Helping Employees Do Their Best Work

In a recent meeting at work, the team was asked: “What do you need to show up, and do your best work?” Although there were 10 people in the room, many of the answers were surprisingly similar. Most of us commented that to do our best work, we need to feel valued and that we are making a difference. Showing employees that they are valued not only helps them perform better, but it also benefits the whole company. Employees will feel more connected to the company which leads to an increase in employee engagement, commitment, and retention.

Research indicates that there is power in making each member of your team or company feel like they matter and that their contributions are valued. One way for employees to feel valued is to empower them with a sense of ownership. Ownership can come in many different forms. It could include being involved in organizational decisions, improving a process, leading a portion of a project, or developing an idea for the company to better serve the community.

In The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, author Ron Friedman describes another way to show you value employees: express appreciation directly to their families. By recognizing an employee’s spouse or family, you show that you value them beyond just being an employee; you show appreciation for them as a person. It allows families to feel part of the company and fosters a sense of pride for their employer.

Showing appreciation and value to employees starts with the leader. Managers have a great deal of influence on their employees, so receiving appreciation from  a manager could be just what an employee needs to be motivated at work. I’ve had the opportunity to be on the giving and receiving end of appreciation expressed to families. One year, my husband and I received a weekend trip to a bed and breakfast from one of my supervisors. Another year, my husband received a gift card to his favorite sporting goods store. My children were given logoed shirts and wore them proudly; telling all their friends about where mom works.

I challenge you to reflect on how you value your employees. Find out what interests them and their families and recognize that. The gestures don’t need to be grand or expensive, but they should be personal. Showing you value not only your employees but also their families will lead to higher engagement and committed employees (and families)!


Catherine Bloom, Interstates CFO


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