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Colleges are employers, not only educators

23 February 2015

2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year for colleges. In a few months we’ll be electing a new Government – how this will look is anyone’s guess. Each party is already promising different policies that will impact on colleges and students. In this time of unknown, it’s even more critical to make sure that staff are kept motivated. Creating a great place to work encourages talented people to stay and help the college grow and develop. However it’s no easy task. People need to feel valued and challenged and trust needs to be at the heart of what you do. Here are my top tips to achieve this: 1. A strong, positive culture that gives meaningful purpose to all So what is a positive culture? Employees are really looking for an environment that supports personal development, recognises and rewards excellence, is honest even in challenging times, creates mutual support among colleagues and is fair in its dealings. Positive cultures are created and supported from the top down. 2. Real chances to develop and grow personally and professionally It’s no secret that great companies focus on providing growth opportunities for their employees. Great managers look for ways to match employees’ skills and passions with the organisation’s needs. This is done simply through good old-fashioned relationships, developed through conversation, observation and thought. 3. Work that challenges in the right way and allows people to use their skills To perform at our best, we need significant and interesting challenges. This moves us to a position where we can experience what is known as "flow" (being totally involved and engaged in the activity). When challenge is too much we can become anxious and worried, when it’s too little we become disengaged. Getting the balance right will motivate your team. None of this is easy. But as we all know, colleges are employers as well as educational institutions. They have some of the most talented, innovative and dedicated staff, who work tirelessly on behalf of the students and the college as a whole. To get the most out of employees, leaders need to make sure the support systems are in place to help them develop and grow. Stephanie Davies is the CEO of Laughology, and will be discussing these issues in her presentation at AoC’s Annual HR Conference & Exhibition 2015 on 24 March in Nottingham. To attend Stephanie’s session entitled The neurology of motivation, register today or view the full programme.