Matt Comber
by Matt Comber
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I once heard a great story from a teacher I knew in Huyton:

The class bully was getting way out of control and had taken to trashing the boys’ toilets every day as his favourite means of satisfying his frustrations, in addition to weekly fights with other pupils. Naturally, those around him who found this behaviour inspiring also took to causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage to school property, and the teachers were left scratching their heads since no amount of punishment would halt the destruction.

The teachers decided instead to give the boy the opportunity to re-decorate the bathroom, working alongside the teachers outside of his classes to scrub down the walls, re-tile the floors, and install better facilities. This renovation was now his own project.

How many incidents do you think followed after that?


Advocates, Employees & Inmates

The moral of the story is to reward both those who work hard, and those who don't. You can always tell the difference in the workplace between those that show up 9 - 5 to do their job, and those that invest in weekend time, after-hours calls/emails, and make themselves creators in the business.

Point #3 in this short piece from TIME makes this argument too - give them an opportunity. What kind of result do you expect if you allocate an ill-fitting job or project to an employee with next to no motivation as it is? Not everybody works the same.

Your Advocate employee is already behind the business before day #1 and should be vetted for Management from the get-go, especially if they set the bar quite high from the start. Your Employees are often in the middle, so it’s up to you to find their motivations to excel, but this takes personal research and time. Inmates, well they’re your bottom 5% that will be toxic to your business - get rid.



If you’ve a few too many employees to work out their individual motivations, (and you should at always try to get to know your employees), I have a few persona groups here with their own carrot-on-stick approaches:

Sales: Sales Day

Pick 1 day of the month, invest in a crate of beers/tablet/vouchers, and set targets. Make a day of it, get bets on the go, and play on those all-important rivalries between divisions/offices to stoke the fire of even your most unenthused sales bod.


Design & Development: Hackathon

This is the kind of world that your Dev guys live and breathe - it’s probably why they joined you in the first place! Give them a project, 24 hours, similar prizes to win, and watch them magic up some of that long-lost love for their craft.

Enter them into competitions, or better yet, let them enter themselves and sponsor their team. It's great PR, look:


Finance & HR: Corporate Weekends, Events and PR stunts

These require your most organised, admin-savvy team members, and you can bet your HR department is chomping at the bit to up the office atmosphere. Don’t just sign up to an Event, if you can find cost-effective means, why not throw your own and get your HR team to build it?


In Recruitment

As a heavily admin-focussed industry, the digital tools you use within your business are naturally going to determine your company’s effectiveness. Renewing your technology is a considered a staple practice in our industry (at least every 2 years), and it will settle much of your consultants’ frustrations by upgrading, especially if you’re using an out-dated CRM/logging system.

Flexibility is all about the management of time, so give yourself and your staff more time by identifying Inmates and getting rid, scheduling regular opportunities for your Employees to shine, and empowering your Advocates with the tools they need to stay ahead of the curve.



How much does a recruitment website cost in 2023?

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