I was having a little jibber jabber this evening with a close friend. We were discussing work. This is great, that sucks, this is new, can’t believe this is still happening. You know… the usual.
This friend has been with her company for a while. She often sounds a bit burned out or fed up. I have asked her on more than one occasion, “Why are you still there?” The answer is always the same: “They pay me well.”
In the most recent conversation, my friend told me that she had reached an important milestone at her company. She was pretty proud of the accomplishment, as she should be. “Do you know how many people said something about it today at work?” she asked me? No, I replied.
“None.” She says. Not a single person acknowledged it.
This got me thinking a little bit.
Now, I should start off by pointing out that I am not Paul Hebert. I don’t do employee motivation. The only motivation I am involved with is the kind required to get my butt out of bed on a Monday morning after a close Seahawks game. But, I became curious… in the grand scheme of employee morale and motivation, we so often focus on pay and rewards. Might we often be forgetting genuine signs of gratitude?
I recently took a new job at Microsoft. My new boss sent me an email telling me about herself and asking me a few things about myself. One of her questions to me was, “What motivates you?” I hadn’t really thought about it. I am generally happy in my career. I love my company. I have had great bosses. I know I could make more money if I jump ship, but why would I do such a thing? I am genuinely happy. But, what is it that makes me happy?
So much of it has to do with the fact that I feel appreciated! I have had wonderful bosses that give me the occasional pat on the back and let me know that my work is good (or a kick in the pants with a note to do better next time).
Companies have different incentive programs. Maybe they hand out trophies. Maybe they give out gift cards. Maybe they have fun team lunches followed by lasar tag. All fine and dandy. Don’t stop.
But, also remember the most basic signs of gratitude. An email that says, “Hey… this is really great work. Thanks for this.” A drive by to the office to say, “I noticed you were working late last night. I really appreciate the extra time.” Or, a call out in a team meeting to say, “We couldn’t have finished on time without the efforts of so-and-so.”
Quick, easy and meaningful. Not to mention free! It doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. And it certainly should never ever be fake or disingenuous.
But, I bet it can go a long way. “They pay me well,” is a completely legitimate reason to stay at a company. However, I bet more people like to be paid well and feel like they are appreciated! One more step in keeping employees happy.
Thank you for reading, today! I appreciate you.
Jason Pankow realized long ago that he wasn’t smart enough to actually program video games and game consoles. So, he found another way to participate! In between bouts of pwning newbs in Halo or scoring mad gamerpoints, Jason spends his time as the Staffing Program Manager for Microsoft’s Devices and Studios Division. Jason’s day is spent running programs that help recruit the obscenely talented developers, designers and engineers that have blessed the world with the likes of Xbox, Kinect and tons of other rad stuff, much of which he can’t tell you about. So, don’t ask. In non-nerd speak…what this means is that Jason has the coolest recruiting job in the world! Look him up as “Satchmo Baggins” on Xbox LIVE. But, watch out for the dreaded headshot!