Do You Show Your Employees Appreciation?

Many employers are still feeling the strain of the economy crash and as a result, have to be tight on their money and resources. Unfortunately, because of this situation, the employers feel like they can’t properly compensate their hard working employees in the way they generously have in the past. However, although they can’t necessarily afford bonuses, promotions, or fancy rewards like they may have been able to previously, there are still ways to show your employees that they are appreciated. These simple options could easily increase the morale of your employees.

Here are some ideas to show your employees that you appreciate their efforts:

  • Give praise: let your employees know that you’re taking the time to notice their individual efforts. Give them praise for things they personally have done well in.
  • Share with others: it can make your employee feel good if you share your appreciation for them with others.
  • Say thank you: whether it is their duty or not, it’s always nice to receive a simple “thank you.”
  • Take a load off: maybe you can’t afford to give your employees a free day of PTO but you can always help lighten their load. For example, for an employee that put in exceptional work: delegate some of their tasks to others or take on some tasks yourself. Giving your employee an easy, light day can really make a difference in an employee’s day.
  • Set up an event: once again, maybe you can’t have a huge, paid-for event for your employees, but you can still do something for them. Set up times to do an inter-office potluck so employees can take a break at work, enjoy good food, and mingle with others. A small social event like that could increase happiness within the workplace.
  • Write a handwritten letter note: recently, I received handwritten card from my manager to let me know she appreciates all my hard work. It was a simple thing but knowing that she took the time to write a personal note to me really meant a lot to me.
  • Provide opportunity: promotions might not be an option right now but employees still will appreciate the opportunity for professional development. Give employees the opportunity to network with others in the company, to shadow for jobs they’re interested in, or to do different training/development workshops.

It’s simple but yet it still is effective. Employees will appreciate the effort you take to make them feel appreciated. You would be surprised at how it increases a positive environment and morale.

Links:

Employee Appreciation

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Why You Should Consider a Participative Leadership Style

Throughout my years in the working world, I’ve come into contact with many different leadership styles. Some were extremely open, some were a little more autocratic, and then some where just a complete mess of different styles mixed into one. Throughout all my different experiences, I felt that participative leadership style was one of my favorites, mainly because this leadership style seems to present a lot of benefits not only for the leader but for the employees, as well.

Participative leadership style involves many other people in the decision making process. This style opens up discussion for other participants to voice opinions, suggestions, and concerns. Most importantly, it keeps everyone in the loop. Some noteworthy benefits of this style are:

  • Everyone is given a voice: This style of leadership allows all employees (no matter what role or title) to have a voice and participate in the decision making process. Because they are involved, they will be more accepting of the decisions made because they contributed to it and were also involved in the process so they will not be blindsided by the end result.
  • It gives employees a sense of accountability: employees will know that what they say will matter and could be a vital contribution. With this in mind, employees can make suggestions or voice ideas that will be more results oriented.
  • It increases morale: employees will appreciate the fact that you are not only keeping them in-the-know about a decision or organizational change, but they’ll also be appreciative of the fact that you are including them. This appreciation and gratitude could increase employee morale and create a positive work environment.
  • It can help you learn more about your business: including employees who work in different roles, titles, or business units can allow you to get insight about some of the successes and woes of each area of your business. It can help you ensure that the decision you make will be the best because you will have a better understanding on how it will affect each business unit.

If you don’t currently use this style, I challenge you to try this out with a few of the decisions you need to make in the near future. I’m sure you will be surprised at the feedback you receive from employees. Additionally, it may help you make better choices.
Some Additional Reading:

The Advantages of Participative Leadership

5 Benefits of Participative Leadership

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Turning Around Poor Performance

As I’ve mentioned several times before, networking on LinkedIn and Twitter has allowed me to talk to some truly amazing and inspirational people. Today, as I was thinking back on these particular individuals, one stood out in my mind. Over the course of the last few months, he has written so many supportive and encouraging messages to me in regard to my professional competency and my writing. In addition to his motivation, he has also shared some valuable insight in regard to his human resources experience and beliefs. Hearing some of Gio Branco’s whole-hearted values really helped restore my faith for human resource’s future.

As he partook in some of the discussions I had posted in the Linkedin:HR group, I learned he was a Human Resources Consultant. We talked more about his experience and beliefs and I felt that it was a breath of fresh air. I am positive that his clients appreciate his conviction and passion for HR.

As time went on, I saw that Gio also wrote some interesting blogs for his consulting business. Needless to say, I was intrigued to see what he had to say about different human resources topics. Recently,one blog post caught my attention. It discussed some of the reasons why employees perform poorly. Some of the common reasons he mentioned were as follows:

1. Lack of knowledge, skills or abilities.

2. Incorrect role expectations.

3. Lack of motivation.

4. Lack of resources.

5. Poor morale.

I have to agree with the points he made in this posting. A decent amount of times employees don’t perform poorly because they’re incapable of doing the job but because of other factors.

However, there is another thing to consider when it comes to poor performance: management’s role to help fix this situation before it costs the company business or an employee their job. In order to truly assess the situation and determine the best course of action, a manager needs to provide feedback. I feel that one of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to only provide feedback in bi-annually or yearly performance reviews. At that point, the damage is already done. It is imperative that managers give regular feedback to employees and create an environment in which employees feel like they can openly express concerns, issues, or suggestions. Managers may fight that they are too busy to take the time to do this, but if they did it from the start then they wouldn’t be busy putting out fires caused by poor performers. Being proactive will help your business and your employees in the long-run.

