February 11, 2013
Valentine's Day: Make employees feel appreciated at work

Valentine's Day is not just for the romantically inclined. It is a time for business leaders and managers, as well as co-workers to recognize people for their kindness, support, and work the rest of the year.

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"Virtually no one feels over appreciated at work," said Mary C. Kelly, a business leadership keynote speaker. "This lack of appreciation is due to increased demands on managers, more regulations that require more compliance measures, and a project management system that rewards outcomes," said Kelly, a retired Navy commander who consults with companies and associations for leadership and management.

"Study after study shows that recognition for doing something well at work, not money, is the top motivator of employee performance," says Kelly, author of Master Your World: 10 Dog-Inspired Leadership Lessons to Improve Productivity, Profits and Communication. At Valentine’s Day, "while retailers are exhibiting all kinds of ideas to show appreciation for romantic relationships, chances are you spend more awake time with the people you work with than your sweetie."

Kelly offers these Valentine's Day office activities to make the workplace a little sweeter and show your workplace people some love:

  • Install a white board in a common area called the “gratitude board” or the “wall of thanks”. Encourage employees to write short notes to thank each other on the board. Take a picture of the board on Friday and print the picture for everyone who was mentioned that week. Start over each Monday. (This works well for shift workers too, when sometimes it is hard for people to connect.)
  • Scheduling a meeting during lunch? Provide lunch! Post a thank you note on someone's door, computer screen, or cubicle.
  • Say thank you. Sincerely, honestly, and for a specific action or behavior. Better yet, say thank you with a handwritten card.
Kelly says,

"There is no one singular action or activity that will motivate everyone, but sometimes just being thanked goes a long way.".

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