs. Diversity, health and safety, workplace conditions, personal development, work/life balance and remuneration are all issues that responsible employers need to address to ensure a happy, motivated workforce.

So is Wyre a happy place to work and does that really matter?

According to the book, The Joy of Work, Jobs, Happiness and You, by Peter Warr and Guy Clapperton, extensive research has demonstrated links between being happier in a job and being better at a job, and companies with higher than average employee happiness exhibit better financial performance and customer satisfaction. I would suggest that it is beneficial for companies to create and maintain positive work environments and leadership that contributes to the happiness of their employees.

Most business leaders agree that customer service is a major factor in their future plans. For many it represents the main differentiator, as the realisation that competing on price alone is a recipe for disaster for many businesses.

Great customer service also represents great business as it leads to fewer dissatisfied customers, fewer mistakes and lower operating costs. Additionally, employees are likely to stay longer and add further value when they are involved with an organisation that provides great customer service and value.

"We believe that by putting our people and our customers at the heart of what we do will reap business benefits and the on-going, effective training we can provide across the operations will help play a key part in realising these benefits" (LV).

Garry on receptionCustomer service and employee performance are interrelated. There are numerous examples at Wyre where employees provide excellent customer service; as a result they are exceeding job expectations. The success of our services is based, in part, on the level of service our customers receive. As a service provider, our reputation is based almost solely on our employees' performance. Again there are many examples at Wyre where employees have demonstrated outstanding interpersonal relationship and communication skills when handling our customers' business needs.

In our recent staff survey 86% of employees stated they are trusted by their manager to do a good job. Trust is essential to the success of any business. A high rate of employee contentedness is directly related to a lower turnover rate and at Wyre our turnover is extremely low!

Motivating employees is vital to the success of any business. A motivated workforce means a highly productive staff, all of which will help us to achieve the objectives and priorities in our business and service plans.

Often the people best placed to suggest improvements are the frontline staff responsible for operations. Enlightened firms show trust in their employees and display a willingness to learn from their experiences. With its open approach, JD Wetherspoon actively encourages its staff to challenge existing ideas and practices in pursuit of continuous improvement. This often involves adjusting many things a little, rather than making a sweeping change. Suggestions mainly come from employees, based on their experience at work. Ongoing improvement includes identifying best practice within parts of the organisation and applying it throughout. Only an open culture fully achieves this sharing of good practice. I believe that here at Wyre we have created an open culture with motivated employees who are delivering lasting results.

There is, however, a big difference between motivating someone into wanting to do something and merely getting them to do it. The motivational theorist Frederick Herzberg noted that he could get even his dog to move by shouting at it or kicking it. Neither Herzberg nor I regard this as successful motivation. I have two reasonably well trained gun dogs (Springer, 8 and Cocker, 3) neither are perfect but both are noticeably better than those dogs that were trained by the use of what some may describe as negative techniques.

Successful motivation is based on appealing to an individual's intrinsic drives rather than using external threats and rewards. Herzberg argued that to motivate an individual involves identifying and using a range of 'satisfiers'. These are factors that will motivate someone to want to do a job successfully e.g. by meeting their need for more responsibility, higher status, greater job satisfaction or enhanced self-esteem. Herzberg's ideas on motivation are similar to those of Abraham Maslow.

Planning policySo was our recent retention of Investors In People Gold Award and increased score just a fluke or as described by the assessor "...an outstanding result"?

Well the evidence from the interviews carried out by the assessor clearly points to the latter! But interestingly a number of people unconnected with the recent IIP Assessment have commented on the positive, friendly, can do attitude of staff and how the organisation has clearly embraced its core values, in particular 'One Team One Council'. It is a privilege to be the Chief Executive of such a positive and successful organisation but the challenge for us all is maintaining that success and a positive, happy working atmosphere!

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There is one response to “The importance of staff to an organisation”

  1. ian roberts Says:

    Hi garry,

    Great blog and congratulations on the IIP Gold - fantastic achievement.