As a manager, administrator or owner of any kind, it is important to know how to properly show appreciation to your staff and coworkers for a job well done. The question isn’t about whether you should or not, because let’s be clear, YOU SHOULD. What we really need to determine is whether we are showing appreciation the way our staff needs us to. To be a good leader, you have to be tactful about how you prune unwanted habits. But also, you must be intentional about how you reward those habits that lead to success.
The point of this blog is to draw our attention to the HOW of showing people that we care. There are many books on these principles but I think the best author on the subject is Gary Chapman who penned “The 5 Love Languages” series and “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”. His explanation of the five key ways that we show and prefer to receive love and appreciation is, in my opinion, unparalleled. Which is why it constantly finds it’s way on the Best Sellers list.
Let us first think about some examples of giving appreciation in the right way for our coworkers and staff. It’s important to remember that certain forms of admiration aren’t always work appropriate.
Bonuses, Pay Increases and Non-monetary Gifts
Honestly, this is probably one of the most used forms of encouragement and appreciation on the job. And it is SO EFFECTIVE! It is said that, “Money Talks”, and that is so very true. You can say great things of your employees but that bonus that you give them will speak mountains to them. And recognizing when they take on a bigger job that was over and beyond there current one, let’s them know that you care. No one wants to work their tails off for you without recognition for it. But, we also have to recognize that monetary gifts aren’t always possible. So what other things can you do to show your staff that you care?
I know the one that works great for me. Paid Time Off. A lot of bosses and administrators don’t understand the importance of time off. When asked if he could pay me $5,000 more a year to take one less week of PTO, I responded, “No, but can I take $5,000 less a year for an extra week of PTO?” He laughed, but I wasn’t joking. I couldn’t care less about a year end bonus or pay increase if, instead, I got more Paid Time Off. My vacations are what keep me happy.
A former employee of mine didn’t care about vacationing, but she liked for appreciation to be known by other members of the team. She had kids and a family to support, so the bonuses and pay increases were nice, but what she really loved was being elevated at public meetings and in emails. She also liked ‘titles’ which not everyone does. So, I made sure to always acknowledge her ‘Over and Beyond’ behaviors in front of the rest of the staff and ownership. She was also doing many tasks that were above her job title, and so we changed that title to reflect her job description. I would say that the title change made the biggest impact on her.
This is another simple upgrade that can really show an employee or staff member that they’re appreciated, and it requires very little. You just need a little space. And ten more points if the space has a window. No more room to give them an office? That’s ok. My mom loves new things, and when her boss wanted her to feel appreciated, he bought her a new desk and a new computer. It was a great investment since her old computer was dying off, but to her it meant more than that. She called me three times that week to tell me about it, and I could hear the excitement in her voice. That owner may never know how much it actually made her week. And her already positive attitude multiplied ten-fold. That kind of positive recognition can take a great employee and rejuvenate that greatness. It can make a good employee better and an apathetic employee care again.
Food is the Path to Many Hearts
This is an office favorite at Custom Equipment Company. It doesn’t require much, just someone to make sure it happens. Every month after our Monthly pow-wow, the administrators provide a lunch of some kind. Sometimes it’s take out, and other times it’s a full on BBQ provided by the owner himself. No matter what it is, the entire team enjoys it. It offers a break from the day to day monotony that our jobs sometimes entail. It gives us a chance to talk about things outside of work and build more than just a coworkership. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love food? That is sometimes the only driving factor to getting out of bed in the morning. Food can be the appreciation that makes or breaks a job.
Another simple (and cheap) way to show your staff that you care is snacks and a coffee maker in a break room. During those busy, yet monotonous, days sometimes what you need to get you through is a little snack size candy bar or a pack of crackers. And whether it’s 8am or 4pm, coffee can sometimes be the ONLY thing that gets you through the first hour and to that last hour of your workday.
Simple, effective and digestive. Appreciation felt on the job and in the workplace.
Killing Negativity with Positive Words
Last but not least, the EASIEST of all. Use kind and uplifting words. I am a HUGE proponent to making appropriate connections with staff members. For this reason, I always make sure to greet people when they get to the office. Many think that this is insignificant, but from experience I know it to be the opposite. I even tested the theory by not greeting people for a week and gauging the reactions. By Wednesday, people were coming to ask me what was wrong and if everything was ok. This told me that they had come to accept and appreciate those daily greetings. A little uplifting ‘order’ in this world so full of chaos.
So whether it’s good deeds or kind words, let’s find ways in our job to show appreciation to those who deserve it. By this we will surely pave the way for our companies to share in a Brighter Tomorrow!