Expert Advice of the Month: Your staff deserves to be seen, heard, and valued

Sarah McVanel is the founder of Greatness Magnified, an organization that specializes in providing training programs and certifications for employees at large. She is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, and creator of F.R.O.G.—Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness. She invigorates companies to earn great people and to see their people as exceptional so that, together, they can create a thriving culture where everyone belongs.

In the Age of the Employee Experience, we need to tune in and turn up the appreciation.

Seeing, understanding, and valuing what our people need from us is essential if we’re going to attract and retain great people. We cannot simply throw money at the retention problem. Sure, it may get people in the door, but will it keep them? And considering it costs three times someone’s salary to replace them, it’s an expensive risk. And not a calculated one.

People who feel valued, seen, heard, and appreciated stay. They want to belong, do good work, and feel like their contributions would be missed if they were gone. It’s a psychological fact based on motivation theory and behavioural economics. However, we still doubt it, thinking it can’t be that simple. Now that business studies and surveys are proving this, we’re listening.

People cannot be treated like a number. Or a paycheque.

To be clear, we need to offer a desirable comp and benefits package. No one will work for us if we’re in the bottom quartile with inflation on the rise, not to mention the impression it gives that they’re not worth more. However, the package isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on (or email it’s attached to), if the core offer we have is money, full stop.

A paycheque is table stakes. A bonus cheque is temporary. A gift card is disposable. Do you know what’s irreplaceable? Recognition.

Everyone needs and deserves to be seen, heard, and valued. This is how we will keep great people. Appreciation is timeless. It’s teachable. It’s satisfying (more satisfying than retraining a constant revolving door of people, to be sure!).

Every single person in every industry at every “level” at any time can make work more delicious instantly. The secret weapon you’ve had at your disposal all along is recognition.