The New Year is traditionally a time for making positive changes. Many people resolve to quit smoking, exercise more, or eat less.
If you are a manager, why not make a workplace New Year resolution this year? There are things you can do that will improve employee attitudes, enhance service, product quality, and safety. Small changes can create big results.
I am offering the same seven employee recognition resolutions that I offered last year because they are simple and will produce positive results.
1) I will resolve to spend at least 15 minutes each day simply listening to what my employees have to say. I will learn, among other things, what interests them, how they like to be recognized, and how they would improve their job.
Managers spend so much time ‘telling’ they can forget the value of listening. When I’ve asked employees to tell me what their managers do that makes them feel valued, listening is always high on the list.
2) I will resolve to connect the individual’s contribution to the organization’s objectives.
Many employees see no connection between the work that they do and the work of the organization. It is difficult for employees to feel motivated when they don’t understand the importance of their roles.
As the manager, you can connect the dots between what the employee does and what the organization does. Think about the organization’s mission, vision, and goals and how that translates to your department. Then distill that down to the individual employee. Communicate the connection at every opportunity.
3) I will resolve to offer five times more praise than corrective feedback.
Gallup research shows that 5:1 is the ideal ratio for increasing engagement. This can seem like a lot of praise, especially if you have a mediocre performer.
To provide the optimum blend, think in terms of acknowledging milestones, incremental progress, strengths, and valued behaviors. Show appreciation for additional effort, sense of humor, attitude, and a willingness to speak up about concerns.
You can even offer a positive word when giving corrective feedback. End the conversation by expressing confidence in their ability to change.
4) I will resolve to take one employee to lunch every week.
If you have a very small team, once a month may work. Try to get to everyone at least once in the first six months. During lunch, let your guest talk about whatever he or she wishes. Whatever you do, don’t make the lunch into a performance review!
5) I will resolve to put up a recognition white board and use it to note accomplishments.
Place a big white board and some dry erase pens in the cafeteria or another area where people congregate. Write notes of praise and appreciation to the team and to individuals. Encourage people to use the board for peer recognition as well. Erase items after about a week so that the notes are fresh and interesting. This will keep people coming back to read what has been written. (Idea courtesy of the BC Lottery, BC Canada).
6) I will resolve to identify a learning opportunity for every employee.
This doesn’t mean you have to send everyone to a costly seminar. Consider cross-training, new responsibilities, or even self-study. One of the top reasons people stay with a manager and stay engaged is because they feel challenged. Opportunities to learn is a prime motivator.
Find a way for each person to learn and grow that will improve their skills and level of engagement.
7) I will resolve to greet every employee I encounter, making eye contact and smiling, no matter how rushed I feel.
Does this sound too simple to be effective? Remember that employees want to be recognized and that at its most basic that means seeing and acknowledging the person. This takes virtually no time, but if you aren’t in the habit of doing it, it can make all the difference in the world.
Fast and Simple
Each of these seven resolutions takes no more than, on average, fifteen minutes per day. I know, I know that’s fifteen minutes that you don’t have to spare. However, if you find the time, take the time, make the time, employees will make you glad that you did.
Choose one and try it on for six months. I promise you will see changes that result in improved attitudes and productivity.
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Copyright Cindy Ventrice 2007