HPMD Quotes & Sources
by Bob Nelson
ASSET APPRECIATION PRODUCES BEST RETURNS
Everyone likes to be appreciated. How many managers, however, consider "appreciating others" to be a major function of their job today? It should be. At a time in which employees are being asked to do more than ever before, to make suggestions for continuous improvement, to handle complex problems quickly, and to act independently in the best interests of the company, the resources and support for helping them is at an all time low. Budgets are tight; salaries are frozen.
In today's business environment what used to be common courtesies have been overcome by speed and technology. Managers tend to be too busy and too removed from their employees to notice when they have done exceptional work--and to thank them for it. Technology has replaced personal interaction with one's manager with constant interfacing with one's terminal. John Naisbitt predicted this would happen a decade ago in his book Megatrends. He said the more our work environments become highly technical, the greater the employee need would become to be more personal and human. He called the phenomena high-tech/ high-touch. And all this is happening at a time in which employees are looking to have greater meaning in their lives-- and especially in their jobs.
The irony of the situation is that what motivates people the most takes so relatively little to do--just a little time and thoughtfulness for starters. In a recent research study of 1500 employees conducted by Dr. Gerald Graham, personal congratulations by managers of employees who do a good job was ranked first from 67 potential incentives he evaluated. Second was a personal note for good performance written by the manager.
Even information can be rewarding. In last year's National Study of the Changing Workforce by the Families and Work Institute "open communication" was ranked as the most important reason employees reported for taking their current jobs. Everyone wants to know what's going on--especially as it affects them--and just telling them is motivating. How difficult is it to tell people information that could be useful in helping them to do a better job? Yet, again, how often do managers take the time to do it?
We know from 200 years of research that behavior is shaped by its consequences. If you recognize and reward behavior, it will tend to be repeated. If you ignore or punish behavior, it will tend to stop. In short, you get what you reward. Although this is common sense, it is far from common practice in business today.
Yet it needs to become common practice if your organization is to survive. The role of a manager has shifted from "command and control" to "coach and cheerlead." Today's managers need to establish a supportive environment in which people can be their best. They need to then help employees to reach their full potential in obtaining both their goals and those of the company. Recognition and rewards are one of the primary ways of making this transition possible.
As Larry Colin, president of Colin Service Systems, once said, "We realized that our largest asset was our work force and that our growth would come from asset appreciation." Make the extra effort to appreciate your employees, and they'll reciprocate in a thousand ways.
Copyright by Bob Nelson, vice president of Blanchard Training and Development Inc and author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees (Workman Publishing)--now in its 13th printing.
"The irony of the situation is that what motivates people the most takes so relatively little to do--just a little time and thoughtfulness for starters ... personal congratulations by managers of employees who do a good job was ranked first." --Bob Nelson
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