I have been struck with a few projects lately. The degree to which so many people in the world feel undervalued in their work is shocking. What is even more surprising to me is that in most of the cases where we encounter this, the people who feel undervalued are often in fact highly valued by the organisation and by their peers.
So what is going wrong in these organisations that people who are valued don’t realise it? It’s quite simple really. No one ever told them! These organisations have no feedback loop, no recognition and reward structures, often nothing that would really tell employees’ what’s expected of them. As such, the best workers tend to feel taken for granted, and the worst workers experience no consequence. In this environment it’s not surprising that negative cultures often flourish.
So how do you make sure that your best workers know how much you value them, and stay with your organisation?
1. Give consistent feedback – for feedback to be effective it needs to be consistent and regular. Feedback helps to create social norms, and if it is consistent shapes consistent behaviour. It is also how you let people know you value them!
2. Encourage a culture of feedback – and gratitude. The feedback should not only be from supervisor to subordinate. The feedback culture involves honest and helpful feedback between all levels of an organisation. This helps to bind the team and establish a healthy and productive culture.
3. Implement a recognition and reward program. People need to be recognised often and consistently. The rewards don’t need to be big – they can simply be a public thank you.
The key to showing your staff that you value them is consistency and regularity. Let people know what the ‘right’ type of behaviour is and reward people when they positively contribute. Most importantly, foster a culture of gratitude. That way staff will always feel valued. And if you think this is too difficult, or too wishy-washy to implement? Then you should expect to constantly lose your best staff, have to pay the costs that go with high staff turnover and produce mediocre results in your business. And I would encourage you to ask yourself – what would your business really be without your workforce? Maybe you should stop and thank them.