As managers how often do we take the time to tell our employees they have done a great job? Many CEO’s believe that a pay cheque is the only thanks an employee should expect. A colleague once shared a story about a former blue chip employer responding to a request during a staff meeting in a similar way. During the meeting an employee respectfully acknowledged that it was important to be corrected when a mistake was made but it would also be helpful to occasionally hear from a superior about a job well done. The managing partner tersely responded “your salary is your thanks”. Within a year the staff moved on because they quickly determined that the same attitude was being applied to the firm’s clients.
In my experience high morale usually translates into higher productivity. When an employee is emotionally connected to their work a firm’s clients or product is the beneficiary.
Recently, on the occasion of Parmac’s 20th anniversary I wrote a personal letter to each employee highlighting their unique strengths and contribution to our organization. The management team met with each employee individually presented the letter and their performance based salary increase. The result was unexpected: for the first time we have been able to push employees beyond their comfort zone. By expressing our appreciation we had inadvertently built trust. Our staff recognizes that collectively we all fix things; they have become active contributors to building a culture of excellence. Corporate love letters work!