Expressing gratitude at work
Making staff feel valued is a demonstrated factor of engagement and performance at work, which managers however tend to underuse. How can you transform acknowledgement into an opportunity to differentiate?
The importance of acknowledging the work of our staff no longer needs to be proven. Many studies have found a measurable link between the acknowledgement shown by managers towards their staff and the latter’s performance: more committed, more supportive, they are also up to twice more productive! This positive impact can be seen on effectiveness, work quality, adaptability to change, tenacity when facing difficulties, initiative taking and creativity—and, finally, on customer satisfaction. This correlation can also be observed at the level of companies: those where staff indicate they feel valued enjoy a more attractive employer brand and greater personnel loyalty. Conversely, statistics from the US Department of Labor show that the first reason mentioned by employees as a cause for their resignation is the lack of recognition.
Yet, if the effectiveness of this principle is indisputable, its implementation is far from widespread. Why are there such gaps? This is certainly not because of the lack of goodwill by managers: no one intentionally decides not to show signs of appreciation. But, there is often a form of embarrassment at expressing recognition, linked to unconscious fears: “Will I come across as an under-demanding or patronizing manager if I spend my time congratulating my team?”; “Is there a risk that they become big-headed, that they lower their level of commitment in the future, or even that they ask for a salary rise that I will not be able to obtain for them?”; “they can see through my evaluations that I appreciate their work: why should I say it all the time?”; “Could my congratulations be interpreted as manipulation?”; etc.
These hurdles sometimes stem from a lack of understanding of how recognition works. But, more often, they come from feeling uncomfortable: you must push yourself on a daily basis to practice this essential behavior to discover its power and progressively make a habit of it. Here is some advice to help you.
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Relying on recognition to develop staff motivation and performance.
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Beyond the known effects of acknowledgement over staff engagement, this article focuses on its virtues to help them through stressful and uncertain times.