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The Importance of Making Employees Feel Important

Updated on June 19, 2013

The Ninth of a 12-part Series

You’re giving your employees their paycheck. That's fine and fair. You are paying down for what they are hired to do. Now you're hearing all kinds of hullabaloo that you need to make them feel valuable too? Is making your employees feel important ridiculous or necessary?

Absolutely necessary.

According to The Houston Chronicle, “Employees who feel valued will put more effort into carrying out their allotted tasks to a high standard. More importantly, however, is that their attitudes will boost overall morale in the workplace more effectively than any short-term financial reward. The responsibility for increasing employees’ feelings of job-based self-worth lies with management, who must make a daily effort to motivate their staff.” (1)

This is the ninth of a twelve-part series based the Gallup Q12. The Gallup Q12 is a twelve question measure of employee engagement. This hub addresses Gallup Q12 Question 9) Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work? (If you want to see the Q12 questions, you will find a link at the end of this article.) (2)

Norman Rich, President and CEO of Lighthouse Strategic Group shares, “Managers almost never know as much about how to do the job correctly as the person actually doing the job. If you want to move the needle with recognition, empower employees to recognize each other's performance and get management out of the process altogether.” (3)

In order to engage his staff, Mr. Rich successfully implemented the following programs:

Team Member of the Week program: Have your staff members vote for colleagues whose contributions garner the greatest impact in the organization. Put together a list of categories that work specifically in your organization, ranging from general creative ideas to initiatives for outstanding customer service support. By getting your team to recognize and support each other, they will be much more likely to self-police and increase the quality of the total effort expended.

The Lifesaver Award: This award recognizes the efforts of team members that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to "save the life" of one of their colleagues. There is only one Lifesaver Award, and the trophy never leaves the premises. Once someone wins the trophy, the recipient has two weeks or less to identify the next winner.

When the Lifesaver Award changes hands, three things have to happen:

1. The recipient receives a hand-written note explaining how that person "saved my (work) life" by helping out in a situation or simply by doing a fantastic job.

2. The text of the note is placed in an email and sent out to the entire staff.

3. In addition to the note, the person passing the trophy must also include a bag, box or jumbo pack of Lifesavers candies.

Programs like these are effective because they offer employees the opportunity to catch each other “doing things right” and express gratitude to each other. Peer recognition plays an pivotal role in creating a culture of appreciation.

Here are some keys for successful management implementation:

• Make the recognition public and honest

• Resist the urge to take ownership of the programs - let the staff manage and control outcomes

• Invite upper management to participate by sending congratulatory emails directly to the winners

When you take the time to acknowledge the people that you have working for you, they will work harder, put in more hours, and get more done. By letting your staff express appreciation to each other, you are ensuring a higher quality effort as everyone wants to be a part of a winning team.

Staff recognition does not need to cost thousands of dollars’ it doesn't need to cost anything at all. Often times, a sincere and immediate "thank you" is all you need.


(1) How to Make Employees Feel Important |, (accessed January 20, 2013).



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