Last week, I was motivated to begin sharing employees’ perspective on issues that they want managers to be more understanding of. In many cases, managers do not have a true impression of challenges employees face. We sometimes think that employees overemphasize their problems, that they are lethargic and lack initiative.
Often as managers, we attempt to fix problems only when they begin to affect the bottom line and although most of the problems were created by company cultures shaped by us, we try to fix them from the bottom up. As a result, problems are never really fixed because we are either unwilling to change or inconsistent with implementing the changes we propose.
Employees’ voices are being muted by fear of retribution and limited options. There are things they want us as managers to know but lack the confidence to speak their truth. They want us to stop seeing them as a number or another cog in a big wheel. They want to feel valued and appreciated. They want the same emphasis that is placed on the external customers to be placed on them. They would be more inclined to believe our lip service about caring about their well-being if their concerns are addressed before they become problems that affect the profitability of the organization.
Welcome back to Part 2 of “Walk awhile in my shoes,” on the basis of gut level messages from employees to managers, I am the voice of employees on ‘recognition’.
Although you have heard us say many times that we do not want a pat on our back, instead let our hard work be reflected in our take home, don’t believe everything you hear us say. This is an example, we don’t mean this. Even though we do not act like we care about a compliment, a pat on our back or your affirmation that we are doing a good job, we do. We greatly value recognition, that’s why some of us have certificates, plaques, and other memorabilia still on display although they are tattered, torn and discoloured.
Sometimes you give us the impression that we should be satisfied with our pay cheque, but we want more. We want to feel valued as human beings and appreciated for the work we do. We want to feel like we are an important element of the organization and not something that can be used and disposed of, or that we must take whatever is given to us or leave because we can easily be replaced by people who wouldn’t complain.
Yes, we acknowledge that it is not every day we go above and beyond and there are days when we do make mistakes. We know that some days we hit and other days we miss. We understand that there will be days when it will be necessary for you to address our performance shortcomings, but we would appreciate a more balanced approach. It seems like the only time we are called into your office or the only time we receive written correspondence from you is to address performance that was not up to standard. What about most days when we meet or exceed the standards you set for us. Where are praises, the letter of commendation or the thank you card? We know that behaviours that managers want to be repeated should be recognized but our negative behaviours are getting more attention than our positive ones.
Finally, you may conclude that you are busy and don’t have the time to recognize us. However, your load could be lighter if you make a greater effort to recognize us for the work we do well as we would be more inclined to consistently strive to go above and beyond. Before you think of chastising us for our shortcomings, stop to ask yourself what is being done to facilitate consistently excellent work from us.
If you are interested in the managers perspective of “Walk awhile in my shoes” gut-level, real-world messages from managers to employees written by Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura, please visit my YouTube Channel, karenhearttalk.
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