At this time of year, many employers wish to demonstrate their gratitude for their employees with a holiday ham or even a monetary gift. Employers may think of this as more than a kind gesture. They may perceive that holiday gift giving is a positive contributor to corporate culture. However, while these tokens are definitely appreciated, studies indicate that they don’t have the impact on company culture that the giver might think.
In their book Three Impossible Promises*, authors Gary Preece and Lynne Ruhl highlight many crucial factors affecting company culture and its ultimate impact on “corporate health.” What is the best way to show demonstrate gratitude toward employees? (Hint: it’s not holiday gift giving.)
“Sure [employees] want to be agreed with. Sure they want to be in charge and see things done their way. Sure, they want to be appreciated and thanked and recognized for having done something worthwhile. But all these things are nothing when compared to people’s desire to be understood. It is stronger than the desire to be praised, stronger than the desire to be treated fairly and even stronger than their desire to act in their own self-interest.”
The Gift That Keeps Giving
Attempting to understand employees is the ultimate corporate gift…And, it ‘s a gift that can keep on giving all year long.
At first glance, understanding may seem like a hard gift to deliver. Not so. Offering employees opportunities for personal and professional development is a gift that could lead to employees feeling understood and appreciated. A day at a conference together may be just the ticket. A special lunch or meeting or volunteer project with you or other supervisors could be another opportunity for both of you to gain a better understanding of each other. Sometimes, simply acknowledging an employee’s idea or concern can be just the amount of understanding needed.
These attempts to understand lead employees to feeling valued. Preece and Ruhl contend; “Valuing People is not only the right thing to do, it is the proven path to the best in human performance.” And it’s no secret that a culture of value is one that makes companies healthier. “Good health,” whether it is personal, professional, or both, is something for which we can all be grateful.