Sheila sat in her cubicle and stared at the computer screen. She knew she should be working, but there was nothing left in her motivation tank. Sheila had come to the realization that she needed to move on and find a different job. That realization made her sad. When she came to work for this organization, it seemed like such a fun place. People laughed, employees got the chance to take challenging assignments and try new things, and the leadership seemed to care. Recently though, all that had changed. Sheila discovered what many others in her position have. That her organization didn’t value her, and it was time to go.
Unfortunately, Sheila is not alone. This same story is being played out in companies across the country. It’s essential for organizations to realize that there is a strong connection between employee well-being and organizational performance. According to a survey published by the American Psychological Association (APA), there is a strong correlation between feeling valued and job performance. Employees who feel valued are more apt to feel motivated, satisfied, and therefore engaged in their work.
The APA survey went on to say that seventy five percent of Americans indicate that work is a significant source of their stress. Furthermore, half of those studied thought their performance of work suffered as a result of this stress, and many indicated that they intended to look for a different job within a year. Impressive numbers, in a bad way.
Companies, and more importantly managers, need to understand this connection between value and performance and work to remedy the situation. The funny thing is, it’s not that hard to do. Below are 3 things managers can do to make all employees feel more valued.
1. Provide challenging job assignments – Every job comes with a set of responsibilities that are in the category of “have to do”. These assignments end up in our bucket because we are good at doing them and the company needs the work done to reach an objective, or to simply function. These assignments are sometimes called “good soldier work”. Your job as a manager, is to continually look for assignments that will cause an employee to stretch out of their comfort zone and try something new and challenging. Often times this assignment will also be something they have expressed an interest in. This allows you to engage a new set of skills while feeding their passion at the same time.
2. Value their time – We all have a limited amount of capacity for work each day. Every minute wasted as a result of a manager’s poor planning deducts from that capacity. It’s like a gas tank with a small leak in it. Don’t hold meetings if there isn’t an agenda and a purpose. Stick to the agenda, be focused, and get people out on time. As long as we’re talking about meetings, let me add one more thing. Meetings over the lunch hour are worst thing an organization can attempt. The combination of anger from employees who have to give up their personal time and the distraction of rustling paper bags and lettuce crunching, render it useless. If you must do it because there is no other time, provide lunch, let people eat and socialize, and then when everyone is done, cover the topics that need to be covered.
3. Connect – Your primary role as a manager is to connect with the people who work with you. How well do you know your employees? Spend time getting to know them. What parts of their jobs do they like and dislike? Do they appreciate the spotlight or shy away from it? What drives them outside of work? This is the only way you will ever be successful at finding the right job assignments we talked about in the first item. Imagine having an employee who worked on a client project and was extremely proud of the work they did and was in the best position to make a presentation to the client the project was for, and you left them back in the office and made the presentation yourself. Simply because you didn’t know that interacting with and presenting to the client would be important to the employee. You only know these things if you spend time with your group and talk to them on a regular basis.
Each of the items listed above will help you maintain or enhance the self-esteem of the individuals in your work group. When you do this, employees feel more valued. Employees that feel more valued will perform better than employees that don’t. It seems like a pretty simple formula for making your company stronger, and in turn prevent employee turnover. And we all know turnover costs you money! We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and tell us what you are thinking.