Making your employees feel appreciated in the workplace. It sounds simple, sure. But at the end of the day, when everyone has clocked out and commuted home, how often is the first sound as you step through the door a sigh of relief?
And how often do we bond with others on shared workplace dissatisfaction? A shared sense of underappreciation in the workplace is a unifying force among the employed.
So how do we change that?
Put the ‘human’ back in ‘human resources’
Your staff are the beating heart of your organization. They are your team, the face of your business, the do-ers and go-getters responsible for making sure stuff happens. In the craziness of the modern workplace, it can be easy to take certain things for granted.
Employee appreciation can sometimes turn into a list of boxes that need checking:
Said good morning? Check.
Signed the Christmas card? Check.
Got the right name written on the birthday cake? Check.
This is surface level employee appreciation, and it often arouses little more than a polite ‘thank you.’ As one individual we spoke with put it, “no one really cares about a dry piece of cake.”
So what can you do? Re-invigorate these gestures. Remind yourself that each of your employees is a unique individual. Check in with them on their terms. The simple act of getting to know someone beyond what they contribute to your team can go a long way in ensuring employee satisfaction.
Know your employees’ skills
Everyone you hired, you hired for a reason. They had the right attitude and the right experience at the right time to join your team. Even still, they’re more than just their resumes. Get to know their skills beyond the scope of their job descriptions.
Perhaps the person you hired to work reception minored in graphic design- they’d be the perfect person to review the layout for the annual report.
By taking the time to get to know your employees’ skills, you’re not only showing them in an active way how much you appreciate their abilities, but you’re also making your workplace more dynamic, and giving your employees diverse experience to build their resumes.
Value the team and the players
The people on a team are as important as how well that team works together. A great manager will recognize both. A star player isn’t really a star player if they fail their team.
Similarly, someone who may not work well alone could be exemplary when assigned to projects with the right group of people. Get to know your employees and their team dynamics.
Listen to their feedback on projects. Give them space to communicate what they need, and use that to guide future decisions.
Don’t resolve to better appreciate your employees if it will only last until five o’clock on Monday. It’s more than instituting a few quick fixes- it’s about a change in habits.
Even instituting these changes may shake things up a bit at work. It may be a slow change, but if you’re dedicated to improving workplace satisfaction, it will pay off.
Tell your employees you appreciate them
Maybe this is obvious, but tell your employees you appreciate them.
Avoid broad generalizations or vague niceties. Think critically about how they contribute to a better workplace, and then tell them. Not to say that you can only compliment your employees- constructive criticism is a vital part of a healthy workplace.
Just make sure to take the time to really say it. If you can’t hear yourself telling your employees you appreciate their work, they can’t hear it either.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that this list is far from comprehensive.Get to know your employees, really listen to them. Be authentic in your appreciation. It’s an ongoing process.