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Tag Archives: employee recognition

3 Valuable Lessons Dolphins can Teach You About Teamwork

 Lessons in teamwork from dolphins

Most of us think of dolphins as playful and cute. They’re also very smart.

In fact, Dolphins can teach us quite a few lessons about teamwork, leadership, and life that can help us grow as leaders—and as members of a team.

Continue reading

Feeling undervalued at work?

Last week I blogged about one idea of what to do when you feel undervalued at work, and specifically by your boss.  It was to spread the word about your good work yourself.  I had promised though that I wanted to share one more idea on this topic.

First, reflective

This strategy is at first reflective.  Ask yourself: What do I need to feel valued?  Keep in mind that the answer to this question will differ greatly from person to person because different people are motivated by different things.  Would you like more flexibility – in your work responsibilities, in your working hours, in where you work?  Is it recognition you need – you just want others to acknowledge that you are making a significant contribution?  If this is it, then do you thrive on public acknowledgement or private appreciation?  Are you seeking more autonomy and decision-making authority?  Or perhaps you’d just like more support or assistance, either on a temporary or permanent basis?  Could it be that getting a bigger expense account or more vacation time would translate to you feeling less undervalued?

Next, active

While your first step is reflective, your next step is active.  Once you know what it is that will stop you from feeling undervalued, only then can you do something to actually get it.  Continue reading

Feeling underappreciated by the boss?

“It’s a good thing I am self-motivated,” said a good friend in a client organization.  “Because if I was looking for appreciation or validation from my boss, I’d be waiting an eternity.”  Sadly, this sentiment is not unique.  Employee survey research repeatedly shows that a significant segment of the workforce feels underappreciated at work.  Which is deeply ironic.  Because employee motivation research also unequivocally shows that employees who are appreciated for their contributions and recognized for their achievements are vastly more satisfied, engaged, motivated and productive than those who are not.

So what should you do?

So what should you do if you feel underappreciated by your immediate supervisor?  Learn to suck it up and live with it?  Well, no.  Just because the boss doesn’t appreciate you doesn’t mean there isn’t value in making sure that your worth is recognized beyond just your immediate department.  If your boss isn’t spreading the word about your good work, then it’s time to toot your own horn.  And yes, if done correctly, it won’t come across as arrogant or conceited or boastful. Continue reading

Praising employees who are in their 40s and 50s – is it necessary?

KarlMooreI often blog about the value of praising employees (one such post is Frequent and liberal employee recognition and praise creates positive workplaces). So when Dr. Karl Moore, associate professor at the Destautels Faculty of Management at McGill University (and my fellow columnist at The Globe & Mail) recently wrote a piece on this topic, it captured my attention. Why do people in their 40s and 50s receive less praise? published in the Leadership Lab a couple of weeks ago, and in it, Dr. Moore makes four key points. Continue reading

Giving credit fairly in a collaborative work environment

One thing I hear often from both leaders and employees is how de-motivating it can be when credit (for an innovative idea, a successful project outcome, or just a job well done) is not given fairly. Invariably, as more and more work is done collaboratively in organizations, it’s hard to assign credit to a single individual; yet so many organizations still have systems that acknowledge and reward individual effort and success. I am often asked how to overcome this apparent contradiction – is giving credit in a collaborative work environment possible without causing friction and tension? The short answer is “yes”. While certainly not easy, here is one proven idea: tie individual recognition to group performance. When you link how you recognize an individual’s performance to how well his/her team overall has done, you are less likely to cause conflict within the team over unfair credit, and more likely to promote teamwork and collaboration towards better results. I have seen this work first-hand repeatedly in client organizations, but to prove my point, let me give you a much more publicly-known example. Continue reading

Frequent and liberal employee recognition and praise creates positive workplaces

I have always maintained that frequent and liberal employee recognition and praise is fundamental to creating positive workplaces.  In their 2004 book How Full is Your Bucket?, authors Tom Rath and Don Clifton explain the theory of the dipper and the bucket:

pail_scoopEach of us has an invisible bucket.  It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us.  When our bucket is full, we feel great.  When it’s empty, we feel awful.  Each of us also has an invisible dipper.  When we use that dipper to fill other people’s buckets – by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions – we also fill our own bucket.  But when we use that dipper to dip from others’ buckets – by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions – we diminish ourselves. 

So we face a choice every moment of every day: we can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them.  It’s an important choice – one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health and happiness.

