Those of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies may remember Rosie the Robot on the Jetson’s cartoon series. Or Star Trek, with its magical ability to transport people through space and time, and make food appear out of thin air. Back then, the idea of instant access, talking face-to-face via a TV-like screen, and having a robot do your work seemed like an out-of-this-world impossibility.
Today, most of these are daily occurrences.
We talk with people all over the world at the drop of a hat. Our refrigerator orders food that appears “out of thin air,” delivered by drones. And our appliances do our work, much like Rosie, but without the attitude.
We have come a long way in a few decades.
Or have we?
This automation comes as a two-sided sword. While it may bring convenience and time savings, it also pulls us more and more into a virtual world, where, if we’re not careful, we can lose touch with the reality of people and relationships.
This phenomena is evident in the business world as well.
According to Ranstad research, technology is having an impact in the workplace, with “over half feeling technology makes them feel less connected” and “more than 90% believing that a face-to-face meeting is the best way to interact with someone.”
To leaders, this can present a challenge, unless you realize that, at the core, the needs of people really have not changed. The mechanisms have changed, but the underlying needs are the same. Perhaps the generational gap is not quite as wide as we might think. This is why, when asked how to lead millennials, I say, “You lead them like you lead everyone else.”
The 11 Essential Needs of Employees apply just as much today as they have for centuries.
Despite increased autonomy, humans still have need for feeling valued. Feeling valued comes from having self-respect and being recognized for your contribution to society.
This is why people hang plaques and certificates on the wall, and why they will carry a tattered handwritten thank you note for years…or even decades. Sincere appreciation and recognition are not only “nice to have’s”…they are essential needs.
Leaders, let that register in your mind for a moment.
Your people NEED you to appreciate them and recognize their efforts.
When was the last time you registered more than a cursory “thank you” for a job well done? Do you want to create a team that is loyal to your cause and works well together? You can do this by simply meeting those 11 essential needs of employees, one of which is sincere appreciation for a job well done.
Here are some ways you can provide recognition:
Write a handwritten thank you note.
Be specific in recognizing the individual’s value to your team. What did they do, and what impact did it have? What is different about them that makes them a special part of the team, and what unique gifts and perspectives do they bring to the workplace?
Tell them thank you, and be specific.
This not only underscores what you appreciate, it also reinforces great behavior.
Tell someone else.
Sometimes, the best compliments are indirect ones. “Mr. Smith talked about you in our Executive Team meeting this morning. He said your work on the ABC project was extraordinarily organized, creating efficiencies that saved considerably on the overall project cost.”
This approach has dual effect – it makes the employee feel valued; and it raises the estimation of their value to other leaders as well.
Find a way to reward deeds well done in the workplace.
Employee of the month programs, special amenities, team lunches to honor those who have done well on a project…these things go a long way toward meeting an employee’s need for feeling valued. With these, be sure to look for and reward each person on an individual basis so as not to cause division. These are especially effective for group efforts, as it sends the message that working together well creates rewards for the entire team.
Give each person an opportunity to shine.
As we’ve talked about before, “set your people up for success.” And then, recognize them for their efforts. Your accomplishments as a leader are gratifying; but seeing your team members accomplish great things under your leadership is legacy. And it doesn’t get any better than that.
It is really not so hard after all, is it? Help your people succeed, and then thank them for it.
Take a look around at your team today. Who NEEDS a thank you? Who NEEDS a little recognition for a job well done?
Looking for a leadership development program you can use with your team? Check out the Boss or Leader: Lead and Learn Kit. It is affordable, effective, and provides high impact. Be a leader who makes a difference! Click here for details.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.