How to Make Employees Feel Valued At Work?

Binod Shrestha

Employees who feel valued at work are often more productive, happier, and less likely to leave the organization for other employment opportunities. Knowing the importance of valued employees and how to show appreciation can create a strong organizational culture. This not only makes the employee feel important and wanted by the organization but also increases the trust of an employee in the organization. They feel part of it.

One of my friends told me recently that he is not happy with his current organization and its treatment of him. He works as an operational safety officer in an airlines company. He holds one of the crucial job roles that involve reviewing safety policies documents related to safety standards and compliances and developing or updating their current ones in his organization. He was called by HR one day and asked to sign the bond paper in return for the promotion they are offering him. The bond is for 5 years. He said to me that he may be willing to sign the contract and bond, but the way those documents were presented to him was something he felt that the organization is doing him a big favor by promoting him. He was also not pleased because the bond letter he later found was kept in the reception open for anyone to read it. Though the intention of the organization was clear that they found my friend important, it seems like they have dealt with it very poorly. Instead of being happy about the promotion, he felt like he is unwanted, more humiliated, and sad. This story is a clear example of how much it is important for make people feel valued in an organization and doing it in the right way also matters vastly.

Importance of feeling valued at work
Valuing employees is mostly for the benefit of the organization more than for an individual. Employee builds trust in leadership and has more confidence in the organization. It increases the morale of the employee. The more positive morale you can develop in your employee, their output goes right up. This will make them work harder and strive for new goals which they tend to invest in the organization’s accomplishments which can lead to an increase in their productivity.
Happy employees don’t leave the organization. When you value employees and demonstrate it, they often have higher job satisfaction rates and pursue continued employment or advancement opportunities and refer other job candidates rather than seeking other employment. This can help lower turnover and increase retention rates.

An organization that values its employees often attracts lots of talents from the market. Not only that the business houses who are looking for a partnership, clients as well as people who want to support the business will want to be associated with the organization with a good reputation.

Making employees feel valued in the work they do is important in business and can ultimately improve the environment of a workplace, the individual and team performance, and help an organization reach its goals.

So, what are the ways to make employees feel valued at work?

Offer good compensation and benefits packages: Well, compensation is very important to keep the people you need and to attract quality talents. This is a good way of demonstrating how much you value their services from the very beginning. The packages which need to be evaluated frequently with the industry-leading organization will ensure that your employees feel satisfied and valued. Those packages may include, attractive time off programs, fair base pay, raises, bonuses and incentives, wellness and health insurance benefits for employee and their families, retirement funds, performance-based increments, transport, communications allowances, and flexible work schedules.

Prioritize a work-life balance: To me personally, balanced life means, a balanced mind and body. If you have both, you are more productive and enthusiastic about what you do. Though this aspect can mean differently for everyone based on their likes, wants and goals, employees are more satisfied if their work performance matters and is valued by their superiors and subordinates. Spending long hours at the workplace and not being productive and efficient, is not good for both employee and employer.

Work-life balance is also important for employees’ mental and physical health, relationships with others, and many more. So, it should be management’s top priority to ensure their employee is taking a good amount of time off from work to be with their families. They should go home from work on time so that they can spend more time with their children and the rest of the families in the evening.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced work environment can reduce stress, prevent burnout, save money, and promote considerate organizational culture.
Develop employee reward and recognition scheme: A meaningful and fair employee recognition program is a great way to show you value the hardworking and dedicated employee. There are various types of employee recognition programs you can introduce in your organization. But if you simply copy some other organization’s program and introduce it to yours, it might not work. So, it’s best to have a quick survey on what sort of recognition program your employee would prefer in your organization. Some examples of employee recognition programs are for example providing a gift or financial incentives, public recognitions, peer-to-peer recognitions, starting an employee of the month club, or holding an annual rewards ceremony event. Other ideas can be a lunch with the CEO or earned time off.

If you want to develop a consistent employee recognition system, it is best that you link your reward system with your performance evaluation system. As your employees develop, gain more skills, and get better at their job, it’s important to align their compensation, and give raises or share bonuses to reward them. Consider evaluating merit-based raises versus length of employment ones to show employees their growth is aligned with performance and to ensure morale remains strong rather than inadvertently rewarding underperforming employees

Provide Employee professional development and learning opportunities
Investing in your team is the direct way to show that you value them. Those companies who invest in employee development are most likely to retain their employee for the longer term. Consider offering employee training that will develop their skills, so they can meet their professional as well as personal goals. Due to the budget factor, we tend to organize group training which is not harmful but there is always a question on its effectiveness. Do not provide training for the sake of it. Try and analyze the need of an individual and develop a training plan. You can still explore the possibilities of group training for similar training requirements, but this method does not always work. Instead, set up an in-house learning platform for all such as consider offering professional development classes within the organization or paying for online courses, conferences, or tuition reimbursement.

Cross-training between departments also is an effective and cost-efficient way to let employees learn and discover new skills and formal or casual mentorship programs also offer employees support and guidance. Other ways to help employees grow to include, exposure visits including international seminars/ conferences, helping employees to pay for professional membership, One-on-one manager meetings, Peer learning groups, Career or talent management guidance, and dedicated learning time for employees at the workplace.

Celebrate achievements
Celebrating your smallest achievements with your employee will help your employees to increase their engagement at work. Making a culture of celebrating small and large work achievements for example you may want to celebrate reaching your team’s monthly/quarterly sales target or let’s say you have a new employee joining your team. These sort of small achievement celebrations with your employees, highlighting those achievements in organization-wide correspondence or sharing a personally handwritten Thank You note to employees as a personal and thoughtful gesture surely makes people valued.

Prioritize promotion internally
The best way to value your employee is by giving them the growth opportunity they deserve. And to do that you need to show that you trust and value your existing employee. Promoting internally is also in favor of the organization. It reduces the cost of the recruitment and onboarding process, transition time is fast, increased employee retention, and loyalty rates, and boosts employee morale. Consider establishing best practices for internal recruitment and hold candidates to the same expectations, qualifications, and criteria.

Organize events and spend time with your employee
Employees feel valued when they get time to spend with their leaders outside of normal work hours. So, it is important for you as a leader to take out some time to spend your time daily, even for a few minutes, to ask how they are doing and how are their families. Treat them to a coffee break or take them out to lunch to get to know them better and hear their ideas about the workplace.

Even during the team meeting or performance review, ask for their genuine feedback and provide them ample space to ask questions. This kind of small but meaningful engagement with the team builds good rapport and increases team dynamics that make them feel valued.

An employee who feels valued also feels closer to the organization and puts more effort into their work. This also applies to HR. Usually, it’s the HR personnel who facilitates all the employee care programs in an organization. But sadly, they are always neglected by their management. Help your HR team to build themselves stronger and more capable, keep them happy so that they make the rest of the employees happy. Don’t neglect them by saying that’s their job. If they are happy at work, only they can deliver well to make employees.

On the other hand, an employer needs to make their employee want all the time. The challenge for the management is that they will need to find a way to get closer with the employee from time to time. So, trying and thinking of the methods how you can create great working culture and environment, be competitive in the market in terms of employee care, and provide good compensation and benefits package, creating an employee-attracting brand is always difficult but not impossible.

Shrestha is Head of HR and Talent Development at Helen Keller International.

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