Tis the season to be thankful. We all feel compelled to show our appreciation to our teams this time of the year. The people in our restoration and remediation firms are what make our companies great. Owners and managers want to express their gratitude for all the hard work of the year. It feels good to give and show appreciation and feels good to receive it. All the joy, happiness, and gestures of appreciation make for lots of smiles and cheer.

Let's walk through a scenario of the potential danger of an unhappy, uninspired, and/or underappreciated employee.

The Call & The Fall

Mrs. Homeowner called your company after the family’s finished basement got soaked from a frozen pipe that burst. She hangs up the phone with you and takes a deep calming breathe; she is panicked because 20 family members from out of town are coming tomorrow for dinner. 

Forty five minutes after the call, she looks out the window and sees your company vehicle has arrived as promise. She breathes another sigh of relief ... until she opens the door.

Instead of a smiling, friendly face, she is greeted by a burned out member of your team - Joe Miserable. This job has gone perfectly ... until now, as she is face-to-face with someone who feels underappreciated and is emitting a foul attitude.

Appreciation vs. Accountability

Although we can’t fix all bad attitudes with gestures of appreciation and thankfulness, it will help keep a spring in the step of your best and brightest.

In general, feeling appreciated just feels good and makes people happy. Putting effort into your team’s happiness and joy all year round is just good business.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand there are employees who just are generally crabby and have a bad attitude by nature. You may feel you've done your part to show your appreciation and boost their morale; but at some point, the onus is on the employee themselves to buck up. Be aware that employees who are constantly in a foul mood and complain can be toxic for your business and take otherwise thriving members of your team right into the gutter with them. Appreciate everyone ... but especially the employees who have earned it.

This is part of keeping employees accountable - and a topic we will cover again soon!

Happy Team, Happy Customers

Retention and the fact that happy team members make happy customers are just a few reasons to keep the appreciation flowing. This concept is best driven home in this short video 212 Degrees of Service by Simple Truths. This is a must-watch three minutes for every leader or aspiring leader.

Year-Round Appreciation

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about ways you can keep a steady flow of thankfulness and appreciation going in your organization: 

  1. Break Bread: This concept is as old as time. Eating together for bonding and celebrating is in fact a great way to show appreciation and get improved productivity. Have supervisors do the cooking and serve their direct reports or just take a time out and celebrate a job well done over lunch at your favorite restaurant. The power of Breaking Bread was proven by a study conducted by Cornell Professors.
  2. Catch your team doing something good: This is a general management principle that will help you show your team that you care. The 212 Degrees video reminds us, “Things that get rewarded and appreciated get done.” Taking the time to acknowledge and show appreciation for the things your team is doing well is a true win-win scenario. You are making them feel good and getting more of the same great work out of them in return.
  3. Review Sessions: Overall, performance reviews and intermediate feedback sessions are a great way to show appreciation. Taking the time to share feedback on someone's job performance is critical to making them feel valued. Share with them their strengths, opportunities area for development, and notable areas of improvement. Don’t wait for a year or two to pass before providing valuable feedback. Be specific and take the time to give examples in each category.    
  4. Recognition: Although I am not a fan of “Employee of the Month” and such, there are ways to publicly praise all year long: 
    1. Distribute and/or review customer feedback and recognize all involved in the job.
    2. Acknowledge and applaud educational achievements and career advancement.
  5. Know your team. This is a BIG one! What makes one member of your team happy may not work for another. The reality is that different things make different people feel appreciated. It is important to know and understand your team as individuals. Some may feel valued and appreciated with gestures, some it is quality time, some it is written or verbal praise, take the time to understand what makes your team tick.

Be thankful and show your appreciation all year long. At times, just like with family, we forget to show appreciation to those we appreciate the most. 

Have a wonderful holiday and a happy and prosperous New Year!