Recently, a colleague was feeling very unappreciated within his company. He felt he was never commended for the job he was doing, acknowledged for positive changes he had made within his department, or ever thanked for the extra hours he put in that seemingly went unnoticed by senior management. Little by little, he began to believe he was not liked or wanted within his company – the narrative of our experience that unfortunately can be a louder voice than we would like it to be. He enjoyed his job, bought into company values and had no desire to leave the company. Ultimately this individual embarked on a job hunt leading him to take a job with another company, receiving the validation that his career experience had value and that he brought something needed to the table.
When he told his manager he was leaving, his boss was surprised. His manager didn’t know he felt the way he did and responded by a statement insinuating that the focus was elsewhere in the company because everything was running so smoothly within this individuals department. Even at this juncture, a thank you would have meant the world to this man.
Statistically job satisfaction and employee engagement has been linked directly to the amount of appreciation given by managers and decision makers within the workplace. When surveyed, the majority of employees with low morale and engagement at work, gave their managers a failing grade in recognition and appreciation. Gallop also reports on engagement worldwide, that most employees have not received recognition or praise for the work they are doing within the last seven days. We’ve heard these statistics before and know how important recognition is to boost morale and increase performance but we keep stumbling over this seemingly invisible hurdle. Why is recognition such an easy principle to grasp but the majority of employees disengaged in the workplace feel unappreciated? Why don’t we make the connection and simply appreciate?
Actualizing recognition takes commitment to make a difference on a personal level.
It is one of the distinctions between being just a manager and a great leader. Recognition will increase performance and retain talent. Personalizing appreciation is key to your success as a leader. Get to know your team and check in often. Never assume team members don’t need validation of their work. Make sure to give credit where credit is due and never overlook a job well done because of fires needing to be stifled elsewhere. Never forget to appreciate the 80% of the workforce that is doing the majority of the work for the company.
Maybe the company my colleague was indifferent to him leaving. However the cost associated with recruitment, on-boarding and training, and the loss of productivity are all disadvantages associated with an employee’s resignation. We simply must try harder to connect and acknowledge those around us. By building these relationships it creates higher engagement, increased productivity and happy employees within the workforce. Retention should be the goal and appreciation is a must. Hiring good workers will increasingly get harder in the future so let’s improve the employees we have by appreciating their efforts. A simple concept that each of us is equipped to achieve.