Did you know that a person’s average lifespan is 79 years? If a person gets to live longer, it could be as far as 90. One-third of a person’s lifespan ends up spent at work; whether in the office or remote. Employees spend a lot of time away from their families to work, earn a living and be productive in this fast-paced society.
Employees are what causes companies to thrive and prosper. The usual tendency for management and employers is that they view them as cogs to the machine. What we tend to forget is that they are also human beings. People with families and individual identities.
As an example, let us look at this particular scenario. Michael works in an office for data entry and has been taking on long hours. In each time that he would go to work, he gets asked for extra hours. He would still go due to the high pay but it feels like a soul-crushing day each time he goes.
He worked for two years and transferred to a different line of business within the same company. As much as he continues to work for the pay, it was not enough. Not even a word of appreciation or any sign of acknowledgment from his bosses. He was just a name in the roster.
He filed his resignation before the second year ended and left. He has a lot of reasons to quit, but the biggest one was with the work environment and how it has not helped him as a person.
Michael’s story is but one of many accounts of employees quitting their jobs. All for not receiving appreciation for their contributions.
Leading Reasons for Quitting
Among the leading reasons for employees to leave a company is the lack of recognition. The other leading reasons include overwork and poor management. As well as the lack or absence of growth opportunities. These other reasons relate to each other as byproducts of one simple practice.
When there is no employee recognition, you have employees that do not have the motivation to do more. They go through the motions of their work hours in a rather mechanical function. Which results in mediocre performance. Then they clock out as if it is just another day.
Even if they take extra hours, the performance would still remain mediocre to comply. It still does not prevent them from quitting when a rival company comes with a better offer.
How Does Employee Appreciation Help?
Put this as a mindset. Employees are people as much as employers are. The rank and file also have personalities and feelings, as well as homes and families that they go home to. Appreciating them for the work that they do can bring tremendous impact, even in such a small act.
Regardless of the job description and the work hours that go behind it. These employees take on these jobs with full effort. Appreciating them gives this sense of encouragement and value. It helps as they now feel that their efforts were not in vain and that they are adding something.
Consider the principle shared by John Maxwell about giving value to people. People in management and leadership positions should learn to value their staff. The methods and actions leaders can take in giving value may vary in magnitude. Despite that fact, it is in the thought and intent that counts.
How to Show Appreciation to Employees?
There are a good number of approaches that you can take in appreciating the people that you work with, especially those under you. If you are a manager, a team leader, or the owner of the company, consider these ideas.
1. Touch Base with Your Employees Often
One approach is to communicate with your employees. Check with them whenever possible. It may look like it will slow down everyone and it may look like an unnecessary drain to productivity.
These kinds of interactions actually help as valuable points of communication. Especially between you and your employees. This ensures that your staff does not feel invisible.
When we go back to Michael’s story, it would have helped if his bosses communicated with him. Even simple greetings or “How are you?” would have made his day.
Create routines that allow your employees to share stories with you. This helps them feel that you recognize them. It also helps in knowing what is going on within your organization.
2. Provide Balanced Feedback
Employees appreciate the feedback. It helps in gauging what they should be improving on. They want to know what they do well and what needs fixing. By providing helpful and positive feedback, it allows employees to feel valued.
Remember to provide helpful suggestions after praising them for a job well done. The absence of constructive criticism in positive feedback would make it empty. This makes praise feel shallow and pointless.
The reverse also applies. You must also commend them for their achievements after providing suggestions for improvement. Only receiving critical feedback causes the employee to feel discouraged.
The bottom line here is to always provide both positive and critical feedback. Tell them what they did good and what they need to improve.
3. Address and Discuss Growth Opportunities
When employers discuss with their employees about what the future holds, it makes the employees feel valued. More specifically, the employee’s growth opportunities look like. By addressing their development, employees see that you value and appreciate them for what they contribute and provide.
Take your time in discussing these opportunities and make them see the potential that they have. This way, you can see how they can push forward to accomplish more. There might be KPIs that they can push for, as well as skill sets that they can pick up that would help them rise up the ranks.
4. Provide Flexibility and Encourage Balance
In terms of work hours, make sure to encourage balance. We mentioned earlier how employees have lives outside the office or workplace. You can show that you value them and their lives by providing flexibility in their work hours.
Some of them would come from areas that are far from the office. This would usually mean commutes or trips that would take more time before they arrive. One way to remedy this is to provide an option where they can work remotely.
By providing such options, you value your employees in terms of their location. It allows them to work on their duties.
If we go back to Michael’s story, one of the hindrances that he had was the distance of his workplace from his home. The work-at-home option helped when he applied to a new company. It allowed for a flexible schedule and an easier time to balance his duties both at work and at home.
5. Be Consistent
In showing your appreciation, remember to be consistent with it. Make it a habit as much as possible. This way, your acts of appreciation and gratitude come out as genuine. This helps in building a culture that values people for what they do.
What You Shouldn’t Do When Appreciating Employees
These actions may end up dashing your efforts in appreciating people. It may end up as insincere and fake. To make sure that you come off as genuine, avoid these mistakes.
Sudden or Unexplained Shifts
First, in line with being consistent, do not be sudden. Instead, let your team know that you are in the process of developing your gratitude skills as a leader. This way, you can let your team know that you mean well.
Letting Employees Feel Isolated
Second, do not make your employees feel isolated. This can be a common mistake when showing gratitude and appreciation. Show everyone the insight into how everyone’s efforts help the company. Use this as an opportunity to set the stage for a culture of appreciation and valuing people for what they accomplished.
Not Following Protocols and Procedures
Companies still need to operate in standard protocols and procedures. In this case, annual reviews and quarterly check-ins are part of the protocol. When managers neglect them, they end up neglecting the employees.
Do not look at these meetings as a waste of effort and time. It is a good means for you to check-in with your employees and sees how they are with their work.
Using Generalizations and Inauthentic Expressions of Gratitude
The most important thing you should remember is that appreciation has to be specific and genuine. Saying “Thank you” to a person face-to-face and describing how thankful you are can give off a lasting impression than just yelling it to everyone. Make this a personal effort.
It’s Not Too Late to Start
It is not too late to start showing your gratitude. Remember to take it slow and build that habit. This will let you leave a lasting impact on your workplace. When you have a workforce and a team that sees the value in everyone and in what they do, you have a team that can take a step further with their service and performance.
Give value to people. Appreciate them. After all, employees are people, too.
Also, check out these 9 Simple Productivity Hacks for Remote Workers