top of page

Unlocking Discretionary Effort

If you were offered one extra employee for free for every 10 employees, would you take it? Of course you would, why wouldn’t you?

Its well known that every employee has on average 10% discretionary effort that they are prepared to give to their employer. So in essence, for every 10 workers, if you could unlock the “discretionary effort” you would get a further worker for free! In a team of 50 you could have the resource of 55 for no additional cost.

Well lets first understand what discretionary effort is; it’s the person who patiently waits at the end of their working day to speak to the customer who cant make up their mind; it’s the person who comes out to the car to make sure your customer can fit their product in their boot; So, we hear you say; “how do I tap into this”?

Well why consider these 5 easy tips that if explored, implemented and followed through will go a long way to unlocking that discretionary effort:

1. Don’t measure it; as soon as you try to measure it; no matter how good the intention, it ceases to be discretionary; It is appreciated that old fashioned management theories will say if it cant be measured – it cant work! Not true!

2. Create a workplace experience that stimulates a pride in the products and services that you offer, encourage stories about unsung hero’s and examples that can be celebrated; and do it often;

3. According to a recent Gallop study, an employees direct manager influences as much as 76% of employees discretionary effort and commitment to the organisation (effective employee engagement). Having strong connections with the people you lead is the equivalent of possessing the keys to engaging them. There is no other quick leadership technique or method to build the trust, hope and a sense of stability in the workplace.

4. Most managers mistakenly believe that whatever motivates them also motivates their employees. Instead of assuming, ask them. Their answers should give you a good indication of how you can align their tasks and roles to best engage their natural strengths and motivation.

5. Really get to know the team on a multitude of levels; make an effort to get to know them and share parts of you with them. Its easier to relate and connect to someone what they feel like they know you.

There are a multitude of ways to unlock the effort, all of which ultimately come back to effective employee engagement. If you would like to understand more, please do contact NucleusHR through


bottom of page