How Business Leaders can be More Effective in Times of Change and Uncertainty

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly triggered changes that a vast majority of companies were underprepared for. Most of us had never considered alternative work environments, a remote workforce, or connecting with our customers and prospective partners solely via digital platforms.

As we ruminate about reentry, to echo the words of Bob Dylan: “The times they are a-changin’.” According to Gartner, 82% of company leaders are planning to allow their employees to work remotely for at least a portion of the work week, if not permanently, even after the pandemic has subsided. 

With this hybrid model, it’s important to consider that, moving forward, we won’t be collaborating in conference rooms or engaging in water cooler banter as we used to in our “old normal.” 

With this “new normal,” pivoting our internal communication poses a major question: How do business leaders ensure that their organizations maintain their company culture when their workforce is either completely or partially remote?

The answer to this question starts with practicing employee appreciation

Since a company’s most important asset is its people, now’s an ideal time to make your employees a priority by making sure they feel heard, valued, and motivated despite our virtual environment. And in order to continue to maintain a strong culture of ethics, you need to make sure that your employees are engaged and connected during these tough times. Transparency and honesty in communication is critical, as is frequent engagement.

To assist you with your employee acknowledgement efforts, I’ll share a few tactics and tools that will help you and your business remain aligned in a work model that’s mostly virtual: 

How Unengaged Employees Challenge Businesses

It’s important to note that when employees aren’t fully dialed-in to their work, it causes major financial losses for organizations (not to mention the negative impact on culture that commiserating has). In fact, according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup, unmotivated employees cost companies between $450 – $550 billion in lost productivity per year.

Conversely, companies with highly engaged employees have earnings-per-share levels that are 2.6x higher than businesses with low employee engagement. 

In order to elevate our employees’ engagement, and ensure that they feel valued, there’s a major obstacle that we must overcome – The Employee Appreciation Paradox

How to Overcome the Employee Appreciation Paradox

Whether you’ve read about it in Forbes, or simply seen it while scrolling through LinkedIn, most managers and leaders are aware that practicing employee appreciation is essential. 

However, when asked what they could do differently in order to increase their reports’ engagement, TINYpulse claims that only 58% of corporate leaders believe they should, “give [more] recognition” to their employees. 

Since annual workplace turnover rates have been on the rise, you might be wondering why employees aren’t shown gratitude more frequently. To answer that question, two workplace surveys from Harvard Business Review present some revealing numbers concerning acknowledgement in the office: 

  • Managers claim that providing feedback to their employees is stressful, and 21% avoid giving any feedback.
  • To make matters worse, 37% of managers admit that they also avoid giving positive reinforcement. 

By overcoming this paradox, companies can increase employee positivity and enhance retention of top talent, which will save time and costs spent trying to hire and train new employees. 

Tips for Fostering a Culture that Practices Compliance and Appreciation

When the following three techniques are practiced in concert, they can foster a top-notch company culture for teams that are both compliant and appreciation-driven:

Tip #1: Communicate

In the same way that C-suite executives need to effectively communicate their compliance expectations, policies, and procedures to which employees must adhere, more routine, informal talks with senior management can make a big impact when it comes to employee appreciation. 

Many employees regard being asked questions such as “How are you?” or “What’s going on in your world?” by their senior leaders as being as meaningful as formal recognition.

Tip #2: Incentivize

Since employees are more motivated when there’s a personal or professional gain, be sure to include incentives. Plus, this will help reinforce their positive behavior in the long run. 

One way to incorporate an incentive is by acknowledging your reports when they exhibit compliant conduct and contribute to the company’s strong culture.

A second method is by sharing grateful gestures with them after they’ve accomplished specific goals or reached key milestones. These expressions don’t have to be over the top. Since appetites for sincere thank yous are unlimited, consider writing thoughtful notes to express your gratitude. 

Tip #3: Say Thnks!

To make them feel valued, or to reinforce their positive behavior if they’ve met or surpassed their objectives, saying Thnks is a great way to demonstrate your appreciation towards your employees, which can further enhance their engagement and satisfaction.

If you’re searching for a few Thnks gestures to send, consider the following expressions of appreciation:

  • Provide a Choco-Lot of Thnks to the employee who has gone above and beyond to complete a small task. 
  • Share a Literary Escape with your report whose vacation is long overdue. 
  • Treat your team to lunch so that their motivation is enhanced with some mid-day fuel. 

Practicing Gratitude to Maintain Internal Culture

In our “new normal” remote environment, it’s important to ensure that we maintain an internal attitude of gratitude so that our teams stay motivated and continue to follow compliance protocol while working from home.

Although budgeting and staffing will be big focuses for business leaders as we head towards 2021, if you don’t prioritize your employees, then your business’s profits won’t follow. 

By practicing employee appreciation, not only will you keep your employees engaged, but by being transparent with them, you’re more likely to foster a strong culture of ethical decision making and compliance — keeping them from cutting corners and skirting rules. 

If you’re searching for an easy and effective way to express your gratitude towards your reports, saying Thnks will elevate your employees’ focus levels while keeping them happily connected with their colleagues despite their inability to see one another in-person. 

Plus by using the Thnks platform to practice employee acknowledgement, your expressions of appreciation will be tracked and measured so that your business can maintain full financial and compliance control. 

Thnks can help you empower your employees and enhance their motivation. Within seconds, you can show them your appreciation by searching for a gesture of appreciation, personalizing a note, and sending it off via SMS or email. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo