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Take Time to Appreciate Team Members, or Take Time to Replace Them

looking at phone"Appreciation can make a day – even change a life." – Margaret Cousins

When was the last time you complimented, praised, or encouraged each member of your team? If you can’t remember, then you might need to make a change.

A recent Harvard Business Review article reviewing studies on the power of praise stated that "nearly 90% of people believe that they should complement each other more often. And yet, we tend not to give them in practice. Only 50% of people in one experiment who wrote down a compliment for a friend sent the compliment along when given a chance, even though they'd already done the hardest part — coming up with something nice and thoughtful to say. That is, despite the widely shared desire to give more compliments, when faced with the decision, people still often forgo low-cost opportunities to make others feel appreciated and valued."

Most people are guided by two rules or beliefs - certainty and significance. Certainty refers to the feeling of being in control of a situation, our emotions, or our day. Significance is where we look towards being appreciated for our efforts - we want to feel that our work is valued and worthwhile.

Gone are the days where we can think, “I give my team members the opportunity for a paycheck, and they should be happy.” Many companies can give your employee a paycheck. Why should they work for you? Those that go beyond a paycheck get to retain that employee.

In a recent meeting with my manager, Anna Deahl, we discussed the different appraisal channels available to managers, and how important it is to recognize our team members for their efforts. Even if they know we appreciate them, we must take the time to show it. Appreciation is like the cup holder in your car; you don't miss it until you buy a car that doesn't have one.

After the meeting, I ordered postcards and wrote a personalized message for each team member. For those going through a few challenges, I provided some words of encouragement; for those that helped out with testing an application for the call center, I wrote words of appreciation; for those struggling to meet their agent standards, I wrote encouragement that also provided a little push

I also utilized Briljent's Bravo program, and nominated five of my team members. With the program, we have the opportunity to nominate a team member, provide a story about their success, and select a positive title or attribute to bestow upon them. Choices included:

  • Never, Never, Never Give Up
  • Learning Leaders
  • Deal With It
  • Impeccable Integrity
  • To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required
  • Purposely Positive

We are all busy, but it pays to make the effort to ensure our team members feel connected and valued. I look at it this way; you can either choose to increase your budget for retaining your employees, or for replacing them. It's usually cheaper to maintain talent versus replacement.