Dear J.T. & Dale: I’m a lower-level manager who supervises 10 employees. I look for ways to encourage morale and inspire employees by planning special events to recognize them. I’m sorry to say that the employees seem to take these perks for granted. I am “old school,” but I find it inconceivable that these young employees seem to have forgotten how to say “thanks.” My employees don’t express any gratitude for the effort anyone puts in. Suggestions? – Ivy
J.T.: I often hear from “old school” managers who wonder what has happened with the younger generation of workers. You could blame their parents, but where does that get you? And now, lecturing your employees on gratitude isn’t enough; they need to see how it will benefit them.
Here’s what I suggest: Have a team meeting and explain that you are going to stop the perks because they cost time and money. Explain that the lack of appreciation indicates to you that you are wasting your efforts. Tell them that if they want to continue them for one another, they’ll have to set it up on their own.
DALE: Oh, that’s too sad. Here’s another approach, one I learned from taking a Dale Carnegie course when I was a young employee. At a staff meeting, give an assignment that, sometime in the coming week, each of them will compliment the work of a colleague. At the next meeting, you’ll go around and have everyone report on what transpired. The results will astound you and them. Repeat until it’s a habit.
J.T.: Fine, but I’d do that as part of putting the onus back on the team to organize its own recognition events. It’s time to start coaching your employees on the career advantages of courtesy and encouragement. I know you think it was their parents’ job to do the above, but alas, it didn’t happen. Now, instead of just observing the problem, you can create a solution.
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