The need for making your employees feel valued and appreciated doesn’t need complicating.
Those who find meaning and fulfilment in the eight or nine hours a day they spend with you will typically perform better and stick around for longer. Not only will it benefit your organisation on a financial level by reducing absence and boosting engagement, it’ll also increase the chances of your employees living happy lives.
That’s why, if you’re interested in building a productive company culture that people want to work in, making employees feel valued is perhaps a manager’s most important job. Here are 10 ways to do it.
Regular one-to-one catch ups only guarantee the box-ticking kind of transparency. Genuine transparency is less common, and might even at first feel counter-intuitive. If an employee asks a question about their performance, for example, answering directly might be difficult.
But proper transparency demands a degree of emotional intelligence on the manager’s part. They must neither be blunt nor shield their employee from the truth. It might cause a few uncomfortable conversations at first, but it’ll demonstrate that you value and trust them enough to tell them the truth. The candid dialogue will in turn empower employees to repay the favour – these are the feedback loops that help businesses grow.
A recent study of ours found that just 41% of UK employees feel aligned with their organisations’ goals. On the surface this is disheartening, but the silver lining is that only 13% said they didn’t want to become more aligned.
If a leader can connect their employees with a common goal, they lay the foundations for dedicated and loyal teams. Goal alignment also strengthens leadership and creates flexibility: with a mobilised team working towards shared objectives, businesses can execute strategy faster and with more agility.
Empowering your employees to recognise and reward each other enables authentic appreciation. As well as boosting productivity and performance, the frequent feedback and collaboration also works well to strengthen relationships and align efforts.
Use a platform that makes peer-to-peer recognition available to the whole team, so everyone can share the love – the rewards could be issued for anything from successful tea runs to project milestones.
Show appreciation by rewarding your people with life’s most precious commodity: time.
A recent ONS study found that 50% of the UK workforce would happily lose a day’s pay if they could take a three-day weekend. It doesn’t have to be a regular occurrence – the fact it’s a one-off will make it all the more impactful.
Our Tackling the UK’s Disengagement Problem report found that six in 10 employees would be more influenced to remain at their current companies is they received a personalised benefits package. There will inevitably be a degree of diversity in your organisation – be it age, religion or personality – so a reward that works for one employee won’t necessarily do it for another.
Benefits packages can vary hugely. Google, for example, offers its employees bi-weekly massages, while learning allowances are popular among many organisations. Whatever the programme, knowing your employees well enough to tailor rewards will have greater impact at less cost.
Remote working is now more prevalent than ever. The chances are that your organisation works with freelancers or long-term contractors of some kind. Whether they visit your workplace on occasion or are permanently remote, showing them appreciation will help to maintain a positive working relationship.
Perry Timms, founder and CEO of People and Transformational HR, has advice: “Who do these people download to? Share ideas with? Celebrate successful ventures with? People could partner up with their colleagues and use remote chat and video links to have regular sharing sessions. Zoom and Skype are great tools for connecting people as physically as possible. I’d also use something like monthly or quarterly get-togethers, where the discussion isn’t about business performance or strategies, but shared learning, ideas and human connection.”
Physical environments have a profound impact on human behaviour and morale. This idea is neatly illustrated by the Broken Windows Theory, which links negativity within a community to sequence occurrences of negativity.
Great companies don’t need extravagant offices (after all, Dyson hoovers, Hewlett-Packard computers and Instant Noodles were all invented in sheds) – the theory challenges employers to think of the wider workplace experience, to ask themselves whether their physical environment reflects how they value their employees. Does the workspace mobilise teams and facilitate learning and development, for example?
Be attentive to your employees’ interests. If someone is keen to learn more about another department or area of the business, make a note to accommodate their curiosity by opening up an opportunity for them to get involved.
This could mean anything from securing them a ticket to an event to encouraging them to take a position within the field they showed an interest in. Within your organisation, of course.
Some 66% of employees consider benefits as a good way to show appreciation for their loyalty. While dental cover and parking spaces have utilitarian value, organisations are also realising the power of creative benefits in both showing appreciation to their staff and as a recruitment tool.
The companies that excel in this space – Google, John Lewis, Virgin – are famed for their deep understanding of their people, something that fuels standout employee incentives, which range from bi-weekly massages to encouraging napping hours.
Employees often feel disconnected from their colleagues – especially in times of organisational growth. This comes from a lack of understanding and appreciation of what each other does – both are needed but people don’t always know why and how.
Perry Timms also has some advice on this one: “Talk about the real people and their stories. Share openly and without agendas. Letting people see, understand and appreciate their colleagues is a great way to build happier atmospheres. Create learning partnerships if you wish to connect people from multiple disciplines. Let them discover what they both need to work on, and allow them to do it together despite distance.”