With Thanksgiving T-minus 33 hours, 47 minutes and 12 seconds away just around the corner, it’s time to embrace your inner-Charlie Brown and let your employees know how much you appreciate them. After all, showing that you’re grateful to your employees isn’t just goodwill, it’s good business practice – especially now.
“In any turbulent time, it is more important than ever for managers to make use of the powerful tool of recognition,” say Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton in their best-selling management book, “The Carrot Principle.”
Based on a 10-year study of 200,000 managers and employees, “The Carrot Principle” discusses how the most successful managers have one thing in common: they provide their employees with frequent and effective recognition. Effective recognition, they found, leads to lower turnover rates and enhanced business results.
They also found that 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. This doesn’t bode well for employers who are hoping to hold on to their top talent as America pulls out of a recession and the job market starts to recover.
According to the authors’ Web site, recognition is most effective when it is positive (no discussion of how the job could have been done better or how far the employee has come); immediate (occurring right after an employee’s actions warrant it); close (presented to the employee among peers); specific (pointing out specific behaviors that reinforce company values); and shared (praise is given from peers as well as leadership).
The book also offers 125 ideas for motivating employees, including the following:
- Give an award that keeps on giving all year long: a subscription to the person’s favorite magazine. If the magazine provides a message line on the address label, mention the employee’s achievement there, along with your thanks.
- Send out one handwritten thank you note a day to someone who has helped you. You’ll be surprised to find that you never run out of people to thank.
- The best awards align with employee interests. Whenever you visit your people, write down the things you learn about their interest.
- Give a day pass to an employee’s favorite golf course, ski resort, or spa.
- Hire a personal chef to prepare dinner for an employee and her family for a night.
- While you are away on business, arrange recognition for the employees who stay behind. Prepay for lunch to be brought in by a local restaurant, or have the cafeteria deliver coffee and fresh pastries one day.
- Bring in a masseuse and a massage chair and provide free massages. Employees will feel the benefits of recognition in their very shoulders, which carry such burdens for you.
- Solicit an employee’s input on a current project. Trusting someone’s judgment and then acting on it is one of the greatest compliments you can give a person.
- Post letters of praise from clients and colleagues on a bulletin board in a high-profile location.
- Ask your company president to write a personal note to an employee who has made a remarkable contribution. Then have it sent to the employee’s home. A handwritten note from the president is thoughtful and will be treasured forever.
- The next time one of your folks makes a mistake in an effort to move forward in unfamiliar territory, reward it. By rewarding the courage to try something new, you create a trusting environment where innovation can, and will, occur.
Also, check out even more recognition tips from around the Web:
- HRWorld offers 25 Ways to Reward Your Employees, including offering them flex time, sending employees handwritten thank-you notes, giving out fake money that can later be redeemed for prizes, and sending out company-wide announcements of jobs well-done.
- Five Tips for Effective Employee Recognition from About.com – including what NOT to do when recognizing employees.
- 10 No-Cost Ways to Recognize Employees, courtesy of The Recruiters Lounge, with 3 “bonus” ideas.
Last but not least, always remember that cash often comes second to genuine awards and recognition, a lesson perhaps best illustrated in the clip below (via The Target Group, Inc.):
How are you recognizing your employees this – or any – time of year? (Bonus: Tell us on our Facebook page for a chance to win a free T-shirt!)
Forget what you think you know about HR... it's all about to change.
Sign up to start getting exclusive content designed to empower you with the insight necessary to go from HR professional to strategic business partner.