When my 15-month-old son was learning to walk a few months ago, we would all clap to encourage him. It got to the point that he would stand and, before he would even try to take a step, he would start clapping himself – he wouldn't move until we were all clapping, too. He ate up every morsel of the encouragement we gave him, even before he accomplished anything.
From an early age, no doubt, we want people to be proud of our accomplishments.
From the toddling tike to the star player on the high school basketball team, the college student receiving her diploma to the business owner who just went global, or the mom who just gave birth to her first child to the daddy walking his daughter down the aisle -- we all want to have that proverbial pat on the back that says "job well done."
Why is it, then, that so many business owners fail to adequately let their employees know how important they are to the success of the business? Why are so many people miserable in their jobs because they feel under-appreciated, under-compensated and are hitting the ceiling while only half-way up the ladder?
Pride Means You Sometimes Forget Who Got You There
My toddling baby boy is, of course, too little to grasp the full picture of the weeks we helped him practice to reach his mobile goals. No, all he can think about right now is how big he is and how he'd rather walk everywhere than be carried. Oddly enough, however, many of us who can see just how much others contribute to our success, easily overlook it. We'd like to think that the basketball player or college graduate sees how much their parents sacrificed (in most cases) to help them achieve their dreams, but that isn't always the case.
That's because pride can often blind us to how insignificant our efforts are without hands pushing us along the way – without someone picking up the slack to make sure we miss nothing in the excitement of it all. At some point, many start to see their success as self-taught, self-motivated and self-achieved.
However, there is most always someone just off to the side that played a role in those achievements and, no matter how small that role may be, recognition is deserved.
Every Day Should be Staff Appreciation Day
While you may feel you're acknowledging your secretary's presence and that she completed a task adequately with these quick responses, you're sadly mistaken. Taking the time to verbalize the contributions of each of your staff members, and being specific as to what those contributions are, will go a long way in continuing the success of your business. You may be surprised to learn that business relationships don't stop at b2b or b2c marketing techniques. I think I might petition that another acronym for business success be created: b2e.
Figure you're off the hook because you have hundreds of employees so it's virtually impossible for you to tell each and every one of them how they've specifically contributed to your hefty salary? Nice try. An email, even a mass one, would go a long way toward developing stronger company morale. Honestly, who doesn't like hearing from the big-guy at the top of the ladder?
Sometimes Words Aren't Enough
Words of affirmation go a long way for making someone feel appreciated, but it shouldn't stop there. The following elements will help to continue building optimal morale with your employees:
What's that 'Morale' Thing Again?
What it all comes down to is, when your staff (whether employed or freelance) feels like you actually care about their work and acknowledge how important it is, they'll want to give their all. When morale is high, the end product is much more successful. When you have a lot of turnover, you'll notice that your end product suffers.
So head into work today and tell everyone they can leave at 4 p.m. on Friday instead of 5:00 just because they deserve a break. Once they pick their jaws up off the floor, you'll see a week full of noteworthy accomplishments. Watch.