Show employees you care.
And genuinely care: Don’t do it because you have to.
Employee appreciation for sales organizations
After working for the majority of my career in sales roles, I feel that I understand the “grind” that sales employees go through every day. In corporate America, there is a widespread call to outwork those around you and compare yourself to other employees. With this comes high stress and low amounts of true rest. Days off are often looked down upon for any employee, but salespeople experience a different level of pressure to perform.
Not only are salespeople dealing with the normal difficulties of corporate America, but they are also dealing with the fear that if they step away from work for even a day, they’ll miss out on that deal, underperform on the quota they’ve worked so hard for or fall out of consideration for that bonus they were looking forward to.
As leaders of sales organizations, the best way to show sales employees your appreciation is to support them by filling in for them while they’re on vacation, family leave or just gone for a day. By relieving them of all responsibilities for the duration of their time off, sales employees can recharge and rest assured that all progress they have made on any ongoing projects or goals will be there when they return.
Leadership showing employee appreciation
Even though it’s easiest for me to see things from a sales perspective, I’m positive this advice holds true for employees across a range of departments. As the CIO of industry-leading master agent Hyperion Partners, I’ve seen first hand the results of effective time off. Leaders who fill in the gaps while their employees step away are always more respected. When your employees feel free to take time off when they need it, they’ll be more productive and plugged in when they’re on the clock. Fostering this type of work environment benefits everyone because it addresses that employees are more than their job description. It first highlights that they are real people with real lives.
How to show employees you care about them
While the first step of employee appreciation is addressing that employees are more than you hired them to be, the next step is surely getting to know them for who they really are. One way to do this is calling them.
Call your employees for no reason at all. Don’t come in with agenda. Don’t approach them with a quick how are you followed by a vast to do list. Just pop in to ask what their day is like and how they’re feeling recently. The conversation should be personal. This is so different from structured meetings and allows you to get a real sense of what each person may be going through, or thinking about in a random moment.
Not only do I enjoy getting to know employees throughout this process, but it also humanizes me to them. Chatting in a personal capacity largely improves my relationships with employees. If the time ever comes for hard conversations, these chats prepare me for those by letting me in on what’s going on in their personal lives and how they respond to various types of communication.
I could always do more of that, and I bet now you’re thinking you could too.
Here are three more ways I make personal connections to show my appreciation for employees.
1. I check in on people who don’t report to me.
While I deeply appreciate growing my relationships with members of my team, I’ve also noticed how astonished employees are when someone outside of their normal work day checks in on them and thanks them for all they do. They feel seen, heard and encouraged. This is different from a pat on the back during a company-wide call. It is personal and goes a long way.
Not only does this help them, but it gives me a greater understanding of how healthy our organization is as a whole.
2. I remember people’s birthdays.
Whether they say it or not, everyone loves their birthday. It’s the most specific-to-you day of the year. By sending a card, call or message, you’ve shown that they’re important to you, and that you’re celebrating right along with them.
Recently, I’ve started sending handwritten cards through an app called Felt. Felt sends handwritten cards for the modern world. With messages sealed, stamped and mailed all from my phone, the app delivers the sentiment that I want in a way that efficiently leverages technology. It even saves me time and money!
3. I only give gifts with a personal flare.
Especially as the leader of a team, your actions speak so much louder than your words. Now that you’ve put in the time to get to know your team on a more personal level.. Don’t let your effort stop short with those words alone. When a person on your team has a work anniversary, receives recognition or experiences another time for celebration.. Get them a gift that speaks to who they are, or what they love. Don’t just send a general gift basket. One example of a gift I recently got to give was to a teammate from brazil. I wondered to myself what I could get him that would be small, but shows intention. I decided to look up sweets from Brazil and stumbled upon brigadeiros (sweets sort of like truffles). I found a place I could order from online and ship them to my teammate’s house. With even just a tiny pack of brigadeiros, I got to surprise him and he was genuinely appreciative. How can you personalize general gifts to show you care?
No matter how you choose to show appreciation for your employees, start today. Trust me, they deserve it.
Even if these examples don’t speak to how you know your employees would appreciate acknowledgement, I hope this is a call to action for you to start caring for them on a daily basis. If there are other things you like that you know your employees will cherish, do those!
Leave here wondering: How much genuine appreciation do lower level employees receive on a daily basis? How do they know their work matters? What can you do today to show someone you care for them on a personal level?