Spread the Love in the Workplace

Spread the Love in the Workplace
Image credit: daniel zimmel | Flickr
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For some, the month of February has become synonymous with love. But Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time of the year that managers should focus on sharing appreciation in the workplace.

Employees who consistently feel valued and appreciated by their employers are far more likely to put in significant effort on the company's behalf. A 2012 survey of more than 1,700 adults by the American Psychological Association found, according to its release, "Employees who feel valued are more likely to report better physical and mental health, as well as higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation, compared to those who do not feel valued by their employers."

So how can employers spread the love in the workplace while maintaining their authority? Here are a few simple things managers can do so their employees feel love and appreciation year-round:

Related: 7 Ways to Say I Love You

1. Create a welcoming environment for new hires.

You have probably felt new job jitters -- and it's not a fun experience. In an effort to make new hires feel welcome and appreciated from Day 1, create an onboarding process designed to inform and engage them.

Ask current employees their opinions about the onboarding process. Be open to suggestions for improvements to create a smooth transition for new hires.

Give new hires a personal tour. Introduce them to people they will work with on a daily basis, as well as those they will encounter only on occasion. Ease the "new kid" jitters by casually introducing the fresh recruits to others and familiarizing them with the office layout.

2. Publicly recognize achievements.

A verbal thank-you is always appreciated. But being publicly recognized for achievements can be even more meaningful. To show employees they’re appreciated, don’t hesitate to celebrate their accomplishments and milestones before the entire staff.

Public recognition could take the form of an employee-of-the-month award or a potluck meal that marks a staffer's years of service. Whatever the case, don’t downplay employees' hard work.

Not only does publicly recognizing individual achievements make employees feel appreciated and valued; it can also help boost team morale, I believe. Of course, employers should never seem to play favorites. Actively look for opportunities to reward all members of your team.  

3. Take an interest in the employee as a person.

While work-related interactions should come first, employers should try to get to know employees on a more personal basis. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting together for an all-night pub crawl or being overly involved in relationship dramas. There are plenty of more appropriate ways for employers to express an interest in employees; personal lives.

For starters, know their names and their significant others' and children's names. This can make a world of difference to employees.

Take things a step further and occasionally ask employees what they did over the weekend or how their families are doing.

Spending the time to talk to people about their lives outside work shows a genuine interest in them as individuals and sends a message that they’re more than just hired hands.  

Related: Do Employees Even Notice You Care?

4. Set aside time for employees.

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and forget to check in with your people. Regularly spending time with employees could make them feel valued and respected. So taking even a few minutes out of your day to catch up with staffers can be beneficial.  

Employees might find it hard to feel the love from a boss or manager who’s rarely spotted outside a closed door. Let staffers know that your office door is always open. Better yet, show them. 

Go the extra mile by orchestrating team-building exercises or having a one-on-one lunch with an employee. Time is valuable and sharing it with employees can go a long way.

5. Remember, little things matter.

Simply giving employees a pat on the back for a job well done can make them feel appreciated as well as encourage them to continue doing what they do well.

Spend time to help employees with their work issues. They’ll appreciate your willingness to give a helping hand. Taking their side in client-related matters says a lot to employees. These things don’t require a lot of time or effort but clearly demonstrate an employer's sincere appreciation for staff.