“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
Sam Walton, Founder, Wal-Mart Stores
In business, it’s always a good idea to let your customers know you how much you appreciate their loyalty. We send cards and gifts and do our best to reach out to clients in a friendly and personal way. Even the simplest gesture can go a long way to keeping clients happy and feeling cared for.
But what about your employees? How often do you let your employees know that they are doing a good job? That you notice the extra effort they put forth? That your company could not run without them?
In these days of tighter budgets and trimming the fat, employee recognition has taken a big hit. Many companies have done away with the company Christmas party, and the Christmas bonus under the auspices of “Well, they’re lucky to have jobs at all.” But what many employers fail to understand is that it isn’t always about cash or excess. Most of the time employees are eager for recognition. And recognition does not have to break the bank.
Studies show that appreciation goes almost as far as financial reward. People have a tremendous need to know that their efforts matter, and that someone has noticed their hard work. Have you ever taken the time to define each employee’s contribution to the bottom line? Point to their strengths, let them know you noticed what the good things they did this year. Even if the employee is not one of your stars, a little encouragement can go a long way toward his feeling like a valued member of the team. And when people feel like their contributions are valued, they tend to be more invested in doing a good job.
Here are some things you can do to spread cheer among your staff:
1. An impromptu coffee break – you provide the lattes and muffins and let everybody chat for a half hour.
2. Gift certificates for a half day off.
3. Recognition in front of their peers of a job well done. Be sure to say “Thank You” and explain how the person’s efforts helped the company as a whole.
4. A small humorous gift that shows you were paying attention and can share in an inside joke.
5. Employee of the month honors. The reward could be that coveted parking spot or even a silly trophy that sits on the employee’s desk for a month.
How do you say “Thank You?” Chances are it doesn’t matter so much how you do it, but that you do it at all. Be sure to thank the ones that show up every day and make it all happen. Especially if they are working longer hours with fewer perks. Be creative and sincere, and make this a winning formula not only during the holidays, but all year long.
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