ACCORDING to recent research, chief operating officers have cited high-quality staff as the top factor that has contributed most to the growth of their companies.

Interestingly, finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees have also become one of their biggest operational challenges in managing their companies' rapid growth.

One of the top reasons people usually give for leaving their job is, more often than not, their immediate superior or management.

Managing people should no longer be simply viewed as just a responsibility, but an extremely important skill that managers should constantly hone and improve to deal with the diverse personalities and cultures in a team or company.

An acute global shortage of talent across all industries made it critical that business managers know exactly what energises and motivates their staff to keep the invaluable human capital within the organisation.

Here are some management insights on how managers can effectively get the most out of their staff and motivate them to put in their best always:

1. Adopt a people-focused culture

There is a reason why some of the world's top organisations attribute their success to their people.

By treating their employees as the most valuable asset of the company, they achieve impressive results and become more competitive across many fronts.

Such companies tend to create a favourable brand perception (internally and externally) by treating their staff right and, naturally, become desired employers to work for.

A people-focused culture energises employees and inspires them to achieve more than what they think is possible, especially if they know they are part of the company's growth and success.

Employees enjoy working where their contributions are valued. Their morale is boosted when they are given more responsibility, autonomy and freedom.

They are more likely to articulate the company's shared vision and bring their best ideas to work.

2. Be a leader, not a manager

Many business managers are often trapped in the daily running of their companies or assigned divisions. The point is, micro-managing all aspects of a business does not make you a great leader.

To remain competitive in today's world, organisations need inspiring leaders who can inject enthusiasm into the work environment and make employees excited about their jobs.

When a conservative and rigid management insists on total control, employees will merely do what they are told.

Genuine leadership uses talents cleverly to bring about real and limitless productivity, as employees begin to emulate and internalise their leaders' positive attitude and approach to work, especially when these leaders support them wholeheartedly in whatever they do.

To bring out the best in people, never lead by intimidation. It is more important that you earn the trust, respect and consideration of your people so that they are encouraged to put in exceptional performance for you and the company.

People do what they have to do for a manager, but they will offer their very best for a great leader.

3. Encourage risk-taking and innovation

When a company becomes too entrenched in rules, regulations, guidelines and policies, it kills creativity and innovation within the workplace.

Employees will clock in their hours daily and perform their assigned duties as contracted, but with hardly any interest in achieving the company's mission, vision and goals.

An organisation that does not challenge its people to think, create, innovate and contribute will only give rise to more people with a "Why rock the boat?" mentality.

Build a culture that encourages and empowers people to take a certain level of risk.

With the knowledge that mistakes are permissible, employees will be more open and proactive in sharing their thoughts, ideas and opinions on how to make things better.

Many innovative products and ideas, such as sticky notepads, correction fluid and band-aids, are the brainchild of ordinary people who gave their employers a significant competitive advantage within their industry.

Employees are the best creative resource for innovative ideas and solutions as they are closest to the business, its customers and processes.

The best way to tap into this resource is to instil confidence by showing trust and celebrating those who are willing to take risks, and supporting those who try and fail.

4. Stretch and challenge

Challenge your staff constantly by setting and exacting the highest standards, spurring them on to achieve what are seemingly impossible targets.

By ensuring that everyone is working to meet these standards, you are generating enthusiasm among the workforce and creating a competitive spirit within the company.

When a company inspires its people to make such targets a reality, they get excited about their work and are eager to achieve the vision by maximising their own capabilities.

Keep up the energy of the organisation and recruit people who share the same kind of passion for the work you do.

Inject fun, challenges and opportunities into your business so that employees look forward to coming to work and contributing their best to the company.