I recently talked with a group of 40 advisors about how they implement the Gallup Organization’s 12 dimensions of “best places to work” in their offices. Advisors are modest and sometimes insecure about their people management skills. But they may underestimate themselves. Here are some of the group’s creative ideas for addressing Gallup’s fourth and fifth dimensions of great workplaces. (See my earlier blog posts for ideas on the first three dimensions.)
#4: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
One way best places to work set themselves apart is by providing feedback for a job well done. Among advisors, the attitude that “I shouldn’t have to acknowledge employees for doing what I pay them to do” exists, but it is not widely held. In the course of the hectic workday, however, it may be difficult to remember to pause and acknowledge employees.
Some of the advisors I spoke with have discovered simple ways to show staff they’re appreciated. For example:
- One advisor buys gift cards in bulk and keeps them on hand to give to staff members who go above and beyond.
- Another advisor involves clients in employee recognition. For example, if an employee has put together a paperwork package for a client, he asks the client if he/she would be willing to thank the employee on the way out of the office. (The advisor who shared this tip says that both his employees and clients love it.)
#5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
Life is short. Employees appreciate spending time in organizations that value them as employees and as individuals. While this may seem obvious, isn’t it a little sad that we get so wound up in our own lives that we sometimes forget to let others know that we care?
To establish a culture of caring, try these tips from advisors:
- One advisor gives every employee $24 in fake money at the beginning of the year. The employees then distribute the play money to each other (along with a handwritten note) as acknowledgment for good deeds. At the end of the year, everyone gets a check (real money) in exchange for the amount of fake money received throughout the year.
- Another advisor gives employees a day off for doing charity work. This shows that she cares for her employees as they care about others.
- An action as simple as starting each Monday by asking employees to share something positive that happened to them recently is a great way to stay in touch with their lives outside the office.
- Every so often, do something special for an employee. One advisor booked a massage during work hours for an employee with a bad neck, and another bought his assistant her own printer so she wouldn’t have to walk back and forth so much every day.
There are plenty of ways to show we care—if we simply remember to do so. These ideas make me confident that corporate America has a lot to learn from small business America.
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network