Years ago when Facebook caught on with middle-aged people like myself, it became clear to me that people deeply wanted to express their stories, feel seen, and be heard. I think that is true for employees in the workplace as well. Do I want to be paid a fair salary? Yes. Do I want to feel like my manager really sees what I provide to the company, appreciates it, and trusts me just as much? Yes.
I manage a small team. Or as a friend once said, “I look after them.” I always liked that phrasing because that is exactly true. I do look after them. Below are the top 10 ways I try to make my team feel appreciated:
- Make yourself available: If a team member asks to speak with me outside of our regularly scheduled catch up, I drop what I’m doing to make time for them. To me, nothing is more important than letting each member know that they are important to me and the company.
- Coach them on the areas they can improve upon: I let my team know that theirsuccess is my success and a success for the company. I am there to help each team member achieve their goals and get better. Be specific, keep it to the facts, and be fair.
- Have their backs: A former co-worker once told me that she always boosted up her team to the president in meetings and then later went back and communicated to her team what needed to be corrected. I have never forgotten that. I take responsibility for any shortcomings and begin coaching my team up.
- Take a personal interest in their lives: I have tried to get to know each person that reports to me as a person. I once listened in on webinar where the speaker said that if employees like their managers, there is nothing that they won’t do for them, and I believe that. They know that I’m not asking anything of them that I wouldn’t do myself. We are all in this together.
- Treats! As a former teacher, I love celebrating holidays and special occasions. My team gets flowers, candy, extra time away from the office, homemade sweets, a personal note, etc. It costs me very little time or money and I think it makes them feel special, and in turn, that makes me proud.
- Be flexible with time: I try to accommodate their requests for time off. We are a small team but if they need to leave early, take lunch at an unusual time, or go to a dentist appointment that they remembered at the last minute, I try to make it happen. No one likes to ask their manager if they can do something outside of the norm. If you always do your best to accommodate, on the off times when you can’t, they will know that you’ve done what you can.
- Listen: Sometimes employees just need to vent, blow of some steam, cry, or have a meltdown to get their emotions out. Sometimes you just have to listen.
- Ask them what they need from you and ask for their ideas: What do they need from me to be successful? Do I need to run interference on something, move a task to someone else’s plate temporarily, or be a sounding board? Not everyone feels comfortable giving their opinions freely, so I make a point to see if someone from my team has a fresh set of eyes on something or a new perspective.
- Let them manage a project that they enjoy: Our social media campaigns are important, but they were never something that I enjoyed doing on a daily basis. It was more of an after-thought for me after getting everything else on my plate finished. My millennial team member really enjoys creating content and making our postings look nice so I moved that over to her. Win, win.
- Trust them: Assign a project, check in with them on their core responsibilities, be a sounding board, but in the end, let your direct reports know that you trust them to get the job done.
There’s a saying that employees don’t leave companies–they leave managers. It is 100% easier keeping a good employee happy than searching to refill a position, identifying the new employee, and training them to get them up to speed. It just is. I firmly believe that if you pay employees a fair salary, see, hear, and trust them, that you will have the beginnings of a satisfied and engaged team of professionals.
Writte by: Karen Truesdale
Karen is celebrating her 13th anniversary with Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing this week. Away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her pets and her husband Matthew who is her LinkedIn editor.