As the culture of the workforce evolves, employees search for and stay at companies that both compensate them adequately and recognize their worth as a member of the team.
To let your employees know that you value their work, it may sound easy to dole out bonuses; however, your budget may not allow for that and waiting for a potential payout in the distant future does not speak to the work your employees perform every day. There are easier and more cost-effective ways to acknowledge your staff’s worth:
Make it personal.
Just as each employee brings different skills and experiences to your business, individuals will have varying preferences in regards to acknowledgement. Some employees may appreciate a brief check-in from the boss during the day, while others may prefer to be a part of an email group that receives a daily motivational quote or industry-relevant book or article recommendations. Take time to learn what your employees need from you; this consideration lets them know that you are interested and invested in your communication with them. Giving time and attention is one of the best and easiest gifts you can give to help others feel important.
Pass on the praise.
When you hear praise about an employee from a leader or peer, let them know right away with an email, a note, or a visit to their desk. Include your own praise as well; your employee will know that you not only hear the compliment, but that you also agree. The instant recognition can feel very rewarding to your employees, and knowing that their work is appreciated by you and others can maintain high morale around the office.
Leave the door open.
Though you may not be able to do this every day, set aside time at least a few days each week for employees to communicate with you in person. Block off this time on your calendar and let them know this is their opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, communicate ideas, or praise their co-worker. When staff bring you ideas, make sure your open-door policy is truly open. Your employees will know that you value their voice and welcome their opinions.
Set goals and incentives.
Meet with your employees, in groups if necessary, to create goals for the upcoming quarter or year. Agree on an incentive, whether it be a catered meal from a favorite restaurant or a group outing for a fun activity. Check status periodically (shows you are paying attention). Congratulate them on their progress, or give words of encouragement if they fall behind. Employees will know you value their work when you cheer them on, rather than just demand results.
See the human side.
The people on your team are multidimensional individuals who have complex lives that extend beyond the office walls. Get to know them by engaging them in conversation and taking the time to truly listen to what they have to say. Ask about their weekend or their family; get them talking about their interests. To foster a little more engagement in the office, set up a corkboard for employees to post fliers about their book clubs, quilting circles, or bowling leagues. Hopefully, when people see that they are valued as multifaceted human beings, they will feel more comfortable being their authentic selves and will open up to you when a problem arises or when they have an out-of-the-box idea.
In all of these examples, good communication is key. When you make time and space for employees to communicate with you, and truly listen and engage, they know that you respect their ideas and acknowledge their worth.