It is a scenario that has been played out hundreds of times, in offices, workshops and businesses across all sectors, and in every town and city: employees have gone above and beyond to deliver a project that is important. So important that the future of the company may hang on this project being delivered, on time and to the highest quality. And this delivery has not happened with people working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. People have given hours of their personal time, worked weekends and missed out on reading the bedtime story… … And the project is delivered. The client is happy. The company is happy.
And then what happens? Do the people get thanked? Are they given time-off in lieu? Are they personally thanked, or receive appreciation by email? In many cases, this does happen and the ‘thank you’ may be linked to something like a social night out, if the budget will stretch, or at least freshly baked doughnuts and early finish next Friday. But in many other cases, nothing happens. NOTHING. Not a thank you, an acknowledgement or a sign of appreciation. Most of the time, this is not because it is not appreciated but because the ‘next big project’, a result of the recent success, has landed on the desk and thus, the business moves on to the ‘next big thing’.
Understanding the psychology behind employee recognition
Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Without it, our goodwill and outlook on the work, our favourable view of people or the company for which we work is severely dented.
So severely dented, in fact, that this indentation of disappointment in not being acknowledged of appreciated can be more or less permanent. It can skew our vision of the company for which we work, and the rot sets in. The back biting and the unhappiness, the feeling under-whelmed, over-worked and ‘working to rule’.
To get the best out of people, you need to tell them how great they are, how brilliant they are doing and recognising when they have done something, and the difference this has made to you and the business.
Not rocket science!
Appreciating your workforce is obvious, it is not a hidden psychology or one that warrants a week long course with certification at the end as sometimes, it really is as simple as saying thank you.
But, with something so obvious, why is it that some companies and businesses seem to have an inability to be able to do something as basic and essential as appreciating their employees? Apart from ‘Colin in the warehouse’ or ‘Sally in the canteen’ “having a moan”, are the consequences of being unappreciated actually affecting your business?
The truth is, it is.
And the impact is deep and hard, you just haven’t noticed it (yet)…
When questioned, only half of the people surveyed said that they felt happy with the recognition they received for a ‘job well done’. Only 50%. This number itself should set alarm bells ringing.
So, what is lack of appreciation costing your business?
Having an employee appreciation system in place – from saying thank you name in an email, to a conversation to a more formal approach – takes very little in terms of resources and finance (as well as time) to implement, but the benefits are huge…
- Increased individual productivity – the act of recognising the desired behaviour, increases the chances of this behaviour happening again… and again. You get the picture. The more you say thank you for the good stuff, the more it’ll happen and that means everyone wins, including your balance sheet
- Employee satisfaction and enjoyment – less time moaning or finding fault, makes for a far more pleasant workplace and, employees are more focused.
- Review and evaluate performance in a positive way – everything is on a positive footing.
- Retention – keep hold of the people you want to, and need to in order for your business to thrive and grow
- Less stress, less absenteeism and less unhappiness all round
It is critical that you celebrate success
Celebrating success is something that does not have to develop in to a red carpet event each and every time but, without your employees stretching themselves, sacrificing things that are important to them in order to deliver a project or order, you will have no business and more importantly, no reputation for being an all-round fabulous company to do business with.
Appreciation does not have to come in the form of competition either – employee of the month, for example – it can be something that just happens, like good manners when we say thank you when someone does something for us, or on our behalf.
Do you appreciate your employees? How?