Newsletter September 2020
Let 'Em Know
Welcome to the official start of Fall. My favorite time of year. It also is the time when most of you are planning for next year, budgeting, reviewing YTD results and forecasting for the remainder of the year 2020. Soo…while outdoor escapes and cooler temps are great and welcomed, STRESS is also high this time of year. Combine that with the additional pandemic piece and it can be unreal at times.
This is the time, for you and your teams, to remember to LET THEM KNOW how you feel about their efforts. Or, as I always say, Catch ‘Em Doing Something Right Today!
Now more than ever, people are craving this. And there are plenty of new studies to support that in real-world numbers. So why am I bringing this up now? Because survey data, including my favorite one from a research and consulting firm Energage, indicate our numbers in this area are slipping. Pre-Covid and now in the midst of it. This survey covered 3 million employees at more than 7,500 organizations in 2019. Others I use indicate this same trend.
Sometimes we just need a reminder and some reasons why to spend a little extra time on this. It’s not because we don’t care. It’s just the need to try and refocus and make space for this key piece of the engagement and retention puzzle. Consider it a friendly reminder.
Let 'Em Know
Here are some key points from a recent Forbes article that may help support what you are doing.
Showing employees appreciation for their work seems harder during the Covid-19 pandemic, two executives of manufacturing companies said in unrelated conversations. They learned that employee appreciation doesn’t have to cost anything, but leaders need to plan for regular activity to express—with specificity—how their employees did good work.

Some of the old ways of thanking employees don’t work as well now. Companies whose executives were spoken with used to bring in lunch for their factory workers once a month or so. A buffet line would be set up, the workers would sit together, the boss would give a short Thank You speech, and everyone would go back to work. Safety concerns prevent this model, so in some cases nothing is happening. And nothing is happening at exactly the time when lockdowns and social distancing have put people in sour moods. More expressions of workplace appreciation are needed now, not less, and certainly not nothing.

Food usually works well. If a table of pizza won’t work, try treating employees to ice cream or other safe snacks.

Verbal appreciation has a huge benefit and doesn’t cost any money at all. It was noted that employees value highly a direct comment of appreciation. To make it especially valuable, the leader should walk up to a particular employee, know the person’s name, and cite a specific activity. “Sally, your effort getting that big order shipped really helped us keep the customer happy” has a greater impact than “Great job, team.” Even those not named feel good that one of their co-workers was called out—and they may be motivated to put in the effort that will merit them being called out.

Recognizing employees often lacks deadlines, meaning it gets delayed behind tasks that do have deadlines. But in the long run, recognition of good workers is more important than most of the tasks on management’s to-do lists. The recommendation is to schedule it. For instance, a manager could schedule on the calendar a walk-through to recognize two or three employees. (It is suggested varying the day and time, so that it was not too predictable to workers.)

When you think about having a great company culture, you think about building trust, honesty and a great team of workers. Here’s what you might be missing- employee appreciation ideas.
In the United States, 20,000 workers were surveyed by the Boston Consulting Group. The top reason why they enjoyed coming to work was "feeling appreciated".
Humans have an inherent need to get appreciated from their work. Even a small gesture like a “thank you” goes a long way to boost productivity, increase performance and improve morale among the workforce.

You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.
-Bob Nelson

In addition to the great reminder from Forbes and the stats from the Boston Consulting Group study, here are some top tips from Lisa Burke, a workplace improvement expert at the research group mentioned previously, Energage. These are straight from the study mentioned earlier!
  1. Individuals and Teams First. Focus on individual achievements and people supporting each other.
  2. Honoring Those Lost.
  3. The Power of Story. Tell and share success stories you’ve collected throughout your organization.
  4. Learn for the Future. If history is right, a crisis will happen again at some point. Find out(and discuss) what has worked – and what hasn’t worked and make note of these for future planning.
  5. Create a Channel for Good. Find an outlet - such as instant messaging channel – that makes it easy to express gratitude.
  6. Give Money for a Purpose. Money is not the first recommendation for recognizing others. But giving money for a purpose such as exercise equipment or workspace improvements can work in this environment.
  7. Create a Buddy System. Assign “buddies” to check-in with each other – both now and when your staff returns to office life. This can be done 1:1, or managers can buddy-up with 4-6 employees outside of their own team. 
And a couple of great reminders for leaders came from this article and study as well. I could not agree more with them. First, BE SEEN. Next, BE KIND. Try to meet people “where they are”. Ask about the human being first before jumping straight into getting them to do the task you want them to do.

Be safe. Take care of yourself. And be good to each other. Remember, as I said before… We are ALL in the same storm. Let’s get through it the best we can!

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Ever wonder whether you could be getting more from your employees or staff members? Do you struggle to motivate and inspire them? If so, Water Your People and Watch Them Grow is the book you need. 
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