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Why A Simple “Good Job” Isn’t Enough Anymore

Did you notice a low point in the level of employee engagement at your organization? No matter how hard you try to motivate them to do more work and do it better, you can’t seem to achieve that positive influence over them. Maybe it’s because you’re being overly generous with your praise, but you aren’t taking into consideration what really motivates each individual employee.

Be honest: are you trying to motivate them by saying “good job!” more than usual?

If you’re guilty of that mistake, it’s time to fix it. “Good job” isn’t good enough anymore! Yes; recognition of their strengths is more than important. However, it has to go deeper than that. The manager has to try much harder to make the working environment attractive and inspiring.

Before you achieve a fully engaged workforce in your organization, you must understand what that concept means. In essence, the employees are more physically and emotionally engaged when their workplace meets the following expectations:

  • Psychological safety: they want to feel valued and accepted within the community, and;
  • Psychological meaningfulness: they want to make a real difference with what they do.

To meet these two requirements, saying “good job” whenever they do a good job is simply not enough. Employee engagement is a demanding, multi-layered process that requires more effort on your part.

How to Really Engage Your Employees

Work on the Organization’s Culture
Psychological safety and psychological meaningfulness—remember those two factors once and for all. You can meet them solely by providing a beneficial organizational culture for your employees.

Millennials, who are currently the largest part of the workforce in the U.S., are not after money. Of course you’ll need to pay them a fair amount, but that won’t be enough to meet their need to feel satisfied with what they do. The values of this generation extend far beyond finances.

Most and foremost, they want to feel useful for society. They don’t want to waste their lives on earning money; they are after value. That’s why you have to develop a great culture, which will attract the best workers and keep them engaged.

When compared to your competitors, you’re no longer competing solely on the basis of benefits and salaries. Your brand must have core values that resonate with the lifestyle of your employees. The job should be a highly personal experience for them.

Help Employees Manage Their Time More Effectively
Your employees are spending most of their day at work. When they get home, they have time to rest and engage in brief activities, and then they prepare for the next day at work and go to sleep. If the job is causing too much stress, it means that their entire life is stressful. If that’s the case, they will blame their unhappiness on you, the leader, so you can’t expect them to be engaged.

Maggie Connor, HR leader at ResumesPlanet, feels a direct responsibility to help her employees use their time in the best way possible: “I offer instructions and full-on training related to time-management.” – she says. Plus, I let my team work in flexible hours, since the nature of the work allows that. If they get the job done sooner, they get more free time on their hands. That gives them much more personal space and job satisfaction.”

If you’re able to allow flexible working hours for your team, do it. However, make sure to stay in control over the workload and the progress of the tasks. If that’s not an option, the least you can do is allow your workers to leave sooner if they cover the daily tasks earlier than usual. They will try harder to be more efficient, and they will get more time for their families. You get more efficient work, and they get what they need most: less stress in their lives.

Show You Appreciate Them
The small gestures of the leader mean a lot to the employees. A simple birthday card sent to their home will make a huge difference. If you add a nice lipstick for the ladies or fancy shaving accessories for the men, you’ll make them even happier.

These types of gestures don’t require a huge investment and they don’t require much effort on your part. However, they make people happy to be working for you, and that’s the driving force of real employee engagement.

If you’re in a larger company, these little gestures of appreciation may not be practical—this is why you need an official employee recognition program in place. This allows all of your employees to have the opportunity to recognize their peers or to have managers publicly call out employees or teams for excellent work. In fact, a robust recognition platform can even automate service awards and major achievements that warrant monetary-based recognition.

Let Them Express Their Individuality
Your entire organization will reach a whole new level of engagement if you support each worker’s individuality. Remember: this is the age of individualism. Even though people like being part of a greater cause, they don’t want to be part of a herd. They want the leader to hear their voice and take their opinions into consideration.

Create a forward-thinking work environment that’s driven by ideas. Invite everyone to share their opinions, and learn how to deal with different points of view. When you keep an open mind, your employees will open up, too. They will try harder to make contributions to the organization’s growth.

You may still say “good job!” when you pass them in the hallway. That’s not a crime, especially when you mean it and you don’t say it too often. However, your employees need more than simple words of encouragement. They need real support and a culture that pushes them to grow.

WorkStride a fully-configurable software platform designed to recognize, engage, and reward your employees. Whether you’re thanking an employee for years of service, rewarding an innovative initiative, or simply handing out a thank you for the day’s hard work, you have the chance to make your employee experience a rewarding one.

About the Author

Eva Wislow is a career coach and HR expert from Pittsburgh. She is focusing on helping people break down their limits, find a dream job and achieve career success. Eva maintains a strong interest in bringing the digital revolution into human resources. She finds her inspiration in writing and peace of mind through yoga. Follow Eva on Twitter.