Not recognizing talent is a mistake that many organizations make. It is one of the biggest mistakes an employer can make, yet they continue to make it over and over and over.
Granted, this is what we call an “employer’s market.” Good jobs are scarce, and as such, employers basically have their pick of the litter. However, does that mean that you abandon good business practices?
Sure, there are 10 people standing in line waiting to take that job, but is that the way to run a successful business? If you have an employee who is doing the right things, taking care of business, why would you risk losing that person, simply because you think they are expendable?
Recently, I watched one of my personal friends go from a high performing, extremely motivated employee, to a disgruntled, unhappy employee. Ultimately, he left the job. Why? Because management simply did not recognize all the good that he did. They were focused on, “you need to do this, and achieve this.” In being so driven to meet unrealistic expectations, they failed to see all the work and good he was doing for the company. Now he’s gone, and their area performance has dwindled.
It doesn’t take much to keep an employee happy. Acknowledging the work that they do, giving them opportunities to grow and learn, trust and responsibility. These things go a long way in employee satisfaction.
Of course money matters, but money isn’t everything. I’m working at a job that pays me less than my prior job, and if I was presented with the opportunity to return, I would turn it down 100 times over. Mind you, I made a significantly larger salary at the old place, but I was miserable.
I feel much more appreciated here, and my work is recognized. In the old shop, I was simply an expendable worker on an assembly line. We worked under the constant threat of being outsourced, laid off, no raise, no bonus and no thank you. The mindset over there was simply, “be thankful you have a job.” The day I was laid off was one of the greatest days of my life. I experienced such an improvement in quality of life, this is so important too. Don’t get me wrong, money matters, but your quality of life will eventually come into play.
Managers, employers, it doesn’t take much to keep your workers happy. Go out on the “field,” see what they do, understand and recognize the good work that they do. When customers give you positive feedback about employees, let them know, recognize them.
My old managers used to say, “No communication from us is a good thing, it means everything is working. If something goes wrong, you’ll hear from us.” However, what about when someone says something good? “Well, you are the best of the best, it is expected that they will say good things, that’s why you are here. Don’t expect to be acknowledged for doing what you are supposed to do.” Which goes right back to, “be thankful you have a job.” They fail to realize how that simple acknowledgement makes such a huge difference in morale. “Hey Angel, so and so called, they said that you stayed late working on an issue to make sure that they were functional in the morning. Thanks so much for taking extra time out of your day to help us achieve our mission.”
Don’t assume that we enjoy doing this, or that we will always be willing to stay 3-5 hours overtime. You take us for granted, and eventually you will receive the bare minimum. Employees will do what they are “supposed” to do, and nothing more.
The final point I’ll make is, if and when you do need to terminate or lay off people, handle that with grace. Take care of them, because the employees left behind will see and hear what has happened. If you treat them badly, we will all see it, we will think that one day you’ll treat us just as badly. That can and will also affect morale.