Tell them they are needed, and they will stay back. Appreciate and show them they are valued, and they will contribute more meaningfully and genuinely.
Our employees work for a salary but perform better when they feel appreciated and recognised. A kind word goes a long way to getting the best out of your employees. The simple act of appreciation may look small and take less effort to execute, but it gives an exponential return. People are more engaged, happy, and productive when appreciated appropriately. The Zippa report proves that 80% of employees would work harder if they felt better appreciated.
The world defines appreciation as "telling people they're good, or what they're good at." The Verbal flow of good terms to make people feel great, gift cards, public recognition, team, group events and holidays—all add up to the value we try to generate out of R&R plans, but can we do that every single day, and will that be enough? Appreciation is a lot more than that; it's about a holistic strategy to ensure that individuals feel their existence is valued and that people around them care to invest in them—every little action matters. Here I am expanding LITTLE a bit to present my perspective on a holistic appreciation approach:
Listen: We know there will be several issues and scenarios for which we will need solutions. That's the nature of life. There will also be occurrences beyond our control or anything we can prepare for, but it's all part of the process. Leaders should be genuinely there to listen to their stories or perspective. Being around is one of the most significant things one can do for others. Be there!
Involve: As leaders, no matter how relevant we want to appear, we start generalising right and wrong. We start saying, "I know this is right for you." We end up doing what we believe is right than doing what is right. We need to ask people their definitions and perceptions. We miss engaging them, sometimes in big and small decisions. Ensuring their voice is heard and participating in all required initiatives makes them feel appreciated and like an integral part of the team. Inclusion is appreciated by all.
Take care of them: Care for their feelings and handle situations appropriately. What we do is often more important than what we say--even if that means calling or checking in with them when they're late for work so you know everything's all right. The more proactive you are, the better. Know your people's needs well and be there for them day in and day out, not just when necessary or convenient. It’s all about emotions.
Let it go: To err is human," as they say, but it's often difficult for most people to accept. We want perfectionists in our team-"2 more mistakes and you'll be fired" is the most common tone. One major miss and the future is defined by labeling the individual as careless. We need to learn to let go-- let the present be present, and don't let the past overshadow the present and future. Let go of what went wrong and support people with good intentions. Don’t judge.
Empathise: At its core, an empathetic leader understands others' feelings and needs. It's not just understanding the problem but walking a mile in the person's shoes. Being compassionate is something that all business leaders can do to connect with the people they serve. When they understand the issues that someone faces, they can be better equipped to provide support. Understand others’ POV.
In Glassdoor's recent survey, 53% of respondents said that more appreciation from their boss would have helped them stay at their current organisation longer. Need help defining how much is sufficient? A simple approach would be to keep it as a feel-based, need-based initiative, not a process-based one. It's all about emotions first. Sometimes, it's categorised as validation; mostly, it is acknowledgment.
People are what we should value most, and it starts by genuinely appreciating their work. It's not enough to praise them; you should also make the workplace around them more supportive and enabling. This investment can be a small one, but the outcome is immense. As rightly said by Alexander Den Heijer, "When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower." Leaders should make the system unique enough to support individuals' needs for growth, existence, and appreciation. Definitions for individuals differ, and so should comprehension.
A great workplace will always be much more appreciated than a great reward process. Strategising wisely becomes the key.
Do more of little things; they matter a lot. Believe in the magic of little things!