An interview with Grzegorz Rakoczy

How to manage a team of employees in a small or medium enterprise? What is the role of motivation programmes in this sector? And finally, what skills should a good manager have to effectively manage his team? We discuss these issues with Grzegorz Rakoczy, a Vice President at Rakoczy, a manufacturer of hot water boilers.


Motiveo: A lot is being said about team management and the role of motivation in building an efficient team. Why is employee motivation so important?

Grzegorz Rakoczy: I have recently heard of a group of sales representatives that sold, across Poland, straight out of company cars, for cash, the products of not their own company, but a competitor! This is obviously an extreme example of what the lack of management and effective motivation leads to. Effective employee motivation limits the need to control them to a minimum. But, more importantly, it allows both the employees and the employer to achieve success and feel satisfied with their jobs. Everyone needs stimuli, encouragement, and competition, not only at work, but also in other fields. If those are not there, this person won’t have a successful life, often wasting his or her talents or even becoming a lame duck pushed to live on the fringes of society.

Motiveo: What are the main methods of motivating employees? There are benefits such as free medical care, cinema tickets, etc. What else is important? Loyalty or motivation programmes for employees?

Grzegorz Rakoczy: A meeting with the manager or hearing words of appreciation from colleagues may be motivational. But personal motivation is not possible in every company. This is why we use a number of tools. Today, many forms of loyalty programmes are commonly used. However, they often entail excessive bureaucracy and complex systems of recording data. In my opinion, the terms and conditions must be clear and there needs to be on-going access to data – just like a sportsman needs to know the rules of the game and feel the interaction. Motivation programmes can’t be complex and carried out in a time-consuming way. You can’t lose data – coupons, loyalty cards, stamped documents, etc.

Motiveo: Are motivation programmes necessary at every enterprise, even a small one?

Grzegorz Rakoczy: Motivation is needed everywhere there is human activity. Even fishing wouldn’t be so pleasant if not for the exchange of information with other people spending their free time this way – watching floats on water, looking at pictures of record-holders, or telling legends of the goldfish :).

In my opinion, it’s sometimes more difficult to motivate employees in a small enterprise that has limited possibilities of promotion. Cash-based motivation systems and direct contact with employees may be more important in such companies.

Motiveo: What skills should a good manager have in order to effectively motivate the team?

Grzegorz Rakoczy: First of all, he should be a good observer, able to predict and read both the needs of the market and the needs of the employees. Employee motivation is effective only if you satisfy their actual needs and expectations. Not every sales specialist will be happy with a bigger salary if for instance he has to work in an area he doesn’t really like very much or has to work in an office where he can’t hope for personal development or interesting training seminars.

The manager needs to display a combination of analytical skills and very good social relations. A good manager is able to motivate his team to work for common success and enjoys mutual trust: trusting his employees and being trusted by them.