You’ve stayed late at work to finish an important task in time for a major deadline. You’ve been working long hours all week to make sure the work is completed properly, alongside your “day job”. As the last action is completed, you feel the most amazing sense of relief and achievement. You’ve done it. Against all the odds, you have succeeded. 
 
You walk over to your manager’s desk to share the happy news. And your manager says...nothing. 
Or perhaps you get an “Mmm, OK” or “It’s taken you long enough” or even an “About time too!” Maybe the manager doesn’t even look up. 
 
How do you feel now? And more importantly, what will you do next time there is a need to work extra hours? 
 
There’s a view amongst many managers that thanking staff for extra effort or achievement is somehow unnecessary. That pay is sufficient recognition for anything that happens in the workplace, and that praise, feedback, or even a simple “thanks” may make a manager appear weak or beholden to their staff. 
 
The reality is that staff won’t stay long in an organisation where they feel undervalued and unappreciated. And if they do stay, perhaps because there aren’t many other jobs available elsewhere, they are unlikely to put in any additional “discretionary” effort if they don’t perceive it is appreciated. Their view of the manager isn’t likely to be very positive either. 
 
A study by the ILM found that: 
 
“When asked to identify one thing that would motivate them to do more, nearly a third (31%) of employees identified better treatment from their employer, more praise and a greater sense of being valued. However, while the majority of managers (69%) stated that they are ‘always giving feedback’ to their staff, just 23% of employees agree that this is the case.” 
 
(Beyond the bonus: driving employee performance. Institute of Leadership and Management, 2013) 
 
The ILM findings shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Hawthorne Studies in the 1920s showed that people work harder when their managers notice them and give them attention. Praise and thanks show an employee they are valued and appreciated. They make it more likely that an employee will repeat a behaviour in the future. 
 
And the great news for your business is – they are free! 
 
So even if you think you already praise and thank people enough – it’s always worth checking whether they perceive this to be the case. All it takes is a little extra effort from the manager. 
 
“Thanks for staying late. I know you’ve put in a lot of hours this week to get this finished, and I really appreciate it”. 
 
 
 
And thank you to the very lovely participants on #Shireshour (8-9pm Tuesdays on Twitter) for inspiring this post today! 
 
If you'd like to discuss how to improve performance in your organisation, give me a call on 0790 2903086. 
Tagged as: Managing People
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