Simply by virtue of their position, leaders hold extraordinary power to fill or dip the invisible buckets of their staff.  Continue reading

Getting the greatest return on investment (ROI) from your people

CGA0708-2013CoverThe ultimate wisdom of business decisions is determined by whether you get a positive return on your investment (ROI).  And decisions about spending on employees are no different, they should be made on the same criteria.  There is one significant distinction though — when it comes to making investments in people, the ROI is not always readily evident, nor it is easily quantifiable.  And for this reason of measurement ambiguity, many leaders fall into the trap of thinking that this kind of spending is not viable.  Not so!  When you make thoughtful and wise investments in your people – beyond just the basic salaries and benefits – then you will get a return on that investment – in the form of engaged employees who are committed to your organization and who will go above and beyond to make your company thrive and succeed.  In my latest column in CGA Magazine, I explore the four areas of “people spending” that will give you the greatest return on your investment. Continue reading

Would you change how you interacted with your employees if they were volunteers?

There are hundreds of not-for-profit organizations that are successfully run with small armies of volunteers. It certainly isn’t the money that is keeping them engaged, committed and involved. So what is? If you ask them, here’s what they’ll tell you. They feel that they are significant, that they matter. They feel like they are appreciated and recognized. They feel like they are supported in what they do. They feel like they are empowered to take action.

What if your employees were volunteers? Would that change how you interacted with them? If you want the kind of engagement and commitment that not-for-profit organizations get from their employees, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about them as if they were volunteers.

What are you doing (or what can you do) to create a workplace where your employees feel significant, appreciated, supported, and empowered? Let’s get the conversation going!

The piss-off factor. More stupid actions by short-sighted managers

Just a little over a month ago, I blogged about the piss-off factor – how short-sighted and small-minded managers do stupid things to discourage and turn off their employees.  Apparently it struck a chord with many of you because not only did a few of you comment right here on the blog, but I also received emails and phone calls from several of you on this subject.  Unfortunately, it turns out that the piss-off factor is alive and well in many organizations!

Just yesterday I got an update from the person who gave me the original story.  Same dork management team, still doing stupid things.  This time they held a “fun” afternoon event at a local eatery, ostensibly to thank employees for a job well done.  All the employees in the division were invited.  But the division also has a group of regular contract staff – people who are employed by an external contract firm but work nevertheless side-by-side on a daily basis with the regular employees in this area – and these staff were deliberately excluded.  Because they were not employees.  There is also a small group of IT professionals who are from another area of the company, but who support these regular employees on a daily and consistent basis.  They were also not invited.  The reason: once you start inviting people who are not employees of the department, where do you draw the line?  “It’s a slippery slope, and we can’t go there; far better to just limit it to the regular employees.  Otherwise, costs will just spiral out of control,” said one of the managers.

Seriously??  If you’re celebrating accomplishments, then doesn’t it make sense to invite all the people who had a hand in making success happen?  At the end of the day, it’s a small gesture in the big scheme of things – chances are that most of the “other” staff would just drop by briefly to have a quick drink and say hello – but it’s a gesture that goes a long way.  Perhaps more importantly, excluding these contract and IT staff from the event is a huge de-motivator.  If you want to make people work as if they are part of your team, then make them feel like they are part of your team!

What do you think?  Is it a “slippery slope” as one manager called it?  Or can I chalk this up to yet another (sigh!) example of the piss-off factor in action?

Say thank you to your admin professional this week (and always)

If you’re in a position of leadership, then you know that it takes effort and support from others to get things accomplished.  And very often, the unsung heroes in our workplaces are administrative professionals, small, oft-silent armies of people, working behind the scenes to make things happen.  In years past, we called them secretaries, some are referred to as executive assistants, still others are labelled support staff.  Whatever the name, these are the people who keep all the moving parts oiled and the systems and procedures humming.  Since today kicks off Administrative Professionals Week, the question of the day is:

Have you thanked your administrative professionals lately?

Besides the verbal thanks, you may also want to consider something a little bit more special for this week (or perhaps save it for Wednesday which is Administrative Professionals Day).  Believe it or not, food or flowers is not the first choice.  According to a member survey conducted by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), an overwhelming majority of support employees much prefer opportunities for learning and growth.  Consider tuition reimbursement and/or a flexible schedule to work towards a degree.  Or paid membership and the option to participate in professional organizations.  If you must buy a “gift”, think about business-related items such as personalized business cards, desktop nameplates, computer hardware and software upgrades, or ergonomically correct accessories.

What are you doing to celebrate Administrative Professionals Week?  Please tell us by adding a Comment below!

P.S. Did you know that there are more than:

  • More than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants and an additional 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles in the United States
  • More than 475,000 administrative professionals are employed in Canada
  • Millions more administrative professionals working in offices all over the world

[Source: IAAP]