Does your company have a "values operating system"?

I interviewed a key leader in a client organization recently.

She was tired. Her six-member team has been running shorthanded over the past year. They have three open positions. “Everyone is running hard. The workload just doesn’t let up,” she told me.

“We don’t get any recognition for the extra work everyone is doing,” she said. “We feel like cogs in a wheel. No one is paying any attention to us.”

This leader and team are experiencing the negative impact of the improving job market. People are confident that they can get a better job quickly so are leaving their current, probably uninspiring roles by the thousands. The most recent US Department of Labor data shows that there were over 5 million separations in March 2017. The number of those that were voluntary separations (people quitting)? 3.1 million.

This leader and team are also experiencing a lack of appreciation for their efforts, which is all too common. TinyPulse’s 2014 engagement and culture report found that only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work.

Why do leaders ignore genuine contributions by teams and players? It may be that these leaders believe that effusive praise and encouragement is fluff. These leaders think, “I’m paying them fair wages. I don’t need to thank them every minute, do I?”

Or it may be these leaders simply don’t think about praise and encouragement, at all. They didn’t get it from their bosses so they don’t think it’s important today.

Or, it may be that these leaders are spread thin themselves. They know that they’re not providing positive, validating feedback to their employees but don’t know what to do about it.

Effective leaders express genuine appreciation and validation of efforts daily. That investment builds employee engagement and well-being, which, in turn, inspires employees to apply their skills in service to team goals and customers.

Employees are not cogs in a wheel. They are the face of your company and the foundation of your organization’s products and services. Treat them well, daily.

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