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Simple ways to make employees feel valued

By Lilia Borlongan-Alvarez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:19:00 03/20/2011

Filed Under: Employers, Employees

MANILA, Philippines?You?ve heard the old saying ?you can lead a horse to water but you can?t make him drink.?

This adage applies to leaders of organizations and managers who wish to positively influence the attitudes or behavior of indifferent or underperforming employees resulting from their out-of-sync expectations of each other.

Hence, this piece of bombshell news to even the most brilliant of managers: To bring your employees to doing what you tell them, the only way is to make them WANT to do it!

Question is: How? Give them monetary incentives? That may work for a little while and they could use them, but they?re not foolproof. Reason: It?s not always about money.

Appreciate them

In her web article ?The Art of Appreciating Your Employees? published by HubPages, Michelle Yvette says managers should show their employees they are valued because this increases their self-worth, improves work quality and attendance, and increases their loyalty to them and the company they work for.

Yvette suggests some simple, inexpensive ways for managers to show that their employees are genuinely valued, thereby inspiring peak performance:

1. Have a bulletin board welcoming new employees. Place it near where they will see it when they arrive. This will make them feel welcome and more at ease.

2. Personally give new employees a welcome bag that may contain things they will need for their job?a coffee mug with the company logo, pens, hand sanitizer and the like.

3. Keep a nice assortment of thank you, congratulations, sympathy, birthday, employment anniversary and blank cards on hand.

4. Take candid pictures of your staff at work. Make sure you take a picture of everyone, don?t leave anyone out, including new employees.

5. Provide beverages and snacks at your staff meeting.

6. Set aside at least 15 minutes at the end of your staff meeting to thank employees who have done something special. Reward them with a flower or a certificate of appreciation.

7. Take a different employee to lunch once a month?on you. Employees will appreciate the one-on-one time with you and you will get to know them on a more personal level.

8. Have an open-door policy. Your employees should not feel intimidated when having to approach you to share their concerns.

9. When you meet or converse with your employees, make them feel they?re the most important persons in the room. Look at their faces and don?t tinker with your Blackberry, answer your cell phone, look out the window or continue typing or writing. Listen to what they have to say.

Yvette says managers should introduce their subordinates to visitors as they pass by their work stations or desks. She says managers should NOT breeze past them as if they were insignificant nameless, faceless museum pieces. Your employees are important?so show it.

She says they should find out where their employees want to go within the company but should demonstrate their trust in their staff?s capabilities.

Thank them

Another way by which managers can make their employees perform involves an ?attitude of gratitude.? Part of a leader or manager?s job is to give a lot of ?thanks? to employees. Walter Oelwein, founder of Business Performance Consulting, LLC, says thanks is connected to acknowledgement of work done.

?Managers should thank their employees when they do something even if it?s within their regular job duties. The threshold for earning thanks can be very, very low. Showing up at a meeting can earn thanks. An e-mail that responds to your question can earn thanks. An employee who followed up on something for you can earn thanks. An employee who simply does his job?and the moment he finishes the part of the job he worked on?can earn thanks,? he says.

But Oelwein cautions managers that unless it is already obvious what they are thanking their employees for, they ought to say something specific like ?thanks for completing that job? or ?thanks for your input? or ?thanks for getting here on time.?

Praise them

Another part of a manager?s job is to praise his employees to encourage them to keep doing what they have been praised for. ?Managers, however, should identify what was good about what an employee did and why it had a positive impact,? Oelwein says.

Oelwein adds that managers should not praise general behavior or ?everything? an employee does. ?Everything you do is amazing!? sends a message that in all likelihood, the manager has no idea what the employee does.

Motivating and affirming their employees and bringing out the best in them are every corporate leader?s responsibility?that is, not faking their sincerity, empathy and sensitivity, and being interested in them as human beings.

These may be said to be ?foolproof? approaches to making the horse want to drink the water.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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