Mike Fromowitz
May 18, 2012

People thrive when they feel appreciated.

Kudos to you, if you do everything you can to keep your creative people (and other employees) happy. It’s a fact that happy employees contribute more to a companies bottom line than those who fall ...

People thrive when they feel appreciated.

Kudos to you, if you do everything you can to keep your creative people (and other employees) happy. It’s a fact that happy employees contribute more to a companies bottom line than those who fall into the disgruntled employee category.

In survey after survey, the reasons why people feel bonded to their ad agencies comes back to how well they feel appreciated. Surprising as it may seem, salaries do not make it to the top of the priority list for many employees.

When it comes to an agency’s key performers, the employer needs to acknowledge, encourage and, when the timing is right,  offer up some incentives, if they want to keep them around. Think of the times you’re most productive. Are you feeling happy or disengaged? Studies show that happy employees bring greater resiliency and profitability to a business. Feeling recognized and appreciated for your efforts is fundamental to their workplace happiness.

Sometimes it’s as small as buying them a glass of beer or glass of wine to say thanks for having gone the extra mile, or just to say thanks at the end of a busy day. Everybody likes a little recognition.

Sorry to say it, but these days, with all the cost cutting going on, and everyone expected to do more in less time for less money, it’s getting far far too easy to forget the little guy who is working his or her butt off to keep the client happy, so your business can succeed.

What can you do to make your staff happy and make them stick around longer?  Here are a few simple ideas that you can implement today to appreciate your people. These have always worked for me. Challenge yourself to think about it daily and turn recognition into a habit.  When you create a culture of recognition and appreciation, your people will feel more engaged and motivated to help you succeed.  Nurture your people,  be thoughtful, creative and sincere, and you will be amazed at the results.

Whether the employee is one of your stars or one of the ‘little’ guys, recognize the hard work they are doing if you want the employee to feel appreciated. Never let a well done job go unnoticed. When you acknowledge successful work, it will make the employee want to work harder in order to earn that praise again.

At times, some companies do not have opportunities for advancement. The best way around this is to reward the employee for their diligence and commitment. This can be done through incremental raises in wage. Even a small raise is enough to send the message to an employee that you appreciate their hard work.

What also works well is when you invest in your employees by being friendly and interested in them, and getting to know them. Show them that you are interested in what they do beyond the 4-walls of the job. Ask how their kids or spouse are or how their weekend was.  You don't have to become best friends,  but having a general understanding of who they makes an employee feel as though the manager is interested in them as a person. Knowing people’s names and personalizing the work environment inspires employees to want to help you. When you do these little things,  you’ll find the employee contributing more, and happy to do so.

Everybody likes feedback on their progress and successes too. Once in a while, it may be important to give them some constructive criticism. Call it a learning curve, but it’s far far better than total silence from a manager. Positive feedback makes for better employees with better work habits.

I also like sending handwritten notes (forget emailing). This is one I learned from David Ogilvy.  Keep a collection of cards on hand or some really nice handcrafted writing paper, and write a note to thank people when they do something you appreciate. A thoughtful, handwritten message can be powerful.  The note does not have to be polished. In fact, it’s best when it’s real and speaks from your heart.

Managers should always end a meeting with some verbal recognition. Make it a habit of appreciating them for something they’ve done recently. It’s a great opportunity to communicate your values. And a wonderful way to end a meeting on a high note.

One of the most important things you can do for your company is to encourage staff to recognize one another. Recognition should not always be from the top down. Encourage your staff to recognize and appreciate one another. This builds stronger teams.

I may be wrong in my assumptions, but these days,  I think managers are finding it so much easier to communicate with their computers, that they are becoming less and less “human”. I don’t hear as many people saying, “Please” and “Thank You” as I use to.  So simple a gesture, yet so often overlooked,  “Please” and “Thank You” are the basic social signals that make up the fabric of a company’s culture and, even more so, it speaks volumes of you—your communicating respect and appreciation.

There's an old saying: "People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never, ever, forget how you made them feel."

What does your company do to keep it’s staff around?

Better yet, what do you do to encourage your people and to make your staff contribute more?

Mike Fromowitz

OCTANE

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