A Valentine for Your Staff

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What better day to talk about love? But…maybe not the kind of love you’re thinking of.

I mean, yes, by all means make sure you do something nice today for your significant other….flowers, candy, letting THEM choose the Netflix….

But what about your staff?

We’ve talked in the past about the practical benefits of loving your customers (and how to demonstrate that love)…but one of the best ways to ensure that you have happy customers is to have a happy staff.

Employees who are fully engaged in their work are an organization’s most valuable asset. Here are a few tips on how you can promote that connection through showing that you care. (And none of them require chocolate!)

A simple thank-you.  Too often we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we take for granted the essential contributions our staff members make to our overall success. But it is especially during those crunch times that a quick word of thanks or appreciation can mean so much.

Today’s work environment provides more ways than ever before to communicate with immediacy. So it should be easier than ever before to thank our support staff for jobs well done, right?

A quick call or text, a friendly email, and even a brief hallway exchange—a smile and a high five—can do wonders to boost morale and build loyalty. And why not keep a batch of $5 coffee cards handy, to sweeten the deal for someone who really shines? Letting them know that you noticed their hard work is the surest way to get more of the same.

Include them in the vision. It’s all too easy for team members to get lost in the intense focus of their own job duties and forget the bigger picture. It’s the job of leadership to bring that big picture into focus, frequently and effectively.

Don’t let a meeting or one-on-one go by without a reference to how things are going overall. Keep your staff in the loop, listen to their thoughts, and, most importantly, make sure a firm connection is made between their daily workflow and the organization’s goals.

And this is important regardless of whether the news is rosy or bleak. Sure, it’s way more fun to share good news, but even when things aren’t going well, inclusion can lead to important shared discussions and—perhaps more often than you’d expect—suggestions that may help.

Delegate and empower.  One of the greatest challenges we continue to see for managers revolves around delegation—how much, how often, and to whom. There’s no quick and easy solution to these answers, but if you’re the boss, the concept needs to be top of mind.

Every week when you check your schedule, ask yourself if some of the tasks you’ve assigned to yourself could be passed along to your top team members. You might be surprised how many of those vital activities fall into this category when you take time to think them through.

And this can be a huge step toward building employee engagement. It demonstrates trust and support, it’s a great employee development tool, and it reduces management’s workload, allowing you to focus more effectively on those big-picture ideas we mentioned earlier.

Those are just for starters—depending on your organizational culture, there may be many more such opportunities. Be sure and take a few minutes this Valentines Day—and all year-round—to show your staff you care.

(And, come to think of it, a little chocolate never hurts, either.)     

Grow Big or Go Home!