Articulate and Inspiring Managers Motivate Employees

Australian workers are crying out for inspiration and looking to their leaders to provide it, according to an annual investigation into the world of Australian workers by Randstad. 

Randstad’s 2011 World of Work report found nearly half of Australian employees (48%) rate the ability to motivate and inspire as the single most important attribute of a successful leader. However, more than a third (37%) rate their direct managers as ‘poor’ or ‘average’ in this capacity. A convincing 69% of employees say their leaders have adapted well to change in the past 12 months, but Randstad CEO, Fred van der Tang, says this is no longer a priority, with only 12% of employees rating the ability to adapt as the most important attribute of a successful leader. 

“Business leaders in Australia have performed exceptionally well during a period of great economic instability, adapting to change and adeptly guiding their organisations through uncertainty. As business conditions slowly improve, leaders need to change their tack accordingly”, says van der Tang. “In order to ride the next wave of growth, leaders must shake off the pragmatic approach many found necessary during the downturn, and refocus their energies on inspiring and motivating their people:” 

One in five workers (22%) say having a strong understanding of how their role contributes to achieving organisational goals is the single biggest motivator affecting their performance. A further 8% say having a strong belief in the strategic vision and goals of their organisation is paramount. 

“This means nearly a third of all employees are motivated by an organisation’s vision – underlining the importance of ‘big picture thinking’. Often executives and managers do not realise the profound effect their words and actions have on their employees”, continued van der Tang. “Leaders who are able to effectively communicate their organisation’s strategic direction can have a massive influence on employee engagement levels.” 

Employees want to feel their efforts are not only directly contributing to a vision, but that the vision is authentic and inspiring – something they can work towards and feel good about.  

“As the economy continues to strengthen, managers who are able to engage their people by articulating a strong and inspiring vision will reap tremendous rewards.” 

Other leadership statistics from the study included:

• 20% of Australian business leaders say increasing performance and productivity is the single biggest human capital challenge they will face over the next 12 months, closely followed by attracting new talent (17%), retaining top performers (16%) and managing internal change (15%).

• 68% of employers say filling critical vacancies created by employee turnover or business expansion is the biggest productivity challenge for the next 12 months. Developing leadership skills for the next phase of growth (51%) comes a close second.

• 62% of employers are experiencing skills shortages and see upskilling current employees and realigning job roles as the top two strategies to address it.

• 82% of employers will maintain or increase headcount this year. Only 15% of employers intend to hire from diverse groups- including mature age workers and people with a disability. 36% of employers intend to offer flexible work options to attract people returning to the workforce.

• 52% of employers feel the ageing workforce is going to impact negatively on their business.

• 21% of employees feel the single biggest attribute of a leader is the ability to build trusted relationships. Yet 27% of employees don’t trust their leader.

• 65% of employers provide leadership and career development opportunities to retain talent.

• 56% of employers believe the top external factor driving employee turnover is an improved job market offering better career opportunities, and 28% say the top internal factor is a lack of opportunity for growth and advancement. This is further emphasised by the 27% of managers who intend to leave their job in the next 12 months.  

[Source: Recruitment Extra, October 2011]