Star seekers – Moneypenny's Claire Smith on making staff feel valued

As I write this, we have just had the fabulous Geoff Ramm come to talk to us about ‘celebrity service’. An expert in marketing and customer service, Geoff got me thinking about two things.

The first is the importance of going the extra mile, and the second is how crucial it is to celebrate our ‘unsung heroes’. We all have them in our office. They are the people who quietly go about their job, wowing colleagues and clients every day (even when no one is watching). They are people who live and breathe your brand, and who consistently go the extra mile. More often than not, though, they’re also the people who miss out in the awards season simply because they don’t fit into any of the categories.

Of course that doesn’t mean they’re any less extraordinary or deserving of the recognition. So how can businesses recognise and reward their superstar employees? And how important is it?

We all know that happy staff translate into happy clients, and we know ourselves how great it feels to be told we’re doing a good job. And if we feel like we’re doing a good job, that means we’ll stay in that job longer. Research backs this up too. A survey by HR consulting firm O.C. Tanner, for example, looked at 1,000 employees in large businesses and found that seven out of 10 employees who received appreciation for good work were happy in their jobs. In contrast, only 39% of those who hadn’t received recognition said they were satisfied.

Moreover, the research found that recognition isn’t only of benefit to the person who directly receives it. Simply seeing great work being rewarded had a significant impact on peers, with the entire team feeling an increased sense of being cared for. Acknowledgement also fosters loyalty, meaning organisations are less likely to lose their best employees.

In our business, we’ve found that recognition is about consistently rewarding the everyday and telling our fantastic team how wonderful they are. One of the most useful tools in communicating this is our intranet, Workplace by Facebook. A quick look on any given day will reveal a whole host of posts that employees have written to shout about how wonderful a colleague is, or to share praise that one of our receptionists has had from a client. Instantaneous, easy to use and viewed by the entire company, it’s a fantastic way to recognise the team on a daily basis. We also have ‘wow’ cards, which we’re encouraged to give to co-workers along with a little gift when we think they’ve done something brilliant, and once every few months the team nominate colleagues for our internal awards, the Fellows.

The method of acknowledgement isn’t important though – what works for one company culture may not be a good fit for another – what is important is the fact that staff feel valued and appreciated, and not just once a year.

So ask yourself the following questions: who are your unsung heroes and how can you make them feel valued? Your employees are your most valuable resource – so let them know.

This column appears in LPM October 2018 – Make the cuts. Read the full issue here.

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