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Friday, June 6, 2008

What Makes You Feel Special?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what makes people feel appreciated. Of course, we want our valuable employees to feel like thier work is being recognized and I’ve been to countless seminars on ways to recognize and reward employees. But, I’ve been wondering what really makes the difference. Is it the dollar amount of the gift you give, how personalized the gift is or the fuss you make over the person?

It may be any or all of those things, but more than that, I think it’s your time. When someone else takes time out of their busy schedule to really stop and listen, go out for a meal, go for a walk, etc. When they turn off the TV, put down the newspaper and put their attention on you, it makes you feel recognized and appreciated. Think about how you would feel if your significant other got flowers for you after a fight and when you got home failed to rise from their recliner and take their eyes off the 6:00 news and just pointed to your flowers and said, “there they are.” You'd probably be sadder about the situation than if you hadn't been recognized at all.

I think that sometimes this is the way praise is handed out in the workplace. The employee is given their gift card, plaque, movie tickets, etc. and everyone goes about their business. Your time means much more to an employee than the gift. If you pair the “gift” component with spending some quality time with the person - what an impact! And even better than that, add in recognizing an anniversary on the actual anniversary date (rather than the following week). Make a fuss about it in the morning versus having it feel like an afterthought at the end of the day and then go to lunch! Get out of the office and spend some one-on-one time listening to that employee’s aspirations.

What makes you feel special?

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