Appreciation, when it becomes part of the corporate culture, can be the secret weapon that propels companies past their competition.
In fact, more than half of employees revealed they would stay longer at their jobs if their bosses showed them more appreciation, according to one recent survey.
Conversely, a lack of appreciation in the workplace can lead to employee frustration—resulting in substandard performance, productivity and profitability, all of which can cripple a company. Business owners and managers must ask themselves how much they value their employees. In many cases, their behavior toward these workers might force them to admit: “not much.”
Genuine appreciation recognizes the value and worth of employees in all types of situations. And appreciation doesn’t just mean an occasional word of gratitude; it means demonstrating your obsession with the value all workers bring to your organization—from the security guard to the assembly-line employee to the floor supervisor.
There are lots of ways to motivate employees by demonstrating appreciation. A simple but tried-and-true idea is to hand out “employee of the month” awards and similar recognitions.
As managers, try to find time to stop and thank the people in your organization who make a difference. Too often, workers are ignored, asked to perform tasks without proper guidance, given little constructive feedback so they can improve at their job, acknowledged only rarely for their good work, and singled out only when they make mistakes. This takes a toll on even the most energetic and positive employees.
While it may come as no surprise that many employees say pay raises are the No. 1 way to make them feel appreciated at work, other types of appreciation they value include unexpected treats and rewards, involvement in decision-making, company-wide recognition, opportunities to do interesting work, telecommuting options and company-sponsored social events.
For a job well done, saying a simple “thank you”—in person or in a handwritten note—can go a long way toward making employees feel valued. It’s efficient and easy to write e-mails that accomplish this task, but because it takes time to sit down and write a note, or to stop by someone’s desk, that extra effort is rarely lost on employees. It’s the exceptional manager who makes an effort to walk around the workplace each day looking for opportunities to praise the members of his or her team.
Thanking employees regularly may also help them to better accept criticism, as long as that feedback is specific. If you try to make your employees feel better at what they do, both positive and negative feedback becomes an accepted part of the workplace conversation.
Developing a culture of appreciation throughout the entire organization can lead to business success, which will be evident in increased performance, productivity and profitability.
Shankar Krishnamoorthy is CEO of Asteor Software, which markets Synergita, a cloud-based, HR performance management software.