Leadership, Performance

Appreciation: It’s a Top-Down Thing

post_itOne of the biggest complaints we hear coming from employees – regardless of their position or status of the job market – is that they don’t feel appreciated. Its so simple, yet something overlooked time and time again. In some cases, managers will even make excuses for their lack of appreciation and feel they are justified because of their responsibilities.

Don’t ever forget:
You are successful because of those that are working to help you be successful…and that includes every level of employee below you.
Appreciation, to an employee, comes in many forms yet so many mangers think it still boils down to a raise or a promotion.

Susan M. Heathfield wrote a great post called “Top 10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees.” Here is her top 10:

1) Praise something they have done
2) Say ‘thank you”
3) Show genuine interest in your employees – ask about family, hobbies, the weekend
4) Offer flexible scheduling for the holidays
5) Get you know your employee’s interests and surprise them with a small gift
6) If possible, give a small “end-of-year bonus” when most employees need it most
7) Take them to lunch for their birthday or finishing a project and let them choose where
8) Create a fun company tradition for the holidays – such as a Secret Santa
9) Bring in treats or snacks for your staff – if you bake, all the better
10) Offer cross-training opportunities or sponsor them to join professional organizations where they can represent your company

The best quote from her article is this: “Employee appreciation is never out-of-place. In fact, in many organizations, it’s often a scarce commodity.”

If you will notice from her list, almost half of the suggestions involve nothing more than communicating with your staff.   Knowing that you pay attention to them, their work and their achievements can mean so much to them…and that sense of feeling “appreciated” helps them overcome those feelings of frustration at work, dissatisfaction with their pay, etc.

But it shouldn’t be something that occurs just at a manager level – it needs to come from the top down.
Those in charge are the ones setting the example for the managers underneath them and, while some managers don’t need the nudge, they take their cue from their boss. So if you aren’t showing appreciation for them, they will become disgruntled and then treat their staff in the same manner.

Telling managers what they are doing wrong when you are doing the same thing is hypocritical. You can’t expect them to turn around employee morale if you are adding to the morale problem with how you treat your employees.

CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents…yes, we know that you have a lot on your plate to handle and probably don’t comprehend the extent of the responsibility on your shoulders however that does not absolve you from how you treat those that work for you. Again, read the Top 10 list – so much is just simply communicating to show you care….that’s the appreciation employees look for the most.

Start day – start with just saying “thank you” and see what happens from there.

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