Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Tiffany Rowe of Seek Visibility discusses how to keep employees fully engaged and feeling appreciated.
As a leader, you want to make sure your employees feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions to the team. That’s because employees who don’t feel appreciated in their positions are employees who aren’t giving their work 100%. They might even be employees who are looking for a new position elsewhere.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to make employees feel valued. Great leaders go out of their way to make sure employees know they’re appreciated for what their skills and talents can bring to the company. As a leader, you have a responsibility to show your employees respect, provide them with opportunities for professional growth, challenge them, give them praise, encouragement, and rewards when they’ve done a good job.
Respect Your Employees
Great leaders structure organizations that allow employees to do their jobs with dignity. No matter how low an employee might be on the totem pole, he or she deserves respect.
When you treat your employees with respect, you keep the lines of communication open, increasing collaboration and leaving room for company-wide evolution and growth. It empowers you to share your vision for the company’s future with your workers, allowing them to feel invested in the company’s growth. It enables you to make it a point to listen and respond to your employees’ needs, so they can get those needs met and continue contributing to the company to the fullest extent possible. When you treat your employees with respect, you create a company culture that encourages professional development, growth, engagement, and long-term commitment to the organization.
Give Them Opportunities for Professional Growth
In today’s fast-changing marketplace, no professional wants to stagnate. When you invest in your employees’ professional growth, you show them that the company cares about who they are as people. Not only will offering chances for professional growth foster employee engagement, it’ll improve the company’s bottom line by providing the organization with a more skilled workforce.
It’s true that almost all of your employees will have to deal with at least some tedious chores, but by no means should the entire job be tedious. Tedious jobs bore smart people, but challenging tasks maintain interest and engagement. They do more than that – they show employees that they’re trusted. When you assign challenging tasks to employees, you’re showing confidence in their abilities. Underscore this message by communicating why you’re choosing to assign specific challenging tasks to a certain employee. Say things like, “You did a great job on your presentation to the team last week, so I think you’d knock this big client presentation out of the park,” or “This new client has very specific needs, so I think your detail-oriented approach would be a good fit.” This will convey your confidence in the employee while also communicating that you’ve noticed how he or she contributes to the company in ways that others can’t.
Few things can make employees feel appreciated like a concrete reward, and rewards don’t have to be huge to be effective. Award plaques and other prizes are great for rewarding employees at yearly company events, but don’t wait for the end of the year to reward employees, and don’t restrict yourself to rewarding only top performers. All employees need to be praised and rewarded from time to time.
One simple way to reward employees is simply to verbally express appreciation. You’d be surprised how far a simple “thank you” can go towards making an employee feel valued. When an employee does a good job on something, let them know!
Other employee rewards don’t need to be material, either. Allow an employee to celebrate a recent accomplishment by sending them home a few hours early on Friday, or skipping work to represent the company at a recruitment event at a nearby college or university. Don’t forget to give employees the chance to reward each other. Apps like YouEarnedIt allow employees to give each other bonuses, gift cards, or other incentives.
When employees feel valued, they’ll work harder to help the whole company get ahead. Great leaders make it happen by creating a culture of respect and encouragement from the top down.