Did you know today is Employee Appreciation, Friday 4th March – a day for employers to recognise and reward their people and let them know they’re appreciated. Motivation & engagement expert, Hedda Bird, author of The Performance Management Playbook: 15 must-have conversations to motivate & manage your people, offers some advice for businesses on how to celebrate it.
How reward and recognition drive culture
Most organisations say they want their staff to feel valued, however their actions don’t always follow their words. Some senior leaders operate on the basis of ‘they are paid to do a job, why should I be grateful?’ It sounds very rational, but actually this kind of thinking sets up a false dichotomy. You aren’t choosing between ‘expecting people to do their job well’ and ‘being grateful that people are doing their job well’. You can have both, or sometimes you may have neither! The choice you are making when you choose to ‘appreciate’ your employees is about the culture that you want in your organisation, function or team.
Are you risking staff becoming narrowly focused on their job description?
In most roles, the work people do goes well beyond the specifics of their job description. However, as soon as a leader focuses narrowly on ‘I pay them to do a job, so why should they expect appreciation’, then the workforce starts to focus just on the job they are paid to do. Paying people more, but still not appreciating them or offering wider recognition of their contribution does not reduce this ‘jobsworth’ mentality.
Recognition drives motivation
There is ample evidence that employees want to do well at their jobs. That makes sense; after all how many of us go to work thinking ‘I want to do a really bad job today’? However, on a daily basis, the only way that they get recognised for doing a good job is through appreciation, acknowledgement of their contribution, being thanked and so forth. Whether it’s a private ‘much appreciated’ email, or a public thanks in front of the team – recognition shows an employee that someone cares about the quality of their work.
Ignoring people can mean performance falls away
If you never acknowledge or comment on the work your people are doing, they may think you don’t care. Over time, even the most dedicated employee will reduce their discretionary effort, maybe let their standards slip a bit, because they have seen that you don’t notice. And ultimately, if they think you aren’t interested in what they are delivering, they will go and find an employer or leader who is.
Recognition drives retention
Other organisations maybe able to offer higher pay than you can. You need to pay the market rate for a job or you will always risk losing staff. However, if you consciously appreciate your people, recognise their contributions in ways that don’t even need to cost money or time, celebrate their successes and commiserate when things don’t go to plan, your people will want to stay. Indeed, when it gets around the market that you are a leader who values their people in practice, you will become a leader of choice for high quality employees, and hence a leader of choice for organisations looking to boost their senior leadership teams . It’s a win for you and a win for your people.
Hedda Bird, motivation & engagement expert, CEO of 3C Performance Management Specialists and author of new book The Performance Management Playbook: 15 must-have conversations to motivate and manage your people