Do you work hard? Are you the type that never takes vacation? Please don’t do that. Is your Blackberry always on even by your bedside? It’s not too late to get a life. I know many people like that. They work hard and often produce great results. I certainly hope their management appreciates them. I was talking with a friend recently who is this type. As I thought about all the people who work so hard for companies, I wondered about how you could get people who don’t work as hard to work harder and to keep those hard workers working. I’ve got some ideas.
Cheap motivation. What’s the worst thing managers can do when someone works hard and produces results? Nothing. Yup. The worst thing they can do is if they never acknowledge the work. It’s too bad that this sometimes happens. I have heard managers say things like, “Employees get their recognition in their pay checks.” That’s crazy– even in this economy.
These are the same bozos who have salespeople who work for them who do a great job. Then what do the managers/owners do? They decide that the salespeople are making too much money so they change the commission structure so the salesperson makes less money. Don’t these managers realize that when the salesperson makes more money it means that they do, too? I could never understand that foolishness. As my dad always said, “Bulls and bears make money. Pigs make nothing.”
What’s even sadder is that it costs nothing to make an acknowledgement special. I talked to someone recently who met with a senior vice president to review her work. He told her, “Your work is really exceptional. I wanted you to know that you have several fans of your work from other departments, too.You’re doing great.” This women was on Cloud 9 for days. How much did that acknowledgement cost the company? Nothing. Do you think she’s motivated to continue to work hard? You bet.
Go low tech. Over twenty years ago, I got a letter that was hand written from a senior manager at the major oil company where I worked. He thanked me for my work on a project. I still have that letter. I’ll probably never throw it away and I don’t even work for that company anymore. Writing a handwritten thank you note is such a special touch especially when email is so common today.
If you’re a manager, please don’t make this mandatory. I know of a few companies who make hand written notes mandatory. It taints the process. If you got a thank you note, wouldn’t you wonder if the note was genuine or if the writer had to reach his note quota? I would.
People are different. Then there are the people who just love public recognition. I never cared for the public displays of plaque awards. I just wanted to be paid equally for my work. I may be in the minority. You’ve probably seen many people who plaster their walls with the plaques they receive. I’m sure it’s important to them. If you know that the people you work with just love the public recognition, give it to them. Just be careful.
I saw one public ceremony to give recognition plaques that was atrocious. Here’s what happened. The ceremony was at an annual meeting. The hotel ballroom was filled with hundreds of people. This was a great opportunity for winners to feel special in front of so many people. Instead of announcing each winner and having the winner come to the stage to receive the award, management called the names of the winners. Then they were told to pick up their plaque from the table at the back of the room after the meeting. Jaws dropped. Can you imagine the recognition value management lost at that meeting?
Just as good manners make the world a nicer place, recognition and appreciation make work a nicer place to be. So who have you thanked lately?