As a leader, you’ll undoubtedly be aware that you need to invest in your employees in order to succeed. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that one aspect of such investment is acknowledging the achievements of your staff. Validation is something that keeps people motivated, and will often lead them to push themselves further.
Essentially, a leader can use acknowledgement to create a business culture that keeps employees fulfilled, productive and engaged. Another benefit of acknowledging your staff is that it can be an effective retention strategy. If people feel appreciated, they should have higher levels of job satisfaction, and thus will hopefully continue working for your organisation.
While you may believe that you acknowledge your employees regularly, it’s important to think about the actions you’re taking, and weigh up whether they could be improved on. To help you get started, we’ve outlined a few key considerations in terms of acknowledging your staff below:
Listen to Your Employees
Most leaders got to the position they’re in because they’re smart. It can therefore be tempting to assume that you know best, and won’t really ask others for input. Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, you will know the best path for your company. But this won’t always be the case.
Listening to your employees when it comes to innovative solutions and suggestions can greatly benefit your business. There’s a good chance that your employees are full of creative ideas that would have never occurred to you! Not only this, but actively listening to staff can also show that you value their opinions, and goes a long way to making people feel valued.
Provide Useful Feedback
When you give someone feedback, you can’t guarantee that they’ll take it to heart, nor can you be sure that they’ll appreciate it. Some feedback may come across as overly critical, or it could sound like you’re singling out and blaming an individual for an issue.
The trick is to guide people through tasks they could improve on, offering helpful but not overbearing advice. You also need to offer just as much praise as you do criticism - feedback is usually appreciated more if you talk about the positives as well as the negatives.
Personalise Your Responses
When it comes to acknowledging your employees, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you take the time to personally connect with your team, and recognise individual achievements, you will make them feel special and truly appreciated. Or you can add a personal touch when acknowledging someone - perhaps something like a handwritten note.
It’s also good to bear in mind that you don’t need to limit yourself to mentioning achievements at work. If your employees have a particular passion or hobby, or are involved in a project that gives back to the local community, you can celebrate their achievements here too.
Focus on Personal Development
Employees who are already progressing are generally keen to get themselves to the next level. If you’re able to spot these individuals, and help them in their development journey, you will certainly make them feel recognised and valued.
Of course your business may not have the funding for top development courses or higher education. If this is the case, you can look into cheaper solutions, such as local mentorships and professional associations. Or perhaps ask a more experienced member of staff to take these individuals under their wing, mentoring them and helping them to grow.
Promote Self Care
Not everyone pays much attention to their work-life balance. And if someone is truly dedicated to their job, working long hours and giving it their all, their home life might suffer. In these situations, you have to remember that you’re a role model, and your employees could follow in your example if you’re a bit of a workaholic.
The solution is to not only talk about self care, but to practice it yourself too. Create a culture that reflects the right priorities, from finding a healthy work-life balance to supporting your team members.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the most important thing when it comes to acknowledging your employees is to show them that you care about them. Make sure that your team knows that you’re invested in their wellbeing, and that you want them to succeed. Even when giving negative feedback, you can find a way to make your employees feel valued.
Once you start implementing the ideas above, you may see quick results - your company culture is bound to improve, and your staff should be happier. Your leadership style may even be affected for the better!