It’s sad but true. For decades, perhaps since the dawn of time, companies have put more days, months, and years of effort and money into developing profits and keeping expenses in line, than developing employees – their most valuable asset.
That said, while we all realize the necessity of keeping businesses flourishing, profits flowing in – in general, it requires skilled employees to accomplish this. Yet why is it companies seem compelled to believe it’s necessary to nearly demoralize employees to accomplish their goals? Keeping them under their thumb, scared and ‘in line, borderline emasculating them while continuing to erode their sense of self along with their ability to perform effectively.
You’ll slowly see profits weakening, expenses escalating, when solid employees – top movers and shakers – dessert you. I’m not referring to the usual resignations; that’s a natural part of doing business. I’m referring to failing to treat your employees well – respecting and appreciating them.
Bottom line – companies fail to value employees.
Alfie Kohn, educator and best-selling author, known for his books and teachings on human behavior, motivation, and parenting, tells us in his book’ Punishment by Reward’, “This is the method of “Carrot and Stick” used by our parents to train children, by the teachers to educate the students and by our leaders to manage their employees.” And it’s highly likely why companies automatically use this method today; basically, it’s what they know, what they’ve grown up with, and what they believe works. See Kohn’s YT video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ge9qo1A0pw
Yet Kohn will tell you rewards and punishments are just two sides of the same coin — and the coin doesn’t buy very much. They are simply two ways of controlling people. Kohn’s factors to build intrinsic motivation – “Collaboration requires the members of the group or classroom rally around the true concept of working together for the success of the group. …. The task, job, or learning experience covers a fulfilling and rewarding role. (this might be called Meaningfulness)…. People must be afforded the maximum amount of choice in what and how they perform their tasks or work. This facilitates buy-in and participation”.
Those employees who feel valued are usually happier and more productive; plus less likely to job search – looking for better opportunities. There are a variety of ways in which a company can show its employees how much they value them. Including providing benefits they want such as time off, regular salary increases, solid medical benefits to name a few. However, psychologists tell us that aside from physical benefits there are a variety of other simple actions a company can take to show an employee they are valued. Here are 7:
1) The first is listening, providing feedback, and following up on that feedback. While simple actions show employees that you do appreciate them. Plus, when consistently performed these actions can help develop a strong company culture.
2) Your attention to feedback and following up also helps build trust. When employees know and understand you value their ideas, opinions, and input it’s easier for them to trust in leadership and helps build their confidence in a company, its decisions, and mission.
3) When you take time to get to know employees – periodically chat with them – for example, to ask how they’re feeling, is there anything they need or which you can do for them; how are their families – you are also showing how valued they are.
4) Encourage them to contribute creatively. Creativity also increases motivation, the desire to accomplish more, to engage more, and to encourage others.
5) Regularly solicit their opinion. Everyone appreciates it when the boss asks for their opinion and will work harder. So don’t be stingy.
6) Keep them in the loop. Nothing is worse for an employee than knowing something serious is happing but not having a clue, unable to focus and get their job done because they’re overwhelmed by stress. Developing a high level of transparency helps employees feel confident and trusted – a valued part of the company. Whereas secrets and lack of transparency do the opposite.
7) Say thank you. Everyone likes to hear a sincere thank you now and then. It helps them know their work is appreciated. Plus those two simple words also show respect. Not only that, often the more positive people feel about their work environment, the better their output.
Says Alfie Kohn –
People will typically be more enthusiastic where they feel a sense of belonging and see themselves as part of a community than they will in a workplace in which each person is left to his own devices.