Spread some Warmth with your Words

What if your words could actually make a difference between a person staying or leaving?

I recently celebrated a birthday and was delighted by the generous, kind words written in the cards by my friends. “I really should have birthdays more often” I declared!! A friend of mine observed that people rarely say those sorts of things in person, a bit like the people who tell you how wonderful you are when you leave your job!

Now there’s a reflection point for communication – are there things we could be telling our colleagues / staff / volunteers to make them feel more appreciated? Are there things we could say that might make a difference to how they perceive themselves and their job? Are there acknowledgements that are being saved up for the retirement party – or worse, for when that person moves to another (more appreciative?) company?

My friend said that when he left his last job there were things said, which, had he known they had felt that way about his work, might have induced him to stay. Job satisfaction is as much about being valued verbally as being paid what you're worth. In fact, I’ve even met people who know they are being underpaid but stay because they feel so appreciated. (I’m not advocating compliments as a cost-saving device…)

As a means of retaining your staff and surrounding yourself by people who actually want to be there, a few well-placed acknowledgements go a long way.

  1. Acknowledge difficulties or challenges individuals may be experiencing
  2. Compliment initiatives and creativity
  3. Always acknowledge completed tasks, emails, cups of tea – any small thing done for you with thanks (I know – primary school, right? But you’d be surprised how many people forget…)
  4. Make speeches at special occasions acknowledging achievements and make it clear how much you value that person or team.
  5. Compliment appearance – don't let this become your “fall back” and the only one you use. Noticing someone’s new hairstyle or a nice item of clothing can make a person feel like they are not just a cog in the office wheel.

Take a moment to reflect on what things you have said to your colleagues during the year – perhaps there are opportunities coming up at office parties to spread some warmth at the workplace! Raise a glass to your staff! Don’t wait for their leaving party…

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