Making workers feel valued, appreciated

What will you say to a subordinate who asks you in the hallway if you have a minute to spare? Would you say, “Not now, I have two consecutive meetings to attend”? Or would you say, “Oh, yes, please, come walk with me to my office. What I can do for you?”

If it’s the former, you most certainly will not dare ask your boss any questions or approach him. Whatever enthusiasm you may have at work has just been plunged in cold water. It’s a feeling you’ve just been brushed off because you’re of no importance to the boss.


If it’s the latter, you have discovered that your boss is a gem, not a jerk who can definitely use some intensive training in staff motivation.

Incidents like these happen countless times in many professional organizations where upstart managers and supervisors (and even those nearing retirement) seem mystified about what truly motivates employees.


They think that if their employees are paid their wages, their overtime pay and given all the monetary perks, they won’t look elsewhere.

In most cases, it isn’t about money. It’s about appreciation, recognition, and a sense of belonging.

So how should corporate executives and leaders make their employees feel that they’re appreciated, valued and recognized, that they belong and are treated fairly?

A website on employee motivation (http://www.motivation-and-self-improvement-guide.com/employee-motivation.html) lists some practical techniques:

— Know what your employees want in regard to rewards, workplace freedom and the like.

“Many managers make the mistake of assuming their employees will be motivated by the same things that motivate them,” says the website.

A team member, it says, once told a manager that he was motivated by his company-provided T-shirts and caps with the company logo! The manager found out the members of the team were all into a “team” atmosphere and the T-shirts and caps gave them a sense of belonging.


“This sense of ‘home’ or ‘belonging’ has tremendous impact on employees. If this element is missing from the workplace, negative talk and complaining will fill the void, creating an atmosphere of fear and resentment. So it’s important for management to carefully plan activities and events,” it says.

— Make an effort to know the members of your team. Plan dinners for the team on a regular basis, the website advises.

An HR expert says managers need to know their employees’ goals, their stressors, and what excites them by showing an interest in their well-being.

It is also important that managers let go of any negative opinions or biases they may have about their employees, by treating them as a source of knowledge with something valuable to contribute to the organization.

Support your people. “Fight for them,” says the website. “If they need new equipment or training to do their job, get it for them. If someone accuses them of wrongdoing, get the facts and back them. Then deal with any problems behind closed doors. If they know you support them, they will support you when the going gets rough.”

— Have a program of “surprise” awards. The website says this is sometimes called “catching someone doing something right.”

This award, it says, is given out randomly when the good deed occurs. “Give the group the ability to nominate someone as well (with your approval). Make it clear that this is something above and beyond the regular job description,” says the website.

This activity may be likened to giving impromptu award ceremonies to call everyone’s attention to the inconsequential tasks that a staff member routinely does, such as being always the first person to arrive at work, or acknowledging behind-the-scenes contributions that the employees perform but for which they do not receive recognition.

Employees will willingly go the extra mile if they sense that their managers sincerely show their appreciation.

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TAGS: Employees, leadership, Management
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