A Little Bit Of Praise Goes A Long Way In A Workplace

It's a simple fact that when employees feel valued at work they'll want to stay with the company and work harder. Yet, so many employers get it wrong, leaving workers feeling under appreciated. So how should bosses and managers go about reassuring employees that their good work is important to the business? Saying "thank you" is a start and here's why.

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Professional recruitment firm Hays recently released its Staff Engagement: Ideas For Action report which looks at workforce engagement and how employers and employees can facilitate this. One of the aspects Hays focused on was how workers feel valued.

The recruiter surveyed nearly 400 employers and 800 jobseekers for the report. A staggering 95 per cent of employees said feeling valued in a workplace is very important and 67 per cent would look for another job if they don't get that.

No surprises there and perhaps there are companies that are cocky enough to think "What does it matter if I lose an employee or two? There are plenty of people out there waiting to take their place". But one the more interesting finding from the report is the productivity gains that can come out of simply recognising staff for their achievements.

Around 87 per cent of employee respondents indicated that they would go above and beyond if they were made to feel valued by the organisation they're working for. They become more engaged and are willing to go the extra mile to make sure work gets done, even if it means a late night or two. This is supported by a US-based study by consultancy firm Temkin Group that found highly engaged employees are 2.5 times likely to do a bit of overtime. That's the kind of commitment money can't buy.

Rewarding employees with material things to recognise their work is a good way make them feel special but words of affirmation can often mean more to a worker than a spa voucher (it's cheaper, too). It could be a simple "Thank you for this. It's exactly what I need" to a shout-out in a company email or newsletter about a job well done. What matters is that the words of praise are sincere and that what the employee did is something that aligns with your company's objectives.

According to Hays:

"For example, an employee may have cleaned up the database, but unless that helps the organisation achieve its overall business strategy and goals, is it worth positive recognition? Also, some organisations find that they are recognising people for merely performing their job rather than going above and beyond, so make the distinction and provide recognition for exceptional achievements and specific results."

Making employees feel appreciated is something that companies are still struggling with. While 87 per cent of employers said making sure individuals feel valued by the organisation is very important, 52 per cent still need to address this in their own companies in order to improve staff engagement. Employees can assist in the process by being vocal about how they want to be recognised.

As Nick Deligiannis, Hays managing director for Australia and New Zealand puts it: "An engaged workforce doesn’t just happen. It’s a two-way process in which an organisation needs to work hard to engage its staff and, crucially, where employees themselves decide how engaged they will be in return. It’s a symbiotic relationship where both the employer and employee support each other; if one side fails to back the other, engagement levels deteriorate rapidly."


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