Corporate Culture and Employment Relations

Motivation and Work Environment

New Email human resources specialists, Mr. Tom Headhunter and his assistant Jennifer (to name
the two we are acquainted with), know only too well that when they take on high-quality hires, it is also necessary to keep them. This means that one of the major tasks of the HR Department is:

  • to create and maintain a supportive work environment,
  • to keep the employees involved and motivated.

They attempt to achieve this in several ways.

Useful Phrases

Above of all, they try to be a good company to work for”, says Mr. Headhunter in an interview posted on New Email Blog. Some of the key factors are communication and involvement. “Top management and HR Department attach great importance to having a high degree of information and dialogue with people at all levels,” he goes on to explain.

On a practical level, it means that departmental teams regularly meet up, mostly on a weekly basis, and share information about business and their everyday life. Top management and HR people circulate around these meetings and make sure they keep up to day with the current agenda of
the departments and wellbeing of their members
.” And indeed, these personal, face-to-face meetings are highly valued in the whole company, as several randomly asked employers reported.

Also,” Mr. Headhunter very proudly continues, “when there is a decision to be made which would affect our employees’ work, everybody gets a chance to have a say in the decision making process and their voice is heard. People just need a feeling of personal involvement in what is going on in the company and we do our best to make sure they get it.” 

Effective and friendly communication is a crucial factor in keeping company staff motivated. New Email HR Department concentrates on the area of:

  • work conditions and environment,
  • job satisfaction.

For majority of people, the sense that they are doing meaningful and rewarding work is actually more important than the salary package.


Work conditions

  • continual work on transparent and effective company policies
  • providing effective and supportive team and individual supervision
  • maintaining culture of respect for all company workers
  • supporting a team spirit
  • providing all necessary tools and information needed for work
  • ensuring that pays and rewards correspond to personal and team achievements

Job satisfaction

  • providing opportunities for achievement, advancement and promotion
  • acknowledgment of employees’ contributions
  • creating and assigning meaningful work that corresponds to an employee’s skills and qualifications
  • giving as much responsibility to each team member as possible
  • offering training and development opportunities



Performance Appraisal Interviews

Every six months, the department heads or HR workers conduct a one-to-one meeting with every employee to discuss their progress, difficulties of any kind, and ideas about their professional development, and draw up a performance assessment. Everything must be recorded in written documentation. Such meetings are usually called performance appraisal interviews. They are not supposed to function as police interrogation, but a two-way conversation providing a constructive feedback and setting goals and objectives for the next period. Here are sample questions and phrases used during this interview.




–          What do you like best/least about your job?

–          Overall, how do you feel your performance has been?

–          What were your specific accomplishments during this period?

–          What do you think are your strengths and opportunities for development?

–          Are there any areas where you feel you could improve?

How can I help you optimize your performance?

–          What would you like to learn?

–          What do you need from me?

Giving feedback, asking for
the employee’s views and clarifications:

–          You are so good at …. We need to find a way to improve your ability to…

–          Can you think of ways we could do this?

–          You are exceptional at …

–          We need to figure out how to …

–          How might you improve your performance in …?

–          What might help increase your effectiveness at …?


–          What do you think went well this year?

–          What do you think I should do differently?

–          What can I do to improve my rating in this area?

–          What can I do to be more helpful to people
on the team?

–          What are our most important goals for next year?

–          How can I make your job easier?

–          How do you think our business is going to change in the future? What challenges is our company facing?

–          What career opportunities do you see for someone with my background?

–          Is there room for advancement?



Reporting on performance:

–          At the last assessment we said I was going to undertake responsibility for…

… and I think I did that really well.

–          There was a lot of work to do and I think I managed really well.

–          These expectations were not realistic.

–          I’m not responsible for this because…

–          I know I could do better in…

–          I think we could set this as a goal for the next assessment.

Naturally, where there are people, there are also problems. Mr. Headhunter (somewhat reluctantly) admits that even in New Mail not everything proceeds smoothly and problems must be addressed: “From time to time, there appear some difficult personalities, team members with bad attitudes and uncooperative behaviour, poor performers and pessimists spreading negativity through
the workplace. Although the New Email Code of Conduct is known to everybody, there will always be someone who will – at least from time to time – violate it
.” He then gives us several examples of such problems and some elementary steps to tackle them.

Examples of problems from an supervisor’s perspective:

  • poor performance
  • breaches of company policy
  • unacceptable behaviour
  • absenteeism, lateness
  • conflict between employees
  • calling in sick on Monday mornings

When a problem arises, the managers
need to

  • deal with the issue immediately
  • gather the facts about the problems
  • avoid getting into arguments
  • point out the consequences of misbehaviour
  • listen to everyone’s views carefully
  • record actions and expectations

Fortunately, in New Mail they have many more chances to reward their employees with different kinds of benefits than to warn them against consequences of their misconduct. Well, the obvious and most demanded reward is a pay rise, but there are many others, also quite popular. There are
a number of categories of fringe benefits or perks, below are just a few examples.

Employee Benefits Examples

performance related pay/salary/remuneration/compensation

payment reviewed on a merit bases, i.e. how well an employee carries out his/her job

health and sports

gym and fitness membership, sports facilities at work, game rooms, massage vouchers…

assistance programmes

counselling and advice on personal issues

flexible working hours

adjustment of working hours to suit personal and family life

pension scheme

contributory retirement scheme

company car

fuel, mileage allowance


vouchers, canteen, subsidised prices

child care

babysitting at work premises