One of the most expensive costs a firm will face is to hire someone and train them. For most companies, their “human resources” are their most valuable assets. With that in mind, you would think companies would do whatever it takes to keep the good employees that they have.
Over the past several decades management training has seen an important upward trend. Companies have learned that they couldn’t just promote someone to management and expect them to know all the ins and outs of how to lead and inspire their reports. Although there are still the rare horror stories of the “Boss from Hell,” more and more companies are weeding these types of managers out. So if managers are getting better at managing then why is employee retention still a problem for many of them?
One aspect of management that is talked about, but rarely effectively implemented, is recognition. At a theoretical level, we all know that employees who feel appreciated work harder, are more loyal and statistics show they stay longer at their job**. However, in the day-to-day grind managers don’t carve out time to step back and notice the contributions their reports are making on a regular basis.
I get it. When we’re at work we are focusing on the next task, the next project, the next goal. It is out of step for us to look back over our shoulder to what we did yesterday, last week or last month. However, this is just the view we need to look at to genuinely recognize the contributions those on our teams are making.
What are some tips to help managers routinely recognize and show appreciation for a job well done?
Make Outlook Your Friend (or whatever calendar program you use) – That little reminder setting on your calendar is not just great for getting you to meetings on time. It can be set to remind you each week to make a list of accomplishments each of your reports have made. Then you can mention these at the next group meeting, as you see them in the hall, or wherever works for you.
Schedule regular/timely review meetings – Many companies unfortunately still only formally review their employees once a year. That may be fine to check the HR box of administrative things that must be done, but it is WAY TOO LONG to wait to discuss the accomplishments of your reports. A monthly or bi-weekly meeting is much more appropriate. They obviously don’t need to be as formal, lengthy and paper-heavy as an annual review, but they should include time to review the past week/month’s progress and recognize the employee for their contributions. These private meetings should also encourage employees to speak freely about their work goals, what they see as obstacles to success and what can be done to overcome them.
Spice in some surprise recognition/appreciation – My son started a new job after graduating from college in May and one of the highlights of his workdays has been when his boss says “You have all done a great job today and I am going to take you all out to lunch!” He never knows when this might happen, but in addition to feeling appreciated, it is also a great bonding experience for the team. They go out to the boss’ favorite Chinese buffet and eat like kings! It is not a 5-star restaurant and probably costs the manager/company less than $100, but the feelings of appreciation and loyalty generated are priceless!
So those are my “recognition implementation tips” for the day. Do you have any that have worked for your company? If so let me know.
By Ann Condon, Communications Manager, E.A. Dion, Inc.
** [SHRM/Globoforce Fall 2012 Report Employee Recognition Survey – The Business Impact of Employee Recognition]