As we embrace the season of giving of gifts to family, friends, colleagues and more, one common denominator ties all recipients together.

Regardless of the tangible gift (ugly sweaters and the like notwithstanding) the recipient is aware you have made the effort for them and hence they Feel Valued. And that sense of feeling valued stays with the person long after the novelty or usefulness of the gift has passed by.

Many organizations use this time of year to show appreciation to and among co-workers. It may be gifts to/from the boss, office parties, secret santa type activities, exchanging cards, recognition awards, communication from leadership to say thanks for all the work during the year and so on...

All of these activities can help foster a sense of Feeling Valued among the workforce and this is very important. Why….?

man-santa-hat-giving-woman-gift-in-office-300wA study by the American Psychological Association (APA) a couple of years ago found

  • A whopping 93% of employees who feel valued at work said they are motivated to do their best
  • Only 33% of those who do not feel valued say they are motivated

When people feel valued their own sense of self-esteem receives a huge boost and as we keep reiterating High Self-Esteem is the Fuel for Performance.

Furthermore, half of those surveyed by APA who did not feel valued, said they would be actively seeking a job change.

With January 1 just around the corner, many who do not feel valued may make it a big part of their new year's resolutions to find a job where they will feel valued.

So what can we do?

Well, the most critical element in play here is to ensure that whatever you do appeals to the individual recipient. If we dig into the (supposedly) simple act of recognition for a job well done we can see how individual differences can affect how we should approach this.

While we all want to be appreciated, some employees may like a public show of gratitude at a company meeting or event, yet others may prefer a more personal (and private) touch. Some may love the idea of a gift card to a local restaurant whereas someone else would much rather hear “hey why don’t you take the afternoon off and go be with your family”.

As highlighted in our “Bending the 'Golden Rule' to Improve Working Relationships” article, each of us is unique, none of us comes with a handbook and we are all driven by different motivational factors.  We need to be cognizant of others’ needs and (more importantly) stay away from what they don’t like or may make them feel uncomfortable.

By simply taking a little time to determine what motivates someone and makes them tick, you can make them feel extremely valued with even the smallest gestures.  And when staff feel valued in the workplace it also breeds a culture of reciprocity, engagement and teamwork.  

Finally, don't forget this is a gift we can all give to each other 365 days a year...

So go ahead and make someone feel good today, tomorrow and beyond.