Motivating Staff- Tips From Our Experts


Motivating employees was the topic of the table at B2B Cambodia’s first business breakfast event.

Implementing incentive schemes, handing out stocks and shares and earning loyalty were all tried and tested ways to get the most out of Cambodian staff in the workplace by the range of foreign businessmen at the event.

Incentive schemes are popular in the Western world but whether they translate in Cambodia depends on the motivation behind employees. Jim Swander, Country Director of Guiness Gallagher International, says, “What makes people tick in Cambodia? Once you’ve found out what motivates them, then you can put an incentive scheme in place.”

Money is one motivator but doesn’t always lead to loyalty or job satisfaction, claims Steve Higgins, former CEO of ANZ Royal bank. “Money is important and Cambodians are motivated by it to a certain extent,” he says. “However, it doesn’t develop job satisfaction in the longer term. The novelty of a high pay cheque wears off after the first one. You need something more intrinsic to motivate them.”

Measures successfully put in place at ANZ include assessing staff every six months and measuring them on performance. Regular staff parties and trips away are also organised as team building exercises. “You’ve got to be a good team player and meet values,” he adds.

Good pay and working conditions are also essential, claims Kevin Britten, owner of Top Recruitment. “And you’ve got to do what you say you’re going to do,” he adds. Britten also points out that for blue collar workers, honesty, consistency and reliability are important. Incentive by performance tends to work well with white collars because they want to see career progress.

For Susanna Coghlan, Managing Director of recruitment and training company AAA Cambodia, making employees feel valued is a top priority. “You have to recognise the value of the work that people do and people need to be involved with their work throughout the whole process. They need to feel important,” she says.

A tried and tested model introduced by Steve Path, of mobile app and web development company Pathmazing, is offering senior management 10% ownership of the company. “IT start-ups in Silicon Valley work on shares and stocks so I wanted to bring that to Cambodia.”

He also boosts motivation and morale by hosting regular fun sessions with staff. “I found that what motivates tech guys tends to be games so we will have game afternoons. You have to offer a fun and challenging environment,” he says.

So regardless of the type of business, the panel of experts agrees that it is vital employees feel valued, appreciated and are encouraged to work well into the future.


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