How to Make Your Team Members Feel Valued

appreciation employee entitlement employee experience employee retention

Welcome to week three of Q&A with Donna. As a reminder, each week I will answer one of your questions related to employee and customer experience. You can add your question to the mix here. 

The first question of the year was (to paraphrase): How do we deal with "entitled employees." Our owners/leaders plan all kinds of wonderful events and activities for our team members and give great gifts. But employees seem to feel entitled. Entire departments have refused to come to parties and we even found some significant gifts in the trash." 

I decided to answer the question in three parts and this is the third and last installment. 

Sometimes, as leaders, we mistake the tools of recognition and culture-building activities for what makes people feel valued. Those things are fun and can add excitement to your culture, but they are not a substitute for building relationships with your team. 

I've spent a decade or more interviewing employees in many industries and at all levels of organizations. When I ask the question, "Tell me about a time when you felt valued at work?" the pins, the plaques, and the pizza parties don't come up. Here's what does: 

Listen to Me: Lots of stories of people who felt seen, heard, and were given a voice in the organization. People say, "I have an opinion and I feel valued when I am asked to share it and my thoughts are considered when making decisions." 

Notice and Comment on my Contribution: Interestingly enough, many of my interview subjects told stories about customers doing that more often than their leaders. Something to consider.

See my Potential: There have also been many stories about leaders who took people under their wing, showed them the ropes, and had a bigger vision for them than they did for themselves.

Involve me in Projects: Especially today, people love to have a seat at the table and be invited to help out on projects that make a meaningful contribution.

Care about my life outside of Work: This category has two themes that come up regularly. The first is to see me as a human being, engage with me, say hello, ask about my day, my family, etc. - basic relationship-building skills. The other theme is about work-life balance. Stories of people who felt their boss gave them space to focus on family and life in addition to work. 

So yes, have the culture-building activities. Give the recognition gifts. However, if you want to make people feel valued, double down on the five actions above and you may see a shift in the way your team members rally around you and your company. 

Next week, a new question. 





Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.