How can workplace recognition skyrocket work engagement, bringing your business to a higher level?
A LITTLE THANKS GOES A LONG WAY!
You have probably heard that a happy workforce is a productive workforce, and a productive workforce is something that every company should pride itself on!
In your daily life, do you send thank you cards when you receive a gift?
If someone has done something really kind or beyond expectation, would you email them to let them know their acts have been noticed?
If you have received fantastic service from a business that has left you feeling really special, would you leave a review for them to let them know that they had made you feel this way?
It certainly can vary, right?
While we may always say thank you as a conditioned mechanism, we may not always remember to actually show that thanks, and when somebody goes out of their way to show their appreciation for a great thing you did, it feels terrific, right?
Receiving a simple thank you can stay around in a person’s memories for a long time.
Meanwhile, back in reality…
We just don’t always have time to remember our manners and appreciate the people who do good things. Still, in the working world, that’s precisely what we need to do to create a culture of appreciating a job well done and normalising the acts of recognition to those people who drive businesses daily.
This aspect of a happy workforce was especially important during the lockdowns we experienced over the last 20 months. It is even more important now we are heading to a gradual return to a more recognised working life.
The simple act of speaking the words “Thank You” to your staff can positively affect areas such as employee retention to productivity. A workforce who knows they are appreciated will continue to improve performance, creating a positive workplace culture.
The problem is, how do we go about it?
It might be inappropriate to say “We Appreciate You” with roses and a 3-course meal in a workplace situation. However, there are many ways to recognise and praise the people who work for you profoundly and genuinely.
If you have yet to board the thank you train, you’ll be shocked to witness how employee recognition can go incredibly far, leaving great impressions for them and a happy workforce for you.
MANAGING THE ART OF SAYING THANKS
Does saying a simple thank you seem like a really dilute task to you?
The truth is, many bosses simply don’t know how to go about saying a genuine thank you that’s indeed recognised for the positive gesture it is meant to be; is it merely words, a shake of hands, or an announcement of thanks that makes the “thank you” feel really genuine?
Perhaps it’s just because we are all too British, and that gets us feeling awkward about dishing out compliments; does the stiff upper lip of the nation simply get in the way?
With the way the workforce focus has changed and will continue to change as we move forward into phasing back into a more “normal” workplace environment, we need to appreciate those who have been continuing to impress under the most strenuous circumstances and appreciate the workforce as they return to their old routine, which will all be new again for a while.
Here are some of the primary reasons why employers struggle with saying thank you:
EVERYONE IS JUST TOO BUSY
A busy environment is a productive environment, but only when busy people are suitably recognised for the effort they put in, and often, manners and simple words of appreciation don’t factor into the working day.
Suppose a verbal recognition seems like a bridge too far. In that case, it could be a warning sign that you should actually be factoring in MORE recognition and make some new habits to appreciate those who deserve it!
They always say that “Busyness is a badge of honour,” but it’s no excuse for sloppy manners – professional or otherwise.
IT’S NOT THE NATURE OF THE BUSINESS
Suppose your people are focused on daily tasks like working on a shop floor, selling goods, or providing services. In that case, it might be tough to see how appreciation features. But trust us, it really does, and there is always someone that deserves to be recognised for something good.
When this element is handled well, it can help build strong foundations amongst team members and across multi-disciplinary sectors.
IT FEELS A BIT CHEESY!
Some ideas of showing thanks may appear cheesy, and that’s not the method we are aiming for when giving genuine thanks!
There are ways to express authenticity, so a “Thank you” is received just as it’s meant to be; genuine and appreciative. You don’t want to appear like you have favourites or create any tension by singling people out.
It’s an understandable situation, so a formal process of staff recognition can help with this.
I’M NOT OVERLY SURE WHAT WORDS TO SAY
This is the quintessentially British way!
But you don’t need to worry. You certainly won’t be the only one feeling tongue-tied when it comes to praise.
Some managers may have had a bad experience in the past or have not received the reaction they expected from employees. This has essentially stopped them from recognising success across the board.
You can overcome these hurdles with a few simple pointers, so keep reading!
NOBODY THANKS ME, AND I’M OK
If you made it just fine in the workplace without employee recognition, congratulations!
It is incredibly tough to model behaviours that we don’t see from our own line managers and supervisors, and perhaps this means that you may not be feeling appreciated yourself.
If that is indeed the case, it’s time to act as a catalyst for some positive behaviour changes!
IT’S NOT REALLY NECESSARY, IS IT?
Managers who believe that remuneration is more than enough reward may find it helpful to venture down other avenues to look at another perspective, rather than just “The wage is enough”
To keep employees engaged and performing beyond their pay packet, you need to move in line with the evolution of the workplace and leave the “You get paid, don’t you?” in the last decade where it belongs.
Employees expect and deserve a little more these days as opposed to just the take-home pay. Who knew!?
