Monday, April 13, 2009

If Managers Would Just Ask What People Want

When I read this study, opportunity leaps off the computer screen. Managers have such a huge and, frankly, easy opportunity to increase employee morale and generate loyalty, without spending a dime. And yet, so often you hear from people that they hardly ever hear from their manager the top two things they look for in rewards and recognition at work.

But we don’t have the budget

Managers often think they need a budget to do rewards and recognition. Companies form committees and spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to institutionalize rewards and recognition programs, and in the end make them so complication and impersonal that they fail before they get to the starting line. As a VP of human resources once said in a meeting of this type, “are we going to end up hiring a ‘Manager of the Wall of Fame?”

Nothing personal

By institutionalizing rewards and recognition, it becomes impersonal and therefore, counter-productive. The example above, hiring a manager to be in charge of the Wall of Fame seems like a logical fix for a company that wants to show commitment to an “important” process by dedicating resources to it, ends up with the unintended consequence of removing the person’s manager from the process. What people want most is an “in-person” thank you from their immediate manager and that their immediate manager shares achievements directly with senior management. They don’t want recognition given to them by some HR manager in a remote office they never see.

Not to mention, managers now have another excuse not to participate in showing appreciation to their people because the company has a dedicated person “who handles it.” It is not intentional, but managers get busy and focus on their day-to-day tasks. Stopping to do the little things like showing appreciation gets lost. It happens.

Become one of the best managers right away

Managers have a huge opportunity to become one of the best bosses their people have ever had, and it will not cost them a cent. In fact, you can be a little bit of a rebel by ignoring company rules and processes for rewards and recognition and just ask your people individually want they want...mostly they will say, “show me some appreciation once in a while.”

Start today! Begin genuinely thanking your people, showing appreciation and sharing their achievements with senior management. Do that, and you will build a team with the highest morale and most loyalty in your company…and your people will begin showing you the same appreciation. This is the best way to show senior management how great you are at your work and what potential you have to grow in the company.

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