Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
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Cheerleading. Remember, Employees like recognition too!

Many managers looking at this article will immediately dismiss this with, “I already do a great job of recognizing my employees.” I am not saying you don’t. Many managers already know they need to help employees realize the employees are valued, important and that the work the employees do is appreciated. But if you find this article on your desk, or in your mailbox on Monday morning, maybe you aren’t doing quite as well as you think you are. It’s nice to be told you are doing a good job at work. Positive feedback works. People like to be sincerely appreciated, especially by their supervisors. Employees hardly ever complain that they receive too much positive reinforcement. But employers often overlook the necessity of strengthening the intrinsic motivation in the workplace. In a perfect world, all employees would be intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic means innate, or within. Intrinsic motivation is the stimulation of drive stemming from within oneself. Ideally, all of us are self-starters, and we work because we love our jobs. We are intrinsically motivated to show up every day and devote 110 percent of our energies to fulfilling the managers’ directions. But wouldn’t it be nice if your boss took the time to reward you? So how do you reward employees? If you treat employees like you want your boss to treat you, it makes it easy. These eight items are mere suggestions on how supervisors can show employees they are appreciated. Not all of these submissions are applicable, practicable or viable for all companies, but the ideas may prompt other ideas. And your employees may have ideas of their own. Time off >> Few employees strenuously object when told to take a Friday afternoon off. People like extra time for themselves, to run errands, and to have the luxury of not rushing to the next busy appointment in their lives. Cash >> Nothing says “I care” like a cash award from the company. It travels wells, keeps well and allows the recipient maximum flexibility to get what they want or need. People like extra money. Public acknowledgement >> Publicly announce when people have a significant event or achievement in their lives. Give credit where credit is due, and in front of as many people, in the right forum, as possible. While not cash, at least in these instances people know that management knows what is going on. Trinkets >> Small gift items can be a nice way to express appreciation, especially if there are many people to thank, and cash is not an option. Coffee mugs, pens, $10 gift certificates to Long’s, chili coupons, or anything personalized can be presented artfully and tastefully. Increase human capital >> Make time and resources available for relevant, career-enhancing training opportunities. Good managers look for ways to increase the personal and professional development of their people. Managers need to actively pursue helping their employees progress in the workplace. Getting employees to training or helping them get more education increases their sense of worth, further develops their skills and is ultimately of benefit to the organization as well as the employee. Onward and upward >> Once the employee gains those significant skills necessary to accept more responsibility, help them find promotion opportunities within the organization. Look to your own organization for quality people, spend the time to increase their human capital and promote them. You will foster loyalty and teamwork. When employees believe they can be promoted within your company, they are more likely to stay with you and work hard. Celebrate events and accomplishments >> Take time to plan joyful events honoring retirements, promotions or other important milestones. Team-based achievements are great excuses for a potluck, barbecue or golf afternoon. It provides a break from work, and gets people together in a more informal setting to build team unity. Write thank you notes >> Your mom taught you to write them, but you still probably don’t write them often enough. You definitely don’t receive enough thank you notes. In the rapid-response world of e-mail, a thank you card says you cared enough to spend time to actually pull out stationary and thoughtfully compose a few words. A thank you note tells your employee, “I appreciate what you are doing” and is mostly underused. So if you are one of the few who occasionally picks up a pen and writes “Thank you for the extra effort with a difficult customer today” you have that rare occurrence when you can make an employee and your mom happy in one motion. Bring malasadas >> Or doughnuts. Or napples. Stop by on the way to work and get enough for everyone. It tells employees you were thinking of them and that you care. And nothing sounds quite as good in the morning as a still-warm malasada with the sugar all over your fingers. You’d like it if someone did that for you, now, wouldn’t you?


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