Shifting gears - moving from neutral to maximum motivation
2020 was… 2020. But 2021 is shaping up very differently, and with our enhanced capabilities and increased resilience, vaccines rolling out, and heaps of exciting opportunities ahead, momentum is in the air!
As HR professionals we all understand the importance of employee engagement. Multiple studies show that staff who are engaged in their work and show up every day with motivation, purpose, passion and energy are more likely to:
- be happier and healthier
- be more productive
- produce higher quality work
- take less unplanned leave.
All of this results in better outcomes for the business, and – in the case of the APS – the community we serve. So how do you supercharge your motivation (and by extension, help others do the same)?
We talked to two APS leaders from outside the HR profession about how they personally get engaged and motivated. Working in two innovative and future-focused agencies, they shared their different approaches to adopting the right mindset to charge head-first into the interesting challenges of 2021.
Clare McLaughlin, General Manager, National Health and Medical Research Council
The nation’s leading expert body in health and medical research, NHMRC creates pathways to a healthier future for Australians through research funding, health guidelines, and setting and upholding ethical standards. As General Manager, Clare ensures the NHMRC operates effectively and efficiently at all levels.
To me, there’s nothing worse than having the unwanted baggage of a previous year hang around like… well… something unwanted (my unhealthy addiction to pizza, perhaps). That’s why at the start of each new year I love to throw open the windows and let that sweet summer air and sunshine in, chuck the trash, treasure the triumphs, and revel in that new-opportunities smell that only brand-new years have.
Let me give you an example. From an NHMRC perspective, I treasure the fact that last year we learned our HR team really cares; the empathy and compassion they showed to their colleagues and clients, particularly those in Melbourne during the second lock-down, was hugely appreciated. I also love how we brought a whole new meaning to being able to ‘bring our whole selves to work’. Thanks to Zoom, we got to know people in an entirely new light – and with dogs barking at the postman, to cats jumping on keyboards and cameos from kids and partners, meetings were a whole new level of fun!
As for all the brand-new opportunities waiting just ahead… well, who wouldn’t get excited?! It’s remarkable that we’re entering 2021 with vaccines being rolled out around the world, considering there’s never been an effective vaccine for a Coronavirus before. The way the science and research community around the world has mobilised to get us to this point is extraordinary… just imagine what breakthroughs will be next!
Raphael Arndt, Chief Executive Officer at Future Fund
Future Fund is Australia’s sovereign wealth fund; in short, they invest now to generate high, risk adjusted, returns for the benefit of future generations of Australians. As CEO, Raphael is responsible for managing Future Fund to strengthen the Australian Government's long-term financial position.
Growing up I was inspired by the great visionary Walt Disney.
He was adventurous, innovative and entrepreneurial. Whilst he holds the record for the most Academy Awards earned by an individual – not an accolade that has ever been in my sights! – he remained grounded and humble.
I take some inspiration from this.
My three boys have a way of keeping me grounded – especially after spending months in the house together during Melbourne’s lockdown!
Disney once said, ‘A man should never neglect his family for business’, and that is a mantra of mine. I want to be there for my family. I want them to be proud of what I do.
And that’s what motivates me each day to go to work. What gives me an advantage, I think, is the alignment between my true motivation and our purpose at the Future Fund: investing for the benefit of future generations of Australians. Every single dollar we make is a dollar that adds to Australia's wealth and contributes to its future.
When you’re working in a role and for an organisation with a purpose that aligns with your own values, it’s very fulfilling – and staying motivated becomes almost easy.
Walt Disney also said, ‘Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious….and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’
The world is changing rapidly. While that is creating challenges, it’s also opening new opportunities. 2021 is a new beginning for all of us. It’s not about the days listed on the calendar – it’s about the changes taking place all around us, and what we’re willing to make of them.
In the words of one of my favourite Disney characters, the opportunities are ‘To infinity, and beyond!’
We hope these leaders’ insights gave you the boost you need to get back into gear and take on 2021. Why not be bold and share your own motivational tips on GovTEAMS?