A Challenge for Leaders

"Despite the economic recession, more employees are looking for opportunities outside of their organization than in 2008, suggesting that 2011 will be a challenging year for retention (and a hot market for firms to attract top talent)."  Blessing White, 2011 Employee Engagement Report

What is happening? While salaries are an important component to work and life satisfaction, more often employees are disengaged from their companies because they feel disrespected and unappreciated. They are part of the 'disengaged workforce' - and it's costing companies billions of dollars. As talented as the team may be, discontent has an enormous effect on retention, profit, customer satisfaction, client relations, departmental success and the company as a whole.

"49% of employees said they would leave their current job for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts and contributions." Workforce Mood Tracker Survey

It is unrealistic to expect continuous enthusiasm, innovation, and the above-and-beyond attitude when people feel taken for granted, overworked and unappreciated. As in any relationship, consistently giving without positive feedback takes it toll. In the age of social media, employees have more options than ever before to be found by other companies who are willing to give what is lacking - and at the top of the list is appreciation.

Leaders are very busy people. Meetings, audits, interviewing, staffing, projects, events, budgets...the list goes on and on. As rewarding as it may be, leadership can be very exhausting. Great leaders recognize the fact that they could not do it alone. They acknowledge that their success is the direct result of the expertise of their teams; they know they are only as good as the team who supports their efforts. The question is, are they saying it? Are employees getting the message?

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."  ~G.B. Stern

Today, I challenge you to put into words your appreciation for those who make a difference in your organization. Your mission, should you accept it? Take a few seconds to simply say "thank you." Recognize their efforts by writing it on a Post-It, sending an email, stopping by their office to tell them in person how much they are appreciated. Do not delegate this responsibility - invest in your workforce by making it personal. Take the time to send a clear message to your team members - tell them how important their work is to you and to the organization.

Have an impact. Create the change. Say "Thank you."


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