HR Strange But True!
April 03, 2008

Our mates, the Aussie HR pros, have come up with some "bonzer" ideas to motivate their best employees by appealing to their competitive spirits--and inflating their egos!

Australian employers are reacting to a nasty convergence of unfilled positions and an underskilled applicant pool by hatching creative plans to retain their best workers and increase their productivity, according to recent articles in the News Corporation's Follow these tips, and you'll be "dead cert" of results.

Trigger their pride. "Don't pay them money, go for their egos," advises Melbourne management coach Brian Campbell, who suggests placing large scoreboards around the workplace that feature departmental results towards company goals. "Trigger their pride and they want to get to 100 percent," says Campbell .

Don't just congratulate, publicize. Complimenting employees on a job well done is good, but putting the message on a banner is even better.

Start workplace rumors. In Australia, it's not uncommon for management to intentionally plant "rumours" about budget cuts or mergers "to get people focused" and working harder, according to the article.

Redecorate the workplace. To keep employees from getting complaisant and to get them more engaged, Aussie companies are redecorating using "fun themes" and bright colors and turning work areas into a rainforest or a Zen temple.

Try team sports at lunch. " Give it a bash" and get those workplace teams out on the soccer field for fresh air, exercise--and competition. "Australians are very competitive," says Campbell .

Hold "laughter circles." Start the morning out right by holding regular "laughter circles," hosted by "laughter coaches," where employees are encourage to chuckle and giggle for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce stress and increase focus.

Give employee gifts. A survey by Talent2 Australian showed that some employers were increasing retention by showering workers with lavish gifts such as iPods, plane tickets, and free housecleaning services.

Let employees take a year off with pay. Aussies have extreme wanderlust, and many young workers quit jobs to travel the world. When the St. George Bank saw its valuable newbies doing this, it came up with a "Career Break" program. Workers can sign up for the 5-year program, where they work 4 years at 80 percent pay and then get a paid year off to travel funded by the money in the "kitty"--and the job held open upon return. A more popular aspect of the program is a guaranteed 10-weeks off a year in exchange for a discount in pay.

Will American employers try these ideas? Blimey!


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