On every company anniversary, HR is struggling to find gifts for company employees. "What do they like? What gift is useful to them?" It is difficult to find gifts that employees like because HR will give employees the wrong gift and there will be a lot of problems. This will make everyone unhappy when they receive a gift.
They did not give people a significant sense of appreciation, but instead became another box checked by managers, completely disconnected from employee achievements. Some companies try to make plans more relevant by offering specific rewards to people who create and lead important new plans, "reflect" organizational values in their actions or have a significant impact. However, there are problems with this approach: rewards can be seen as opportunities for a small number of selected elites, leaving most workers feeling left out and ignored.
If managers can make the larger group of employees feel appreciated, the benefits will be substantial. When people receive gratitude from their manager, they are more efficient at work. Another researcher recently found that when team members believe that colleagues respect and appreciate them, the team performs tasks better.
Many HRs strive to make employees feel that their talents and contributions are valued and valued. But when you dig into this topic, you will find that employees think that it is actually very simple. Although the boss finds it difficult to express gratitude to employees.
The Gap Between Managers and Employees.
According to the "Harvard Business Review" research, their discussion showed that there is a significant difference between the opinions of managers and employees.
First, there is a clear difference between managers' appreciation of employees and employee perceptions. We speculate that the illusion of transparency, or the tendency of people to overestimate the visibility of their emotions to others, may explain this: Managers mistakenly believe that employees know how they feel about them.
Second, many managers report that communicating appreciation seems to be really difficult. Some people have trouble balancing feedback on development and fear sending mixed messages to employees. Some people worry that their efforts to express gratitude to all employees will be regularized and seen as impersonal and pointless. On the other hand, employees do not think it is a complicated task. They quickly and clearly articulate the precise ways in which managers can express their appreciation effectively.
This is what they tell us the manager should do:
1. Get in touch with the basics early and often:
Although taking the time to regularly greet and communicate with employees may seem like an unnecessary loss of productivity, these interactions are actually a valuable point of contact for your employees (and you). They keep your employees from feeling invisible. An employee in our focus group told us that we only need to hear "good morning" or "how are you?" Recognition from department managers is as meaningful as formal recognition. By creating a routine that allows your employees to share stories about what they are doing or doing with you, you can make them feel "know" you and keep up with what is happening in your organization.
2. Give balanced feedback:
Employees want to know what they are doing well and where they can improve. In our discussions, they reported time and time again that getting positive and developmental feedback is one of the key factors that make them feel valued. As one employee explained, it is important to get praise from her manager, but since she never received suggestions for improvement, she questioned the effectiveness of positive feedback. At the same time, some employees who only received critical feedback seemed to give up because they felt they were always doing the right thing.
The trick is to avoid providing both types of comments at the same time. When managers try to use the common sandwich technique to fill in negative feedback between the two layers of positive feedback, employees will only get confused. In our experience, people who need development feedback more often only hear positive words from their manager, while people who perform well will remember more negative feedback. Therefore, we must clearly distinguish between positive feedback and developmental feedback.
3. Address growth opportunities:
Employees want to know the future of their careers. When managers take the time to clearly discuss growth potential or provide opportunities and "extend" tasks, employees will interpret it as evidence that they are valued. On the contrary, when managers forget to solve the personnel development problem, employees will think it is a sign that they have not solved it.
4. Provide flexibility:
Regardless of whether managers allow people to choose to work remotely or simply suggest that someone come in later in the day after overtime, employees quickly interpret this as an important sign of trust and appreciation. One employee told us that he felt that the flexible work schedule provided by his manager was "a great appreciation."
5. Build a habit:
It only takes a few minutes to explicitly inform your employees how much you value their contributions can have a huge impact. Try to incorporate it into your daily work, perhaps by spending the first 15 minutes of your week writing a personal thank you letter that you consider, or when starting your team meeting, briefly thanking team members for their achievements. The range of options is almost limitless. Some managers we talked to gave food and gift cards as a tangible expression of their appreciation; others emphasized visiting each of their reports every day. However, the idea is not to create an automated thank you system for employees, rather it is more important to allow you to express your gratitude in a way that feels natural.
Mistakes to Avoid.
Employees were equally clear about the ways in which managers communicated a lack of appreciation for them. The following are some of the managers who often make mistakes:
1. A general expression of gratitude that is not true or radical:
Appreciation must be concrete and sincere. Although employees are enthusiastic about various ways of expressing gratitude, they are not moved by empty or careless gestures. There is a big difference between saying thank you aloud when you go out or sitting down with someone to describe how you value your work and its positive impact on the team or organization.
Meaningful expressions of gratitude are often described as timely, relevant, and sincere, and the result is that empty expressions may actually be worse than no gratitude. Managers also need to be careful when approving all team members. Sometimes the performance of a team does not reflect the equal contributions of all its members. If everyone gets the same recognition, it can alienate the top performers.
2. Ignoring standard company procedures:
Many busy managers think that procedures such as annual reviews, quarterly check-ins, and nominating employees for awards are a waste of time. But for employees, they are important milestones, providing clues to their progress and performance. When a manager ignores them, employees usually infer that they are something that the manager does not value rather than the program. If you intend to deviate from the organization's rulebook, you should at least clearly explain the reasons to your employees, otherwise, they may come to the conclusion that your inaction is a statement to them.
3. Make employees feel isolated from colleagues or the organization at large:
For managers, it's easier to see how everyone's contribution matches everyone else's work, but employees often lack this information. When managers emphasize how employees use the work of others within their department or among others, it lays the foundation for spreading recognition throughout the organization.
4. Sudden or unexplainable changes in your appreciation practice:
If you are not focused on expressing your gratitude to your employees, please do not overcompensate; they are likely to think that your efforts are not sincere. Instead, let them know that you are trying to develop gratitude skills as a leader. Take a moment to ask how they want to be recognized. Some people may like to be publicly thanked, while others may be furious at the idea. The key is to understand the personal preferences of employees.
Makes Appreciation Smple and Powerful.
The great thing about is that the appraisal is free and doesn't take a lot of time. Anyone, at any level, can express their appreciation. It can be addressed to employees, colleagues, or bosses. However, when the leader is involved, the culture of appreciation spreads more quickly. One thing that helps is meeting with other managers to discuss effective (or ineffective) gratitude strategies. If you are a manager, please consider working with one or more colleagues to brainstorm and build a sense of responsibility for your efforts.
In the final analysis, building an appreciation culture mainly comes down to a series of little common sense: Don’t take your employees for granted. Remember to express gratitude in a personal and sincere manner. Make it clear that you are interested in the growth of employees and their individuals. Start by expressing more gratitude to the people around you and see what happens. You might be surprised at what a difference these little things can make.
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