Motivating people on your workforce is important if you want to keep them enthusiastic about the work they do. It is a well-known fact that different people are motivated by different things – money, power, fame, increased responsibility and perks. But if there is one thing that is a universal motivator, it has to be genuine appreciation.
Appreciation as Motivator
If you think that money is the prime motivator for employees, consider this. The results of a recent study found that people put in more hard work and feel more passionate about their work when they receive feedback that their employer values the work they do. What this clearly indicates is that all of us have a need to feel appreciated for the meaning we give to the jobs we do – not just the occasional scintillating piece of good work, but even for the nitty-gritty of daily routine work.
How to Appreciate Employees?
Sam Walton – founder of Walmart – got it perfectly right when he said:
“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
For something that is so simple, inexpensive, and easy to deliver, it is certainly surprising to see how less and how few people use this motivational tool.
Here are a few tips to use when appreciating an employee
1. Time it right – let the person receive the appreciation as soon as you notice it. Wait for opportunities to find people doing things right, then immediately congratulate them on the good job. If you commend someone for an exhaustive and intelligent report he prepared after one month of it being submitted, it is not going to have much of an impact.
2. Give specific praise – words such as “good job,” “smart work,” and “brilliant job” are just that – empty words that make you sound like you are mouthing clichés rather than genuinely appreciating the work done. Tell the employee exactly what you are commending him for; hearing “Good job on having xyz problem fixed so quickly – I notice you stayed back late yesterday to get it done on time. Thank you for the commitment,” is so much more of a morale booster than just saying “Good job fixing that up in time.”
3. Show appreciation through action – gift your employees something that makes them happy. An afternoon off, gift vouchers for a movie with a spouse, paid-day off for birthdays, sponsoring a short-term hobby class, group lunch at a well-known restaurant on a working day – the possibilities are endless.
4. If there is one thing that increases the self-worth of a person more than appreciation, it is receiving this appreciation in public. Therefore, it is not enough to merely give positive feedback, it is also important to do this in a visible manner.