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Ruth Badger: “What are you doing to motivate staff “

Badger has already proven her tenacity in business. She survived the second series of Alan Sugar’s Apprentice, nearly scooping the big prize.

She went on to found the Ruth Badger Consultancy in 2006. And, in the wake of this financial crisis, she shares her tips on motivating employees with

Here are some gems:

"Motivating staff is one of the most basic, fundamental things for any business," she says. "But it’s even more important in a recession. People who don’t know how to performance manage their staff think that it has to involve a cost but that’s not true. A lot of businesses have spent money unnecessarily. Corporate days don’t work; they’re just a jolly. In my old job I remember running around in an SAS suit shooting people when all I was bothered about was what was going on in the office."

Instead, she recommends some lateral thinking. With money tight, there are some cash-free options for rewarding staff.

"I sat down with the staff and told them I wasn’t putting any money into incentives. We ran incentives with time off; where if they’d made 12 sales by 2pm on a Thursday they got the Friday off."

Badger also holds weekly meetings to boost morale. This is purely for the benefit of her staff – so that they understood how the company is doing, and have a chance to air their views and ideas.

If this sounds a bit wishy washy, there is another, more agressive, option to incentivise staff.

"Create an achievement culture where you pit one person against another. As long as you maintain the momentum, that will increase the company’s performance and keep them motivated because they’re focused."

You still need to reward the big-hitters, however. And sometimes, time off just doesn’t cut it. Do you know what really gets your staff’s juices flowing”

"That’s quite difficult for a lot of employers," says Badger. "They think that success is motivation and that’s wrong. My PA, for example, is not motivated by money, alcohol or time off. She’s motivated by Chanel make-up."

And be open about numbers. If staff have a clear idea of what’s expected of them it’s easier to drive towards that target.

"Every single morning in my businesses an email is sent communicating company performance to date. I can tell you how much revenue we’ve got to date, how much we need today and how many sales days are left. I asked a sales director recently if he knew how many sales days there were in January and he didn’t, which is shocking to me. The answer is 21. If you break down the figure you need to hit by 21 to get a daily rate, it starts to look achievable and that motivates staff."

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