What Do Your Employees Think of Themselves?

Here on the AIM Careerlink blog, we talk quite a bit about the importance of employee recognition and how much it can boost employee satisfaction.

Giving credit where credit is due is an important part of distinguishing your best employees for all of the hard work they do. But believe or not, some of your employees might not actually think that they’re the best (or even that they’re good at all).

According to a recent article on Psyblog, a blog that “covers psychological studies that are relevant to everyday life,” psychologist and founder, Dr. Jeremy Dean, discusses what he calls the “worst-than-average effect”.

Opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the worst-than-average effect occurs when we assume that others posses the same skills we do when in fact, quite the opposite is true. In turn, we underestimate our ability at doing certain tasks compared to others, despite doing exceptionally well, if not better, at those tasks than most.

Apply this idea to the work environment, and, as TLNT contributor Derek Irvine points out, “It’s quite possible that your top performers are so good, they don’t realize just how good they are.”

In a work environment, this can lead you into some trouble. Not only does it lower employee satisfaction among those who are especially hard workers, it may lead others to believe that the exceptionally hard work these people put in to the company is just average—so why push themselves any more than they already do?

Another thing to consider is how you are going to retain your top talent if they don’t realize that what they do matters to the company. What we wouldn’t suggest is skirting the issue, which will definitely put you at risk of losing top talent if they think they can do better at another company.

Fortunately, it can be pretty easy to solve a problem like this. Simply put, make an effort to recognize your employees, especially the ones who are doing a stellar job. As a leader, you need to give your team support, and that means showing them how important they are to the company, and how what they do makes a huge impact.

While arrogance isn’t something we approve of, we do admire when employees are able to give themselves a nice pat on the back for all the hard work they’ve done. One way to ensure that they know why they’re so great is by recognizing them, so take a moment and let them know. A little positive reinforcement never hurt.

Giving Your Employees a Slice of the Decision-Making-Pie

We talk a lot on this blog about the importance of letting your employees know that they matter. One way to really let your employees know that they make a difference is by giving them what we’d like to call “a slice of the decision-making-pie.”

Simply put, when someone knows their contributions are directly influencing the decision making process, then they actually feel like they are making an impact on the company. In turn, they realize their importance, which will most likely boost their productivity and drive.

It’s important to get your employees involved in the decision-making process, and here’s why:

Employees have great insight into your company

You don’t need to be the CEO to have good insight into what’s going on within the company—in fact, employees might actually have a lot more to say about a certain area than you do as the big boss.

We don’t want to turn this into an “us against them” battle—because it isn’t—but it’s very important to recognize that when your employees are working hard on a specific task every day, they’re likely to have insights that you wouldn’t about that subject.

These insights are great assets to have, but many employers don’t take advantage of them because they aren’t confident enough in what their employees have to say. In that case, your employees are much more likely to hold back, keeping you out of the loop and slowing down what could be high productivity.

To make the most of your employees’ insights, start by letting your employees know that their contributions matter, and that what they have to say actually does influence the decision-making process. Employees are the backbone of the company, so it should go without saying that they matter—but if they don’t know that, then good luck getting some of that great first-hand knowledge they possess.

Giving employees a say creates a seamless work environment

The last thing you want in your office is some kind of “class warfare”. As TLNT contributor Tim Sackett points out, “to be truly power-less, sucks.” If an employee feels like their opinion doesn’t matter, then they will more than likely feel like their work doesn’t matter. In turn, their drive will crash and burn, which won’t do much to help you or your company.

To help combat this, do your best to level the playing field. As we mentioned above, letting your employees know that their contributions matter is an important part of making them feel appreciated. Don’t make them feel like they’re second-rate and that they’re just another cog in the machine, otherwise you might see some serious burnout.

Giving your employees a say in the decision-making process can do wonders for the company. You already know how much your employees matter—so why not show them?

Employee Recognition: Why You Should Praise Your Employees More Often

Many millenials were raised with the idea that self-esteem is the key to success. And with the rising number of Millenials making their way into the workforce, the idea of employee recognition is becoming a big trend in HR.

It might seem strange to some to thank their employees for doing something that is technically their job, but letting your employees know that they are valued can do a lot to help keep them happy. The benefits you gain can range from higher productivity, to better employee retention, to great employee branding.

So today, let’s talk a little bit about employee recognition, and a few things to consider when you are giving your employees praise.

  1. Employee recognition doesn’t have to affect budget costs
    You don’t need to set up some kind of program to praise your employees. In fact, setting up some automated recognition program will probably have the opposite effect you want it have. Letting your employees know that they are valued can be as simple as telling them “Thank you,” or “Great job on this project.”
  2. Employee recognition doesn’t always mean a raise or a bonus
    As we just mentioned, employee recognition doesn’t have to affect your budget. While a raise or bonus is great thing, it might not always be the right match, so make sure to assess when and where financial rewards are appropriate.
    Sometimes, employees just want to receive positive feedback. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t give out pay raises or bonuses (they’re both very important), but we are saying that recognition and thanks are very important to a positive work environment. A nice mix of both never hurts.

When giving employees recognition for their work, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be authentic. If you’re going to give your employees recognition, make sure that you mean it. Nothing is worse than coming off as insincere when telling your employee what a great job they are doing.
  • Be specific and in the moment. Randomly letting your employees know you appreciate their work is fine, but try to make sure they know specifically what it is you like about their work. Also, tell them as the work happens. No one wants to feel like an afterthought.
  • Make the praise appropriate. There is no need to praise an employee up and down like there is no tomorrow. If anything, you might look insincere. Make sure your recognition matches the effort and result.
  • Make it a team effort. The big boss shouldn’t be the only one giving out praise, and sometimes, it might not even be possible to recognize everyone. To keep employee efforts from falling through the cracks, give some of the responsibility to managers and team leaders if you aren’t already. This helps keep everything in context.

Although not all problems can be solved by a simple, “Thank you,” the simple act of recognizing your employees for their hard work can go a long ways towards helping your employees feel valued.

So if you aren’t already, get started on getting out and recognizing your employees. The benefits far outweigh the small amount of time it takes to recognize someone for their hard work–and really, there’s no reason not to always let people know when they do a great job.