Have you ever felt underappreciated at work? Odds are you’re not alone: according to a study by Clear Review, lack of appreciation is the leading cause of workplace frustration.
Why would anyone want to work somewhere where they’re frustrated and don’t feel valued? They don’t, or at least not for long; global studies reveal that 79% of people leave their jobs because of a perceived lack of appreciation from their bosses. As a manager or leader, this means your top priority needs to be employee appreciation.
What’s in it for you? A Gallup study on the subject concluded that regular recognition and praise can increase things like individual productivity and innovation, employee engagement, employee retention, and customer loyalty and satisfaction. It’s a win-win for both managers and employees. So, how can you up the ante on employee appreciation with limited resources?
Money isn’t the only way to reward employees. Research shows that both public and private recognition are the most memorable forms of acknowledgement for employees. Plus, it’s more memorable when praise comes from a higher-level manager or CEO. So don’t be afraid to single out employees to recognize and reward them. It can be as small as a personal thank-you note or as big as letting the employee leave a few hours early on a Friday.
Show Appreciation Often
Don’t just tell employees how much you appreciate their efforts, show them. Better yet, let them know that others appreciate their efforts too. This can easily be done in everyday conversations. For example, “You did such a fantastic job putting together that presentation last week. One of our latest clients is very particular about what they like, I think you’d be the best person to put together their presentation because you’re so meticulous.” It can even be as simple as forwarding an email from a client about what a great job that employee did. A little appreciation goes a long way.
Assign Challenging Tasks
Sure, there’s always basic, tedious tasks to get done (hello, data entry!), but the key for managers and leaders is to balance those out with tasks that will engage your team members. When you’re assigning tasks, be sure to do so with each employee’s individual strengths in mind, even if that means creating a new assignment for someone to ensure the best fit. When you assign employees tasks that challenge them, you’ll keep them engaged and make them feel trusted and valued.
Communication is Key
Here’s a statistic that most managers will probably find alarming – according to a Harvard Business Review survey, 58% of people trust strangers more than their own boss. Daily communication, whether in person, by email, or conference call, can certainly help, as communication has been linked to trust and increased engagement. This also includes getting to know employees beyond their job descriptions, for example at a weekly office social. When you establish a rapport with your team, they’ll feel more comfortable, be more productive, and will be more likely to experiment and support each other.
There’s a reason why studies show that showing appreciation is the top thing employees say managers can do to inspire them to do their best work. And the best part is that all of the above won’t cost you much more than some time, consideration, and a smile.
Laura D’Angelo | Contributing Writer