There are some things in life we often take for granted. It’s only when they’re gone that we appreciate just how important they are.
Take last week as an example. I was relieved we didn’t suffer power cuts with the storm (particularly when I heard our neighbouring village was without power for 2 days). But then last Thursday we lost the internet; not for a few hours, but days! 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have bothered us, but now we’ve become so dependent.
The same can happen with people in your team. Those steady, reliable team members who just get on with their job, get the work done and help others along the way. Then suddenly, out of the blue, they tell you they’re leaving.
And as you prepare for their departure, you become aware of all the things you rely on from them.
Had you really appreciated this up to now?
Had you ever told them how much you appreciated them?
Friday marks ‘Employee Appreciation Day’
Of course, employee appreciation shouldn’t be limited to just one day, it’s a cultural commitment. As human beings we all like to be appreciated …more than just once a year!
Ongoing, simple but sincere gestures – however small – towards each of your team members that demonstrates you value them, and that their contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.
Now, especially after two years of unsettled and changing work environments and all the uncertainty, your team could probably appreciate a little extra recognition for always bringing their best to work.
Of course, it’s so much easier to make the appreciation meaningful when you know what’s important.
We should never assume what our team would like and what’s important to them. If you don’t know what’s important to them…
One of the exercises I often do as an ice breaker on workshops, such as on one of the ones I ran last week, is to get people either talking about – or even drawing images of – an accolade or something they’re proud of, be that in or out of work and something recent or from years back. Just by getting them talking about these makes people feel good, as well as helping me – or the colleagues they are working with – get an insight into what’s important to them.
I also do a variation of this with managers asking them to draw their idea of what’s important to their teams. Nine times out of ten I get a £, and invariably I get drawings of trophies, and winning, but what’s also interesting is the variety of other ideas and themes that go up too.
It might be pictures of trees and mountains, families and friends, of sporting activities, to name but a few.
Finding out about what people value outside work as well as in work can be a real insight.
Simply asking this question and listening for their answers is just one way to show appreciation.
But, of course the real impact can be felt when you follow through on these insights.
If you’ve never had the discussion, it’s high time you did!
If you only do one thing: Don’t wait until they’re gone to appreciate how much you depend on each of your team members. Tell them now!