Encouraging Your Team: What Your Employees Need to Hear

Employees cheer on their coworker after he is recognized for doing a good job at work

With trends like quiet quitting continuing to be prevalent, it’s now more crucial than ever for your employees to feel seen and valued. 

According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, more employees leave the workplace due to a lack of recognition than a lack of pay. On the other hand, the Quantum Workplace found that when employees receive recognition, they are more likely to be highly engaged in their work.

It starts with speaking up.

We often think of recognition as a once-a-month announcement at a meeting or in a company email, an award or an “employee of the month” nomination. While those are great starting places, recognition doesn’t always have to be so formal or scheduled.

Many times, a simple “thank you” or word of encouragement can go a long way in helping your team feel seen and appreciated. And often, the best time to do so is in the moment, when you see your employees working hard and supporting your organization. But what are some things you can regularly say to encourage your team?

Tell them their work matters. 

According to a study by Yello, Gen Z employees want their work to be meaningful and rank their responsibilities higher in importance than any other generation. No matter their age, your employees need to hear that what they’re doing has value. 

Oftentimes, we may see the difference our employees are making on a larger scale, but they may feel they aren’t contributing to the team or organization. Be intentional about recognizing the impact your employees have made. Then, take time to tell them how their efforts are meaningful to you, your team and your business. 

Recognize what they’re doing well.

In any business, there are often frequent opportunities to discuss what went wrong or what is going poorly. Projects don’t go according to plan, conflicts arise or there are changes in staffing. However, it can be easy to forget to appreciate your employees when things are going well.

Make it a regular practice to recognize your team’s strengths. Be on the lookout for times when they do well on a project or offer good insights in a meeting. Then, take time to stop and tell them what you appreciate, admire or value. Your employees may have a hard time seeing their strengths and need to be reminded of them, so be sure to use your position to encourage and support your team when the opportunity arises.

Thank them for their work.

Sometimes, we may forget to thank our teams for their efforts. We may feel like their work is simply “part of their job” and think gratitude is unnecessary. However, research has shown that employees who feel unappreciated are more likely to become unengaged and even quit their jobs in hopes of going somewhere they feel more valued.

It’s critical that you take time to recognize your employees’ hard work. Whether it’s on a project, in a challenging situation or even in their normal responsibilities, be intentional about recognizing their efforts and thanking them for all that they do. Showing your team that you see them and value their contributions will help them feel like the work they do has meaning and isn’t taken for granted.

Remember to listen. 

Regularly offering encouragement and acknowledging your team’s strengths and efforts is a great way to help your employees feel seen and valued. However, it’s equally as important that you take time to listen.

Invite your team to share their feedback and voice any insights or concerns they may have. Then, set aside time to meet with your employees one on one and make yourself available to listen. When they share their feedback, be sure to value their insights, take their concerns seriously and do what you can to make changes. Doing so will create an environment where your team feels valued and appreciated, allowing them to operate at their best and feel valued in your organization for years to come.