When I participate in leadership forums, it’s not uncommon to hear similar questions float to the top of the discussion: How can I motivate my employees? What tips do you have to encourage and show my team I appreciate them? What’s the best way to tell employees how much I value them and their contribution any day of the year?
As a people manager I can relate to these questions. I have days when I struggle to find the best ways to recognize and engage my team. I’m just at a loss for words! And it’s especially true for me during a long work week or when I’m juggling a dozen different priorities. But that can’t get in my way, because a simple thank you or pause to take the time to step back to appreciate their great work goes a long way to having a happy and motivated team.
The answer to these tough questions boils down to one simple notion: engaged employees are motivated, less likely to quit, and tend to be culture drivers. So how do you, as a manager, cultivate engaged employees?
A simple employee engagement strategy that you can start implementing today is to acknowledge employees for a job well done. The most important thing about acknowledging employees is to effectively communicate it with the individual, as well as the larger organization.
This can sometimes be a daunting task, so we’ve created five Mad Lib-esque templates below to get you started!
Mad Lib #1: Motivate Your Employees
From holding a friendly sales competition to taking the team out for drinks after completing a big project, there are many ways to motivate employees, including reinforcing good traits when you want your employees to repeat these same behaviors. Here’s a motivating mad lib:
“Since you [good trait], I wanted to give you the opportunity to [leadership activity]. I see you really want to make a difference here and want to give you a chance to grow.”
Example: “Since you have come in early every day this month, I wanted to give you the opportunity to lead our team meeting. I see you really want to make a difference here and want to give you a chance to grow.”
Mad Lib #2: Encourage the Team
As a leader, it’s not only your responsibility to motivate the individual employee who reports to you, but also the entire team. Encouraging team building by working together to reach a shared goal is great, but it’s also important to tell your team you believe in them and value their expertise. Here’s a way to talk to the team:
“In order to meet the [external goal], we all need to work together to [how to achieve this goal]. If we can [success metric] through [expertise X, Y, and Z], we’ll be able to [reward]. Let’s do this!”
Example: “In order to meet the objectives set by the client, we all need to work together to create a strategy that we can implement. If we can increase website conversions through social media, SEO, and landing pages, we’ll be able to renew the client contract and go out to dinner to celebrate. Let’s do this!”
Mad Lib #3: Show Appreciation
Appreciating your employees is extremely important when it comes to creating an engaged company culture. Perks like free bagels or recognizing employees with rewards are great ways to show appreciation, but how can you tell someone you appreciate them? Try this mad lib:
“That [project/task] you just completed was [compliment]. You were [trait] and [why that trait is important]. Great job!”
Example: “That sales call you just completed was phenomenal. You were really prepared and knew the right questions to answer in order to close the deal. Great job!”
Mad Lib #4: Share Feedback
No one only wants to hear feedback when they’ve dropped the ball; people also want to be acknowledged for a job well done. Add positive reinforcement to your feedback cycle by incorporating it into your 1-on-1’s or during performance reviews. Take this mad lib out for a spin:
“The way you manage [task] is [characteristic] and shows your [leadership quality].”
“Example: The way you manage the restaurant staff during happy hour is really positive and energetic and shows your ability lead successful team.”
Mad Lib #5: Recognize Achievements
Whether it’s closing the most deals in a month or making the most tips on your busiest night, employees who perform a job better than expected deserve to be recognized. When people feel appreciated and recognized for going above and beyond, they typically continue to work hard. Here’s a mad lib to try:
“The leadership team noted your [achievement] and I wanted to make sure you knew it didn’t go unnoticed. We’re really proud of your work here.”
Example: “The leadership team noted the record high number of resolved customer support tickets last month and I wanted to make sure you knew it didn’t go unnoticed. We’re really proud of your work here.”
Whether you use these mad libs verbatim or as a starting point, communication is key when it comes to showing a genuine interest in your engaged employees. From recognition in a company-wide email to thanking your team privately, we’ll leave it up to you on when and how you show your gratitude!
This post is part of a special blog series on ‘How Employee Engagements Drive Business Performance’ in support of ProService’s Growth Series event which took place on March 27, 2018. Offered exclusively to ProService clients and special guests, the Growth Series are interactive learning experiences that feature industry-leading speakers and networking opportunities that will inspire and provide tools for business leaders to take their organizations to the next level.