We all like to feel appreciated. We want those in our lives to be thankful for our efforts. When someone takes us for granted, we resent it. It creates feelings of frustration and may even lead to us not doing whatever it is that’s being taken for granted.
This applies not just to our personal lives but to our professional ones, as well. Your employees want to be appreciated for what they do. If you take the view that they’re doing what they should be doing and never show any appreciation for team members showing up and doing their job day in and day out, they’ll become more and more disaffected with their position. You might even struggle with employee loyalty and longevity, leading to significant amounts of churn.
Thankfully, there are ways around that. You simply need to make your employees feel appreciated. How do you do that, though? Below, we’ll outline six ways to break out of the transactional mindset and show your team that they matter to your organization.
1. Say “Thank You”
Let’s be honest for just a moment. When was the last time you walked up to Anne in accounting or John in sales, shook their hand, and gave them a genuine “thank you” for everything they’ve done for the company? It’s probably been a while. Maybe never.
Saying thanks has an immediate positive effect. It lifts spirits, heartens employees, and encourages people to do more. However, you need to show genuine gratitude here. Employees can sense false appreciation, and that will just amplify any negative emotions they might be experiencing.
2. Ask About More Than Projects
We get it – work gets busy. Projects pile on top of projects, and deadlines are looming for everything. However, you can’t let that distract you from the fact that your team is made up of people. People have problems. They get frustrated, tired, and disillusioned. They struggle.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to do more than just make sure your team is hitting the numbers in terms of productivity and efficiency. You need to manage the people side of the equation, too. How do you do that?
Ask them how they’re doing, not just with work but in life in general. Take time to ask questions that mean something to your team members – not just about where they’re at in the project or why that deadline was missed. Take the time to dig deeper, and your team members will not only feel appreciated, but you will be able to build a stronger team overall.
3. Get to Know Them
Sure, you probably have a good idea of what Sarah’s strengths are, and how well Bill will do under pressure, but how much do you know about your employees in general? What are their strengths? What are their goals? Where do they want to go in their career, and how can you help them achieve those goals?
Why bother, though? It goes beyond making them feel appreciated. People do their best work when they are given the tools and resources necessary to do so, and when they have help in achieving personal and professional growth. So, an investment in your employees’ futures is an investment in your company’s future, too.
4. Check-in with Them
The annual performance review is dead, replaced by regular check-ins and conversations. You can use these as further ways to make your employees feel appreciated. Every single check-in can be yet another opportunity to provide encouragement to your team members and show them that they are appreciated. How do you do that?
First, check-ins provide employees with a way to provide feedback to you, the manager. By listening to those concerns and showing that you’re listening will make them feel appreciated, valued, and understood. Those are all vital to employee longevity, engagement, and success.
Second, check-ins provide a way to build trust with your employees and create relationships that run deeper than what would otherwise be possible. With more trust and stronger relationships, employees feel empowered to achieve more and do their jobs better.
5. Focus on the Onboarding and Promotion Processes
When a new hire enters your business, what sort of process do they go through in terms of onboarding? Do you throw them in and let them sink or swim on their own? Or do you provide them with the time and training necessary to understand the culture and begin contributing?
The same applies to promotions. When you promote from within, do you move someone to a higher position and then let them flounder around? Or do you provide them with some degree of training to help them grasp their new responsibilities and duties?
In both cases, providing guidance, help, and training makes employees feel more appreciated. It shows your willingness to invest the time and effort necessary for them to be successful.
6. Workplace Diversity
Diversity should be more than just a component of required corporate training. It needs to be part of your company culture. This applies to everything from hiring, training, and promoting minorities to celebrating things like International Women’s Day.
Of course, acceptance of diversity can be pretty challenging for some people. It’s also not something that you can force. It must come naturally through understanding and learning about other people. To that end, strive to create learning moments between different employees that go beyond business objectives and goals.
An Appreciative Workplace
Ultimately, employees who feel appreciated are more productive and more efficient. They also remain with you for longer periods, reducing churn and ensuring that you can retain key talent. Of course, the knock-on effect here is that you’re able to create an in-demand workplace. The more appreciated your employees feel, the better your culture becomes, and the more people want to work with you.
With the techniques and tips discussed above, you should find it simpler to show employees how much you appreciate them. Be genuine in your efforts, and you might be surprised at the results.