Does that headline shock you…or do you agree? I’ll admit that when I started doing a bit of research on workplace appreciation, the idea that people wouldn’t find value in giving appreciation, or see the importance of saying thank you to a staff member, was not even remotely on my radar. I just naively assumed that everyone recognizes the importance of it, but perhaps aren’t that great at doing it.
What I learned instead is how many people do not believe that appreciation is necessary or worthwhile: 70% of employees say they receive no praise or recognition! WTF – I had no idea.
This of course got me thinking about my own actions and beliefs…what do I do and what have I been doing? Do I do a good job of showing appreciation to my team members? Maybe all of the thank you’s that I KNOW that I spout out are all hopelessly wasted, and not at all what my employees are looking for. What else could I be doing, how else can I show my teammates that I value them? Because I WANT them to feel valued and appreciated. I WANT them to know that I couldn’t do what I do without them. And I KNOW that by sharing my appreciation with them, I will get better performance and commitment from my staff, because they will feel a deeper drive to go the extra mile for me and for our organization. When my team feels better about me and their work, their loyalty will grow, and they will work harder for me in the long run, and guess what? Ultimately that positively affects my bottom line as a business owner.
What do you think? If you’re still not convinced, or if you aren’t sure where to start, here are some thoughts around showing appreciation and cultivating a rich and positive culture throughout your organization. And let’s face it, no one ever complains about feeling too appreciated at work!
- It starts with you. You need to set the example and find opportunities to give praise. I truly find this hard sometimes, and I think it might be because I’m hard on myself and don’t often find time to recognize my own good work. A suggestion would be to take a moment every day to write down something great that you accomplished, which might help to break down any barriers you have about finding something great to say about your teammates. The more you do this, the easier it will get, I promise!
- Lose the “buts”. It can sometimes seem like a natural way to give praise is to mix it with a suggestion, but try to avoid saying things like “That was a great job, BUT if you could just make these 5 changes then it would be even more awesome.” Ending your praise with “but” doesn’t really feel like praise. Try to look for solid opportunities to give positive encouragement for a job well done without any additional feedback.
- Treats. Everyone loves to receive a little treat; I know I love to receive one now and then. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but the occasional delicious tray of food, small gift, flowers, or tickets to an event can go a long way towards making someone feel recognized and appreciated. For people who don’t like public praise, a nicely written note that they can read at home might be just the thing.
- Empowerment. Giving your team the ability to make decisions, offer suggestions, and feel like valued contributors to a project or problem is a great way to show that you value them and their ideas.
- Appreciation Programs. Feeling particularly inspired to crank this up a notch? Why not create a more formal and regular rewards program that recognizes your team for a job well done, which can include both public and internal recognition for completing a project, meeting a goal, or just for kicking ass on something specific.
- It’s not all up to managers. While employees might feel that it’s up to their manager to give them positive feedback, I think it’s equally important for teammates to recognize and praise their colleagues, and heck…why not praise your boss if they just pulled off something great! Building a positive culture certainly does need buy-in at the top, but think about how awesome it could be if everyone was committed to doing this together?!
- Monetary appreciation. I’ve focused a lot here on non-monetary appreciation, as I believe that making your staff feel appreciated does not have to be expensive, and that you might truly have a stronger culture if it is built on trust and positivity as opposed to money…but compensation is certainly very high on many people’s list of ways to show them they are appreciated. If paying top dollar is not what your company can do at the moment, then consider offering flexible work schedules, the ability to work from home occasionally, or some other type of benefits instead. If you can afford to, you can certainly add in profit sharing models or bonus structures.
It’s important to show your recognition and appreciation for people’s work, and whether you are a startup or a huge organization, you can find lots of appropriate and creative ways to do this. My advice is start today. Don’t make it overly complicated or tedious – it doesn’t need to be. Here’s a suggestion: order lunch for your staff tomorrow…or bring in some donuts in the morning. Choose one person and go thank them right now for something awesome he or she did today.
I just took my own advice and sent a quick note to an awesome team member who has been kicking ass today and told her what a ROCKSTAR she is…(you know who you are, awesome lady!)