What is the number one motivator for employees?

If you answered with “appreciation,” you’d be correct.

Bonus question: What is the number two motivator for employees?

If you answered “training opportunities,” you have aced the quiz!

Ok…ok…I won’t get in to the details behind the answer to the second question (shameless plug by a learning professional on the importance of training…lol), but I do, however, want to focus on the answer to the first.

“Appreciation” is a very basic word…but it is also one that holds a lot of power behind it.  In fact, studies have shown that words of appreciation (“thank you,” “great job,” “you are a lifesaver”) are directly correlated to employee job satisfaction and happiness.

In fact, roughly 70% of employees in the workforce today said that they are more motivated when leadership expresses appreciation and gratitude for the time and effort they put in to the job.

It’s not rocket science.

If you want things done and done well, showing a little gratitude will get you there much sooner than negativity will.

And you want to know what the best part of it all is? Words of appreciation and gratitude are 100% free of charge.

Yes, you heard that correctly; being aware of the contributions of your team costs zero dollars….but can make a huge difference on the bottom line.

What’s more?

Appreciation is easy!

The only prerequisite is for the person to be genuine in the process.

So what are some of the things I could do to show more appreciation and create a more positive working culture?

For starters….try involving your team members in the decision-making processes (where feasible). Not only does this create buy-in, it also helps them take ownership of their roles and the work that you do as a unit. When someone feels a personal connection to a project, that is a powerful thing.

Next, make it a point to recognize the talent the people on your team bring to the table. Whether that means treating a “star player” to lunch…or buying lunch for the entire team after a milestone accomplishment, it matters that folks know they are being recognized for their efforts.

Finally, I would ask you one final important question: How well do you know your team?

Make it a point to get to know their interests, what they enjoy about their jobs, what they maybe don’t particularly like, hobbies, birthdays….whatever you decide (both legally and ethically, of course). We are all individuals first, correct? So if I am not willing to get a better understanding of “who” the individual is (outside of what I know about their performance), how can I expect to know if I am utilizing their skills sets properly.

Employees need to know that they aren’t seen as “just a number”.

They are people that have personal motivators and reasons for doing the things that they do.

And with that being said, I’d like to say, “Thank You” for reading.

Shawn Muller, Manager of Learning & Development