This is a guest post by my good buddies Linda and Robin over at THE POWER OF NICE.
Managers, when was the last time you asked yourself, “Am I doing enough to show my employees how much I appreciate them?”
If you’re unsure, chances are your office could probably benefit from a little gratitude. A November 2009 Careerbuilder.com survey revealed that 40 percent of employees have difficulty staying motivated at work, while 23 percent describe their office morale as “low.” What was the reason? As you might have suspected, it was a simple one. They felt unappreciated by their employers.
Contrary to what you might think, however, it doesn’t take a whopping pay raise or a slew of promotions to make employees feel valued. Studies have shown repeatedly that it’s the small, interpersonal gestures that have the biggest payoff.
A 2010 McKinsey study found that the best workplace motivators appeal directly to the emotions, with 67 percent listing praise or recognition from an immediate manager as “effective” or “extremely effective.” What’s more, respondents found all emotionally based motivators to be more effective than financial ones.
While we certainly can’t argue with the value of congratulating an employee on a job well done, we have another novel trick that we’ve found rather effective: chocolate. Yes, when you “sweeten the deal” quite literally, you’ll find that your employees will actually experience a bit of an emotional boost. It’s not just because of the sweet taste, either. Chocolate contains over 300 different chemicals, including caffeine, theobromine, and phenylethylamine, which stimulate the neurotransmitters in the brain linked to concentration and mood. In other words, a few handfuls of M&M’s could have employees feeling better and working smarter. (Quite a big accomplishment for a little chocolate candy!)
No matter what your approach, demonstrating your gratitude toward your employees and recognizing their accomplishments regularly is a SMALL but highly effective way to transform your office culture and rev up productivity—and as a result, kick your business into high gear.
And that’s something everyone can appreciate.
Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval are the co-authors of the bestselling books, THE POWER OF NICE: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness and THE POWER OF SMALL: Why Little Things Make All the Difference. To connect with them, follow them on Twitter, “like” them on Facebook, or check out their blog.