I read somewhere that a national survey shows 31% of American workers are “happy” with the amount of recognition they are getting at work.
This number is staggeringly low. There is a real opportunity here for leaders and managers to make up some ground here, AND a chance to make up with our teams!
Herb Kelleher believed that if you kept your employees happy, they would keep your customers happy, which would in turn, make your shareholders happy. It appears that Southwest Airlines is doing pretty well so I say his model works. So why is it that very few companies realize that this is the best way to go? Employee satisfaction is a term that seems to be overlooked. It is seen as an expensive, non-productive, waste of money. In fact, it is not necessarily expensive, non-productive, NOR waste of money.
Did you know that an employee wants to feel like they are doing a good job? Sure, some have flaws, but every employee has a strength. Why not capitalize on that strength and let them capitalize on it too? Take a little time to tell them when they do well. I have noticed that a 5-10 minute, positive conversation with an employee can boost their productivity by 10-15% almost immediately. In fact, I have also noticed that weaknesses get better at the same time because the employee puts more emphasis on their overall quality of work and work habits.
Sure, there are other things that employers can do to keep their employees happy which do cost money that can have a serious positive impact on productivity but these things are not really necessary. Reinforce positive traits and behaviors and you will be pleased with the results.
A pat on the back costs absolutely nothing. What have you got to lose?