“Have I told you that I love you lately?”
he opening line of the Van Morrison classic rang in my ears while I was on the treadmill last week.
The song wasn’t part of the up-tempo collection I chose to accompany me this morning, but Spotify obviously thought I needed to hear it.
Perhaps the app was right, because long after I skipped the track in favor of fitness-friendly beats, the poignant words lingered.
Van Morrison poses an important question that each of us should consider. In all of our relationships. In every facet of our lives.
But since this column is in the business section, I better focus on the workplace. And I’d better narrow my focus, too, before you feel emboldened to proclaim your love to a co-worker.
What I am talking about is the importance of communication. You won’t be surprised, after all this column is called “The Communicator”. It’s what I’m talking about.
But there is some new research published in the latest Harvard Business Review an opportunity to renew your vows of communication.
Philosopher and poet David Whyte writes that relationships rise and fall largely through the influence of our conversations. But here there is a difference. It’s not just about what we say, it’s also about what we don’t say. Both count.
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, authors of Harvard Business Review report that despite mountains of data showing employee recognition improves “every measure of morale, productivity, performance, customer satisfaction and employee retention,” many managers still fail to provide it on a regular basis — if at all.
For example, a survey they conducted at a US-based healthcare company found that nearly 30 percent of employees said they had not received any recognition throughout the calendar year.
Do you recognize others?
Does that sound familiar to you? Do you work in a radio silence zone? If you are an employee, how often are you recognized by a manager or supervisor? On the other hand, if you are in a leadership role, do you value highlighting the accomplishments of your team members?
It is important that you do this. According to the study, employees who are recognized report more than 40 percent higher engagement than their non-recognized colleagues.
But one of the problems, the researchers say, is a common misconception about what it means to be recognized.
Do you understand what recognition is?
Hiring a marching band, ordering cake, or throwing confetti is not necessary to recognize another person’s accomplishment or accomplishment.
The researchers say it’s this misconception that recognition requires fanfare, which has led to managers, as well as some employees, resisting the idea of giving or receiving it.
Once it was understood that “recognition” can be synonymous with the more easily understood term “appreciation,” the researchers found that both managers and employees were much more enthusiastic about the concept.
Do you know how to give effective recognition?
After presenting their new research on why recognition is needed but potentially misunderstood, the authors of the HBR Article some tips to help you improve your appreciation skills.
They break their tips into two main categories: what to appreciate and how to convey your appreciation.
I’ll share some of their recommendations to ensure you value a co-worker, colleague, or team member in the most effective way.
First, be specific. Not in general. When someone has done a good job, don’t just say, ‘You did a good job.’
Describe in detail the action, event, or intervention you experienced and the direct and positive impact you think it had on the team, project, department, or even the organization as a whole.
In short, aim to associate a specific action with a specific outcome.
Next, let’s look at the variety of ways you can convey your appreciation message.
Yes, there is the hoop-di-doo method. Mention the employee’s name in the next internal newsletter or produce a video in their honor. Present them with a plaque at the next All Hands meeting.
But while you may recall that many people feel embarrassed when they are in the spotlight, you can take a more subtle, and possibly more sincere, approach.
Have a face-to-face one-to-one conversation and express yourself in meaningful and caring ways. Send an email with specific details, or better yet, write a handwritten note or send a real letter.
As the authors of the article remind, cards are still a very effective form of communication.
Another thing to keep in mind is to act quickly. If you’re considering complimenting someone’s work, do it. Do not wait. The authors emphasize that the sooner the recognition is given, the higher the perceived value.
“When you increase the frequency of recognition,” the researchers encourage, “you have more opportunities to practice and improve this skill [notably] It also makes it more comfortable for the recipient, who becomes more and more accustomed to hearing your appreciation.”
As the researchers conclude, it’s important to let your team members know what they need to hear. Not just what you want to say.
So, set a goal to say you love, um… increase in value your employees more.
Write to Gina c/o SundayBusiness@independent.ie
https://www.independent.ie/business/in-the-workplace/is-it-time-for-bosses-everywhere-to-start-spreading-the-love-among-their-employees-41995651.html Is it time bosses everywhere started spreading love among their employees?