Motivating Staff: Lessons from a head-hunter

1. Create a great team, tell them they are great and get them to act like they are great. Great people hire great people. The candidates will see what you have all become and will want some of your glitter to rub off on them. Motivation arises from the desire to become just as great.

2. Provide opportunity for great challenge. People like to achieve against the odds, they want to come up with the best ideas. Challenge grabs people

3. Think carefully about the culture and lifestyle associated with working in your school. Don’t just tell staff that they are respected but make them feel respected. Interestingly at John Lewis there is a firm belief that a lot can be achieved between 9 and 5 and that work does not have to be done in employees own time. Make staff feel part of the important methodologies being used to achieve the vision that all have bought into. At John Lewis all feel valued because they all own part of the company and board directors answer open questions in a regular internal magazine.

4. The environment helps – a lot. Thoughtful gestures motivate people. Cake Friday, toilets decorated to a high standard, cards thanking people for all their efforts – it all makes a difference.

5. Highlight the career trajectory that is possible. People care about the future and more importantly they care about being stretched in the future. They expect an awareness of this information.

6. Promote the USP of what you are asking staff to do. People like to do something different, they like to do something that has never been done before or which has never been tackled in that way. People like the unusual and the eccentric, it is interesting and it is motivating.

7. People like to give something back. The desire for public service is what attracted teachers in the first place and it must be allowed to stay at the forefront of people’s agendas. People want to feel that want they are doing is fulfilling

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