Management Success Tip #154: Indulge In A Powerful Motivator: Thank Your Employees

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You’d think that saying “thank you” or “I appreciate what you did here” would be normal, business-as-usual, in the workplace. You certainly think that you do your fair share of appreciating your employees. You may very well, however, here’s a wake-up call from UK’s performance improvement consultants Maritz (as discussed by business consultant Steve Roesler): their “research has found that almost one in five of us (19 per cent) have never been thanked for our efforts at work while more than a third only hear those two little words once or twice a year.”

More importantly, approximately one third of workers “receive regular recognition and are thanked several times a week, something that (as more than eight out of 10 of those surveyed acknowledged) has a positive impact on their desire to remain with their employer.”

Even if you think you already recognize, appreciate, and actually speak words of thanks and appreciation to your employees, think again. Are there workers you regularly thank, but some you take for granted? Are there workers you overlook in your thanks? Do you only think “Gee, good work, I appreciate that” in your mind, or do you actually speak the words?

When you next do a walk-through, or as a team meeting concludes, make the effort to catch an employee – or several – in the act of doing something right, and thank them, right there on the spot, in specifics, for what they’ve done right.

Thanks matter.

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Management Success Tip #153: A Little Education Goes A Long Way- Give Some to Your Employees!

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There is a thirst for education among today’s workforce that far exceeds that of the workforce just a few decades ago, for the simple reason that increasingly more education, especially targeted to certain career choices, results in better jobs.

In response to this trend, Starbucks, in association with Arizona State University, offers free tuition to their employees to earn an online degree, with few conditions – none of which are the reimbursement of the educational expense, nor does Starbucks even require employees to continue to work for Starbucks once their degrees are obtained.

This is not charity. This is smart business. A better educated workforce is usually a more motivated workforce, which can contribute better ideas, ways and means of doing things. Your specific pick of hires within a better educated workforce is likely to improve the quality of your team.

What is good for the employee becomes what is good for the company.

Now, you will say you are not Starbucks and don’t have the means by any stretch of the imagination to give such benefits to your workers. Not a problem! Whatever you can give to your employees in the way of advanced education will be appreciated – as long as you don’t limit such education to subjects or training that are company-specific. That tilts the scales too far in terms of benefit to the company with very limited benefit to the employee.

With the plethora of online courses, a little research will turn up possibilities which are fiscally manageable. And who knows, you might be able to partner on a limited basis with an online University – to the benefit of all concerned.

Management Success Tip #152: Keep Your Newbie’s Enthusiasm Alive With The Big Picture!

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The ability of your employees to engage, to work at the level of their best selves, relies on their psychological well-being at work. What that includes, among other things, is a sense of purpose and meaningfulness in one’s job, a feeling of accomplishment and of contributing to something worthwhile. This is not a big surprise, since one of the most important functions of work is that it brings a sense of purpose to people’s lives. We need to feel that what we do is meaningful and that it has value.

Surely you’ve noticed the “newbie syndrome”? Employees are all gung-ho the first three to six months, and then fall into gung-yawn for the duration of their employment. What’s happened is simple and predictable: employees’ initial passion for the job peters out as they fail to see how what they do matters. They begin to feel like interchangeable parts, pieces of a machine that can do just as well with or without them.

Leadership consultant Lolly Daskal states: “Great leaders supply strategy and clarity. They work hard to understand the big picture and help others see their team’s role, and their individual role as part of the team, within that context.”

Tell your employees how the seemingly boring tasks they’ve been assigned fit into the bigger picture. How their contribution makes a difference. Take it a step further: tell those who report to you how the experiences and skills they are gaining will serve them later on.

Be a great leader: address not only the company’s big picture in discussing the part your employees play, but your employees’ personal big work-picture as well.