Employees in high-performance positions are required to be at the top of their game, to always give 100% effort, and to be flexible with demands of their time as strategies can often change very quickly. The end result can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining for the employee. It can be very disheartening to have worked hours or days on a project only to have the strategy change and a new plan developed that requires significant re-work. Ever-changing demands can leave employees feeling overworked, undervalued, and unappreciated.
Employee appreciation is extremely important, not just in the example above but in all situations, for a handful of reasons. First, happy employees are, well, happy employees who often are more attentive and more willing to put forth the extra effort required by high-performance positions. Second, high-demand jobs often suffer from high-turnover. Being able to show appreciation for your employees helps them to know how their efforts make a difference which encourages increased loyalty. Finally, being able to show that as a manager you recognize the hardships and the stresses brought on by an uncertain, high-performance environment and that you appreciate their hard work shows you are able to be an empathetic manager which helps to build psychological trust.
Here are 5 ways you can say thank you to high-performance employees.
Be a Good Filter for Your Employees. If you know your employees are working hard toward meeting a deadline act as a filter, or a buffer, for incoming demands on their time. Show your employees that you’ve got their back and are willing to negotiate on their behalf to determine how a mutually agreeable timeline can be reached.
Say Thank You Often…And Mean It. As often as I can I find specific behaviors that my team has identified as behaviors that add value and I thank them for their commitment to acting in ways that add value. In these instances I try to be as specific as I can regarding the exact behavior that adds value so there is no misunderstanding what moves the bar of success.
Be Flexible With Working Time. If you have the opportunity to be flexible with your employees work schedule then use that to your (and to their) advantage. Trade hours/days as available to create a better work/life balance for your team. Being flexible with work schedules allows for employees to address their own needs without feeling like they are letting the team down. Flexibility can’t always be accommodated but when it can, do it!
Hold Staff Meetings Offsite. Who doesn’t like to get away from the office on a Monday (or Friday, gasp!) afternoon? By holding staff meetings away from the office not only are you giving your employees a mental and emotional break, you’re also guaranteeing that other departments aren’t crashing your party by pulling an employee away from the meeting. If it has been a particularly challenging time with a lot of extra project work, or to wrap up a strong performance quarter, I like to supplement these meetings by treating the team to coffee or ice cream before the meeting. Taking a few minutes to allow your employees to pick a treat and share some non-work related banter is always a great morale booster. Don’t feel bad about being away from the office, just make sure your team plans ahead and all time-sensitive work is taken care of so your team doesn’t come back to chaos and frustration.
Give a Monetary Token of Appreciation. In the event an employee has gone above and beyond and has made a significant impact on your group’s performance, or the performance of the firm, a monetary token is a great way to say thank you. This can be a one-time ‘spot award’ or, if your employee has a proven track record of success work with your management team to offer your employee a promotion. Both are great options to show your appreciation for their dedication to team success.
Hopefully this list gives you some ideas of not only why employee appreciation is important, but also gives you some ideas on how to show your thanks.
Is there a way to show thanks that I have forgotten, or missed? Do you find one of these examples hasn’t worked well for you in the past and have a suggestion of a strategy that has worked better? Please leave me some feedback in the comments section below, I’d greatly appreciate it!