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Peer to peer: Key managers need to be trusted and challenged

What tools do you use to motivate senior management?

Clare Hamilton-Eddy - Managing director, Yulu Public Relations 

No matter what our job title is, we’re all human. By that I mean we all need to feel valued, empowered, recognized and rewarded. I don’t think you need to treat senior people significantly differently from other employees.

In my experience, to motivate senior people, it’s important to continually explore ways to stay relevant and think big, and create the systems to support this ideation and implementation. Discussing and debating the latest industry insights and growth opportunities for a brand or company can be inspiring, especially if people walk away feeling they’ve been listened to, their thoughts are valued and that there are clear next steps. Likewise, it’s healthy to take a “let’s find a way to make this work” mentality. Collaboration is key.

From an HR perspective, we apply the Clifton StrengthsFinder to empower and analyze members from all levels within the company.

Finally, it helps with recruitment needs as it ensures our teams have a balanced skill set. Finding and developing top talent is always rewarding to any manager. Equally, we ensure our key leaders have a growth plan of their own so that everyone receives candid feedback.

Alena Levitz - Executive director, BC Unclaimed Property Society

Senior management staff are the backbone of any organization. Key staff members are really your business partners and should be treated accordingly.

To engage and motivate senior management staff, I sit down with managers to clarify what their career goals are – in both the short term and the long term – and ask what can I do as an employer to support them to be successful in their job. I make sure to factor into our budget generous professional development allowances so senior staff can do their jobs to the best of their ability. I also believe it’s extremely important to include key staff in strategic planning discussions, just as you would any business partner.

Recognizing the significant influence work-life balance has on job satisfaction, I ask each of my senior and key people, “What can I as an employer do to make you happy?” Depending on the employee’s stage of life, the answers can vary from requesting more time off to some sort of flexible work arrangements, or additional professional development opportunities.

Talented people can work anywhere they want to but if you have strong relationships with your senior team they will want to work with you. 

Anthony Myers - HR manager, AarKel Tool and Die

The motivation of senior and key employees is an ongoing and complex program. It is essential that employees at this level are kept well informed of the progress and direction of the company. Management meetings play an important role in maintaining the flow of this important information.

Employees, particularly at this level, need to understand the consequences of their actions and the effect they have on the performance of the organization.

Annual performance reviews allow both the employer and management an opportunity to formalize and exchange observations, recognize accomplishments and create new goals.

Training at all levels can be strong motivator. As well, succession planning sets the path for managers to take on executive or more senior management positions.

It’s also important to demonstrate trust in the performance and decisions of managers. Having been placed in a position of authority, managers need to be provided with the opportunity to make decisions within the scope of their position.

Finding the motivators can take time but the results are worth the effort.