With so many tasks to take on it’s easy for managers to slack in the employee appreciation arena. Many think praise and encouragement is something that can be scheduled into an employee’s yearly review. Yet the truth of the matter is almost half of employees feel undervalued at work according to the American Psychological Association. The consequences of employees feeling underappreciated can be a major factor contributing to the fact that 70% of workers are disengaged from their jobs.
Correcting this dissatisfaction can be easy if managers choose to be self-aware and cognizant of the importance of showing appreciation to their employees. The pay-offs are huge when employees feel they are valued. Companies that are ranked as the best companies to work for outperform nearly 2 times those in the general market in both the S&P 500 and Russell 3000 according to Fortune Magazine.
Not only do these companies outperform in annualized stock market returns but their employees feel a sense of family and trust. They tend to have less absenteeism, lower turnover and have employees that are likely to go beyond what is expected of them.
How can you make sure your employees feel appreciated?
- Discover what is important to your employees. Every employee is different, so while one employee values public acknowledgment another may value the feeling of support, others may look for increases in salary. Take the time to ask what is important to them by having one-on-one conversations. They may not have asked themselves that question, but will appreciate you helping them discover what they really need to feel valued.
- Be self-aware of what is happening around you. We all tend to get caught up in the craziness of managing an office but taking a moment to feel the temperature of your staff can head off any growing resentment that might be brewing right under your nose. Encourage your staff to communicate with you and share when they are feeling overlooked or underappreciated. If they learn to trust you they will share with you when things don’t feel right and you can head off a potential “disengaged” employee.
- Show appreciation daily. Appreciation can be as simple as a box of donuts in the break room to a quick verbal acknowledgement that someone is doing a great job. Find a way to show your team you see their efforts and not just when the big project is done, but as they are working their way through it. Tell them they make a difference and watch how the results of that acknowledgement turns to more dedication and commitment to the team.
Remember at the end of the day we are all in this together and we bring our own set of fears, concerns and hopes with us to work every day. As a manager you not only owe it to your company’s bottom line but to those that put their faith you in to lead them and make sure they feel valued. It’s not about coddling the needy employee but instead creating an environment that sparks creativity and camaraderie. Appreciation is about treating each human with respect and allowing them to make a difference as well.