In all likelihood, you think you are doing everything right when it comes to how you treat your team. After all, you give them a regular paycheck and do your best to offer a competitive benefits plan. You’ve doled out raises and promotions when you felt they were deserved and the business could sustain them. You’ve tried your best to be a responsive, supportive boss. Sure, you admit you aren’t a perfect boss and have your flaws, but you’re better than most—right?
Don’t be too sure about this. More often than not, employees hide their unhappiness in your company until it’s too late and they’ve jumped ship. Turnover in business is rampant, especially among Millennials. This situation could be happening even if you are no longer (or never were) a controlling, micromanaging boss.
Then…what could be going awry?
They are feeling under-appreciated, that’s what.
DEPRECIATION OCCURS WITHOUT APPRECIATION
What you appreciate appreciates. When you express gratitude, you magnify happiness. People need to feel like their contributions matter. That they matter.
Gratitude means celebrating the team and individual wins and accomplishments. In addition to highlighting successes during team meetings, consider circulating a biweekly “rad report” in which you celebrate the success stories and all of the things that went right.
Many companies focus primarily on postmortems and exploring all of the things that went wrong. If you are spending 50% or more of your time singling out errors and mishaps, your team will feel negative about you and the company as a whole. Negativity breeds negativity.
That’s not to say you and your team shouldn’t expose issues and mistakes. This is an essential part of the process. Yes, it is important to examine root causes and make improvements when things go off-course. But it’s all a balance—and you must counter the negative with more of the positive if you hope to have a productive, energized work culture and foster talented people who feel appreciated.
Employees want to feel like they work for a winning, successful organization. Celebrating team and individual successes more often than conducting postmortems and critiquing everyone’s work will help bring a winning vibe to your team.
But that’s only one part of the equation.
LITTLE THINGS OFTEN SYMBOLIZE BIG THINGS
As a team, you need to show gratitude by both celebrating and rewarding people. Many leaders hand out gift cards, dinners out, massages, and other tangible rewards for jobs well done.
That’s not a bad start. But are these rewards spread out enough among the team to make a real difference? Do the same people get rewarded over and over again—as if you are playing favorites?
Here’s the real kicker: People don’t always feel rewarded by money and gifts. After a while, these things become meh and seem expected, turning them into empty tokens.
In order for a reward to make people feel truly appreciated, there needs to be an element of surprise to it. It needs to be fun, unexpected, and spontaneous.
Here are just a few ideas for making people feel appreciated when they least expect it:
- Order in lunch for everyone from a good local restaurant—or even just pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza?
- Bring in tubs of ice cream on a hot summer afternoon. Liven it up with sundae add-ons, such as whipped cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, and anything else you think your team might enjoy.
- Set up a surprise company barbecue or picnic on a spring or summer day. If you really want them to enjoy themselves and feel rewarded, do it yourself or pay a caterer to arrange everything rather than have your team do all the prep (and then have to clean up afterward). Give them the entire afternoon to enjoy the outdoors away from the office. If you force them back to their desks, it takes away from what you’ve accomplished.
- Have a food truck day outside your building. These days, pretty much every city offers a range of trendy food truck options everyone would enjoy—from tacos, pizza, burgers, BBQ, and grilled cheese to more exotic ethnic cuisines, such as Indian, Korean, and French crepes.
- Go to a fun bar, pub, or restaurant after work for Happy Hour. Treat them to a bar tab for at least an hour or two.
- Let the team head out even earlier than expected before a long holiday weekend.
Those are just six simple things you can do to help your team feel gratitude and appreciation for a job well done. What other creative ideas can you come up with?
Voice for Business Success
Allison Maslan is the CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, The World Leader in Scaling Businesses. Her new book, Scale or Fail is a Wall Street Journal Best Seller that is endorsed by Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19. Now, she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward helping business owners worldwide scale their company while, at the same time, create a passionate life. Allison’s been featured in Success, Fortune, Inc, Fast Company and Forbes magazines is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN across the US. She also hosts her weekly video podcast, Allie & You: The Business Success and Lifestyle Show.