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How to get the best out of staff

Date: 19.07.18 |Categories: Featured |Tags:

Blog author, Brendan O'Keefe

Brendan is one of the speakers at our seminar in conjunction with Happy on 20th September. Here he provides a little insight into his topic…

More than ever before, public sector managers need to rethink how they get the best out of their staff.

When we created Epic CIC, we were clear that the command and compliance culture that dominates in local authorities would not work for us as a social enterprise. We needed an approach that encourages self-reliance and innovation. We think we found it!

Henry Stewart is the author of a remarkable little book challenging conventional wisdom about what motivates staff to do their best work. The core concept of the ‘The Happy Manifesto’ is that managers step back to allow their staff to step up. Staff do their best work when given freedom within guidelines to do the job they were recruited to do. The manager’s role is to set the parameters and to coach staff to perform to the very best of their ability.

At Epic CIC we have been applying Happy Manifesto principles. For example, we now place much more emphasis on recruiting staff with great attitude and high levels of enthusiasm and less emphasis on experience and qualifications. As a result, we have recruited some absolute stars who in all likelihood would not have made it to interview stage in our previous guise as a local authority service.

We are also keen on the concept of ‘pre-approval’, in which staff are given the go ahead to develop a project or idea but with one crucial proviso – whatever they come up with is what we will go with. It sounds risky but it produces great results. Our appraisal system was designed by staff using this principle.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a great deal of creativity and talent within the public sector just waiting to be unleashed provided the right conditions are established. With the enormity of the fiscal challenge facing us, creating such conditions is a necessity. It’s not as easy as it may sound and we have had failures along the way as well as successes. However, the research is clear. Organisations adopting Happy Manifesto style principles have a more motivated and engaged workforce and produce better results. We can vouch for that!