CULTIVATE AN “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE”
When you cultivate an attitude of gratitude, it will form the foundations of a thriving company culture that supports different personalities, helps everyone perform better, and generally becomes more in tune with their daily work tasks.
If you are able to duplicate emotional connections between employees, employers, and their work, you can bring about real work engagement.
This is something that your business glory will rest upon!
When you actively recognise an employee for their achievements, you can stir that all-important positive emotion within them, and It’s that fuzzy stuff that can’t be bottled! It is essentially why happy staff enjoy their jobs and will continue to achieve and overachieve based on that feeling.
And what’s more, according to Josh Bersin and Deloitte’s research, “high recognition cultures have 30% lower voluntary turnover than those who just ‘push people to perform’ without regular recognition. Social recognition and praise have a big role to play in employee engagement.”
So make sure you say a regular thank you to your staff, and you’ll strike leadership gold!
Millennials are heavily into effective communication, and with the forefront of technology creating a more socially aware and demanding society at every turn, we are also expecting big things from our places of work.
For employers, that means it’s time to dial up the appreciation stakes and fast!
HOW TO SAY THANK YOU EVERY DAY
There are so many ways to say a genuine thank you to your employees.
It’s largely recognised that things such as cash rewards like vouchers and gift cards can fall flat and are quickly forgotten, as well as feeling almost like the thank you is commoditising the desired effect.
WORDS OF HIGH PRAISE
Managers can easily say thank you personally to an employee or write them a handwritten note. A shake of the hand and genuine words can mean the whole world to an employee. A handwritten note can also be a lovely gesture, or perhaps a small section on the company website to give thanks and recognition?
Public praise is just as critical as a private ‘well done. But there is an essential need to pitch the praise to the individual’s strengths and personality.
The biggest piece of advice is to step away from the blanket email and approach the individuals concerned with personalisation. This individual approach can be the make or break of a genuine thanks! The way you communicate is top of the agenda when it comes to employee recognition.
IT’S COOL TO BE KIND
Gratitude and kindness are qualities we are going to be hearing about so much more in the work world. As a leader, the very best thanks you can give to your workforce is to demonstrate a supportive and appreciative nature towards every single person.
It seems “being an impossible, demanding and ungrateful boss, such like Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, is not something to aspire to,” according to Dr Bernice Ledbetter of Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Former England Rugby Captain Matt Dawson offers some great advice too, saying, “Take time out to understand what makes people tick. It creates more empathy around the relationships, and that gives you faith and trust from the people around you.”
Taking an employee out for an impromptu lunch or organising a big team feast encourages everyone to be together and communicate every now and then. This strengthens bonds, breaks down barriers, and makes everything feel incredibly inclusive and a bit special!
Getting to know your people personally and learning about who they are individually is a solid weapon to own as a leader, and you’ll definitely find that those nice bosses won’t finish the race last!
FUN STAFF EVENTS
While we are in the area of socialising and it is now deemed safe to do so, team building events, such as a day at the races or a cocktail party, is a great way to say thank you to your staff in a fun kind of way.
The sky really is the only upper limit on this one, so the more imaginative you are, the more you’ll show that you care about them out of the workplace.
You can celebrate just about anything! Such as:
- Good performances
- New babies
- Long service anniversaries
- Business milestones
Staff events are a sure-fire way to show your staff you appreciate them, whether it’s their achievement in the office, out of the office, or a business achievement as a whole!
Making sure you avoid the usual uninspiring corporate events will be the way forward… and you know the starchy ones we are referring to!
While staff events like these are sporadic ways of saying thank you, they can still boost employee engagement by the suitcase full!
So from fully managed day trips to group-based excursions and even holidays, this kind of travel-based thank you can be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
When you choose to formalise your thanks and enlist the help of engagement specialists who can instigate staff recognition schemes into your workplace, you can be more unique and creative in your response to workplace achievements.
It might take the form of an on-the-spot reward for outstanding performance, or it could be recognising long service awards and responding to an impressive commitment to the overall business.
Staff recognition schemes can really assist managers in mastering the process of saying thank you, meaning the business’s success stories don’t get lost in the everyday workplace noise.
The most important thing to remember is to match the reward at a really personal level.
If you are confusing staff rewards with employee benefits, stop it right now! There’s no way a company pension will ever say ‘thank you to all of your worthy employees. Like Homer Simpson’s bowling ball gift for Marge, it’s an empty gesture that won’t win you that strike.
GO FORTH AND BE TRULY THANKFUL
So there you are!. It’s time to deeply inspire your people to go out and work wonders for your business.
When you bring out the best in your staff with positive leadership styles, you’ll keep the workforce happy and motivated to go the extra mile consistently.
For further inspiration, in the immortal words of David Brent, “I don’t do it, so they turn round and go ‘thank you, David, for the opportunity, thank you for the laughs.’ I do it so that one day, someone will go. ‘There goes David Brent. I must remember to thank him.'”
It definitely seems that a better attitude to gratitude is the way forward for all of us – be mindful of minding your manners, and you never know how far you’ll soar.