By guest author Luis Martinez
Looking at my work and life experience from both sides of the desk–as an employee, manager and even company owner I often wondered, what was out of balance when things weren’t going right? You know the feeling. When you do the work, give it your all, are fairly compensated and the end result still doesn’t taste good? What’s up? What’s missing?
Appreciation. That’s what’s missing.
Think about it. Why do you sometimes feel empty after having done a great job chasing down a problem for a customer? What is that kick-in-the-stomach feeling when the boss seems oblivious to great results from your efforts, and instead picks on some trifling detail? If you are a manager or business owner, why do you shrug and shake your head when an employee leaves your business after training them and teaching them a new craft for months, or years?
Appreciation would have made all the difference.
Appreciation isn’t always about financial compensation. Despite being well paid you are bound to have days when you feel, well…unappreciated. Attempts to measure appreciation are personal: we each recognize an exquisite balance between tangible compensation (salary, bonus, benefits, insurance plans, company car, window office, etc.) and intangibles (a smile, a letter of gratitude, a congratulatory email, a pat on the back, a warm referral, etc.).
When either tangible or intangible compensation is out of proportion to the other, we know it. At the extremes, we won’t stay in a company where we are paid appropriately but the management or the culture is unappreciative or in some cases, downright toxic. We all have examples. I once quit a company that was the top in its industry. The work was interesting and could even be described as prestigious. Sadly, the mental abuse nullified my handsome salary. So no, money is not enough.
On the other end, if you work for a company that is cash strapped, and the owner and management is well behaved, friendly, accessible, approachable and appreciative but misses payroll from time to time, well, you have only so much patience for them. Appreciation is good but you still need to pay your bills.
Appreciation is necessary on both sides of the desk. The manager/owner wants to see smiles and supportive gestures from employees who recognize the opportunity presented to them. The employee or contracted worker wants managers to express gratitude for a job well done, a customer appreciating a problem resolved, and recognition from peers.
Let’s challenge ourselves to be the change we want to see. Reach out to someone right now at this very moment and let them know how much you appreciate them. Better yet, incorporate appreciation into your company culture. Consider infusing your internal communication with:
- thank you letters,
- recognition in newsletters, and
- personal emails.
Establishing a company culture of appreciation will send a positive message to potential hires and keep you and your organization well-balanced and mentally satisfied. In case you’re wondering there are bottom-line benefits here. Customers aren’t the only ones who spread word-of-mouth. You and your staff use word-of-mouth to communicate your organization’s credibility. All things being equal who wouldn’t prefer to do business with the organization with a reputation for appreciation. So try it. You’ll like it. And if you do please let me know…I’ll certainly appreciate that you did.