If the customer is king, then I suppose the employee should be queen. Amazingly though, many companies view their staff like expendable cogs in the business machine--if one cog fails, simply toss it and plug in another. According to Dr. Bob Nelson, a recognition expert, 58 percent of workers report that they seldom, if ever, receive a "thank you". Crazy, because our teams are really what shape our businesses! It takes time and effort (which equals MONEY) to restaff positions. To use a worn out metaphor, wouldn't that time and effort be better spent getting the right people on the bus and making sure we keep them on the bus? The magic moment that management realizes that their success is directly tied to the efforts of their team, we all win-- owners, managers, staff members, and customers!
Here are 5 ways to ensure your team knows how much they are valued:
- Feedback: Employees want to how they're doing. The only one who can really tell them that is you! Check-in on a regular basis. Ask them how things are going and whether they have any questions or need help with their work. Provide them with feedback on their performance. Express your appreciation for their efforts and their successes. Don't assume that a team member knows he's appreciated. BONUS: Recognize your staff in front of your customers when possible. A business that is aware enough to recognize its staff is more likely to treat its customers well too.
- Take time for fun. Plan a team breakfast/lunch, a cocktail hour, games, or a team-building outing. Taking the time to chat with your employees when they aren't knee deep in their job is well worth the effort and cost. Without the distractions of the their day-to-day work load (and yours) getting in the way, people open up. You can learn a lot about your team and your business. Plus, everyone likes a free lunch!
- Involve them. Involving employees--especially in decisions that affect them-- shows that you respect their decisions and input. Employees are generally closest to work processes and customers and are often in the best position to see the solution when problems arise.
- Increased responsibility. New opportunities to perform, learn, and grow are very motivating. Few employees are satisfied going nowhere. Most hope to learn more and be considered for advancement. Gradually increasing their involvement in business functions shows that you trust and respect them. You aren't going to motivate your team simply by building a fire under them. That may provide a short-term push, but working to build a fire within them creates a environment where employees want to work and succeed.
- Reward. Aside from the given, promotions and raises, there are a myriad of ways to recognize your team on a more regular basis. Even a traditional employee of the month program is a wonderful way to provide a pat on the back. Never underestimate the power of a gift card, trophy, or certificate! Great achievement emails, a hall of fame, an afternoon off, the ways to reward your team are endless. Check out Inc's List for more ideas.
What are your favorite ways to recognize your team? Let me know!