Thank your employees this Christmas

It's important to remember to recognise the achievements of your staff this Christmas.

By Ian Ash

I have heard many people say that this last lockdown has been the worst for them and with all of us in Melbourne well and truly over these, looking forward to spending time with loved ones at Christmas is something we will all be cherishing.

As we head into the last few working weeks of this year, this is the perfect opportunity to take stock of our businesses and reflect on those that have helped us get through.

As you think about this, you will realise that there are likely to be a number of people that helped you over the course of the year: customers, suppliers, partners, your family and of course your staff.

Christmas is a great time to acknowledge those that have helped but of course it should not be the only time that this is done. For a business, the most important people to thank are your staff since as

Richard Branson says: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”.

Makes sense doesn’t it? So what’s the best way to do this? Well, the good news is that you do not need to spend a huge amount of money.

If you look at surveys on what matters most to people about a job, money usually comes in at number three.

Yes, of course it is important, but there are usually two other items that trump this: ‘recognition’ or ‘achievement’ is usually number two and ‘doing something worthwhile’ is usually the number one reason people come to work.

However, if you think about it, these top reasons are almost inextricably linked: a key way to know you are doing something worthwhile is to receive feedback that underpins the value of what you bring.

Christmas provides a great opportunity to provide due recognition which may or may not be accompanied by something tangible at this time of year, but of course if it is not the only time to recognise staff contribution.

There are likely to be many opportunities to do this during the year when an individual or team may go the extra mile to ensure that a job is completed well. When providing recognition under such situations, there are two key aspects to making sure that this is done properly:

1. Make sure that the recognition is done in a timely manner. Referring back to something that was done weeks ago runs the risk of looking like an after-thought.

2. The recognition must be specific.

The last item is particularly important since simply stating “good job” or “nice work” without stating what you specifically appreciated about the contribution runs the risk of coming across as hollow.

So thinking about what it is you specifically appreciated (extra effort, innovative solution, special teamwork, major contribution etc) that made this particularly noteworthy and ensuring that the receiving party knows why you appreciated this so much.

Stephen R. Covey (author of ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’) describes recognition as one of the deposits into an “emotional bank account” and the more deposits that are made, the more trust builds between parties. However, it is important to remember that these deposits must be sincere since although it is good to do this regularly, emotional deposits are much more a function of quality than of volume.

Thank you for reading!

Ian Ash is the managing director for OrgMent Business Solutions.