Earlier this month I discussed finding and keeping employees. Now we need to talk about valuing and appreciating them. Maybe you found your “purple squirrel” employee who checked every box before they even sat down. Perhaps they were more of a diamond in the rough – you took a shot on them and it paid off. Either way, every good HR rep and leader knows that once you have a good team, you do not want to lose them. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, but during a staff member's tenure, whether they are onsite or off, you want them to feel like they are an invaluable member of the team and stay put for awhile.
I keep reiterating that people are not machines; mindless drones programmed to do one task. Studies are show that people want recognition; and in fact it is the main reason people job search and leave their job. People want to be know within their organization for their hard work. They may be known amongst their peers as the go-to person for one specific thing, but they will be much more satisfied if a senior staffer recognizes this level of effort. Likewise, this article on Forbes.com starts off by noting that there is something incredibly valuable to employees that should be taken into consideration to show they are appreciated – their time. Bonuses, gift cards for performance, stock options, etc. are all nice, but as trite as it sounds, they can’t fill the voids of loneliness or buy back the time lost at work that could have been spent with family. This realization that there is a world outside the office that shows the staff the employers care about them, or something other than profit, can enhance morale. This uptick in appreciation for the company and each other will hopefully be passed down to the outside and will improve client relations as well.
Now that we identified that employees want to be recognized and that in fact without the proper encouragement in the workplace they will move on to another opportunity sooner, how do you prevent that from happening? There are a variety of things that get a person through a normal work day, even a work week – things that may have nothing to do with the actual “WORK” itself but there is something on the horizon. As Dr. Paul White says "discouragement and burnout come from a lack of hope". What is worse than walking into a place every day knowing you will never advance, knowing perhaps you will never even learn anything new or hone any new skills? That is a very dim place to be. But as he suggests cultivating appreciation for each person is incredibly important. Even before a candidate is even a full staff member you should show your appreciation by getting back to them, engaging with before the interview, and showing general interest.
Getting notice and recognition for a job well done is a necessary need and want in any job; it helps tell a person they are on the right track and their efforts are not going unnoticed. Each person has a preferred method of receiving appreciation and gratitude, getting to know your work force is crucial. Also, it is important to not overlook the things that don’t cost money (or very little) but can still bring the team together.