One of the best experiences I’ve had in my working career is when I worked for a company in which managers gave me feedback on a weekly and/or monthly basis. These one-on-one feedback sessions helped me learn the areas I could work on and also gave me resources to do better. Most importantly, these sessions helped me learn my weak areas immediately and allowed me to fix the problem before it became a habit. Providing regular feedback can help resolve the areas that Gio had mentioned. Additionally, it can do the following:

  • Allow your employees to fix problems before it becomes a regular occurrence.
  • Ensure that senior employees don’t set a bad example for new employees.
  • Increase morale.
  • Reduce the issues that the company would need to spend time, money, and energy to fix.
  • Cut the costs that would incur if the company had to terminate a poor performer.
  • Cut the costs to hire and train someone new to fill the terminated employee’s spot.
  • Empower employees to be proactive, accountable, and responsible.
  • Allow employees feel like the company is invested in their professional growth which could make them want to be more dedicated and committed to doing a good job.
  • Create a better employee and customer experience.
  • Help a company learn that weak points may be in the structure and training, not the employee.

I literally could go on and on about the importance of providing regular feedback. There are so many benefits, both short-term and long-term. What I know is that the feedback sessions I received from my manager allowed me to professionally grow. I soon became one of the most efficient and accurate employees in the department. I was proud of what I did. This also empowered me to have more time and knowledge to spot weak areas in the company’s processes and suggest ways on how to fix them. With that being said, helping me allowed me to help them in return.

You don’t need to have poor performers in your company, but in order to reduce that you must invest time to provide the necessary feedback to help them turn around their performance.

Links:

Gio’s post about poor performance.

Gio Branco Consulting

Internal Mobility is Good for Your Company

Last night I was involved in another weekly Twitter #tchat (yes, it is my new obsession). Once again, this chat had some great contributors and some interesting information to consider. The chat’s subject discussed how companies and recruiters should focus on internal mobility for filling job openings. It seemed that a lot of the “chatters” felt strongly about this topic and believed that there were many benefits of this promotion track. The common believe was that a solid internal mobility program can be very good for your company.

Here are some informative and useful take-aways I got out of this chat:

Internal mobility can fuel employee engagement. The common theory behind this is: if you invest in your employees they are more likely to invest in you. If you want your employees to be more engaged in their work, make them feel like their contributions have a purpose. Make them know you’re taking notice of them and their efforts. Take time to discuss career goals and offer suggestions on how they can reach them. These things can put a little more pep in their step.

It can reduce turn-over. A good portion of people have admitted to leaving their employer because they felt they had no place to go. Sometimes that may be the case, but a good amount of time there are plenty of lateral or upper positions employees can move into. The issue is: employers don’t educate them on these opportunities. Make your employees aware of this to avoid losing your talent. And if you’re feeling really crazy, allow employees to create and pitch new positions that could be useful to the company (Hello, accountability!).

It can cost less to hire from within than externally. Recruiting and hiring processes are time consuming and expensive. This can be even truer if the candidate that was selected didn’t work out within the first few months. Looking at internal employees might reduce these issues. After all, these employees already know your business expectations and have met them. By now, I’m sure you’ve determined that the employee is a fit for your company. Instead of wasting time looking for diamonds in the rough, consider the gems you already have in your workforce.

Training time can be reduced. Like I mentioned above, the current employees already know your business. They know your systems. They know your managers. They know your clients. They know your mission. Basically, they know everything other than the general duties for the new position. Training them on those duties can be a piece of cake because they already have a clear understanding of how certain procedures affect the company. Think about how quick it would be to train them on those few things rather than an external hire who could take months before they completely understand the business in order to do their job well.

It can increase morale. Nothing can kill an employee’s morale more than watching a position they worked hard for be filled by some random outsider. This situation could even cause some resentment towards the newbie and the company. It is reasonable to say that not all positions can be filled internally. However, to keep the morale up, make sure you offer feedback and mentoring to those not chosen. Even if they don’t get the position, taking time to help them professionally progress can keep their positive feelings about the company intact.

It can make employees feel like they have a goal. Most employees want a job that makes them feel like they’re doing meaningful. They want to be accountable and have a sense of responsibility. However, these feelings can dwindle down if they don’t clearly see how their efforts are contributing to their professional growth. Talk to them about what they want and set a path that helps them progress towards their goal. Productivity could increase once they see how their work is directly correlated with their progression. Moreover, make sure you set realistic timelines and expectations so they don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen right away.

I know that not all job openings can be filled internally. Companies need to throw some new blood into the mix to ensure the workforce does not get stale from recycled perspectives and ideas. External people can bring something fresh into the workplace. However, your internal employees may be able to do the same if you give them a chance to prove it.

If you find this topic interesting, be sure to join in Twitter’s #tchat on Wednesday nights at 7PM EST. Additionally, leave a comment regarding this topic either on here or on the chat.

Links:
Recruiting as an Inside Job- Internal Mobility
Internal Mobility- An Inside Look at Talent