January 17, 2013
How to Wow Your Employees
Here at Return Path we like to promote a culture of WOW and a culture of hospitality. Some of you may be asking, Why Wow your employees? The answer is, there is nothing more inspirational than showing an employee that you care about him or her as an individual. The impact a WOW has is tremendous. Being a manger is like being in a fishbowl. Everything you do is scrutinized by your team. You lead by example whether you want to or not and showing your own vulnerability/humanity has an amazing bonding effect.
Why do you want to foster Wow moments with your team? High performing teams have a lot of Wow going on. If all members of a team see Wow regularly, they are all inspired to do more sooner and better.
Here are 15 ways to Wow your employees
- Take them or her to lunch/breakfast/drinks/dinner quarterly individually, one nice one per year
- Learn their hobbies and special interests; when you have a spiff to give, give one that is in line with these
- Remember the names of their spouse/significant other/kids/pets
- Share your development plan with them and ask for input against it at least quarterly
- Respond to every email from your staff by the end of the day; sooner if you are on the TO line
- Ask them what they think of a piece of work you’re doing
- Ask them what they think of the direction the company is going, or a specific project
- Periodically take something off each one’s plate, even if it’s clearly theirs to do
- Periodically tell them to take a day off to recharge, ideally around something important in their lives
- End every meaningful interaction by asking how they are doing and feeling about work
- End every interaction by asking what you can be doing to help them do a better job and advance their career
- Read all job openings and highlight ones that match their interests for future positions
- Read the weekly award list and call out those FROM and TO your team in staff meetings
- Send a handwritten note to their home when you have a moment of appreciation for them
- (If your employee has a team he/she manages) Ask for input before every skip-level interaction and summarize each one after the fact in an email or in person
I try to have Wow moments regularly with people at all levels in the organization. Here’s one that sticks with me. At the Colorado summer party several years ago, I went up to someone who was a few layers down in the organization and said hi to her husband and dog by name. I had met them before, and I work at remembering these things. The husband was blown away – I hadn’t talked to him in probably two years. In front of the employee, he gushed – “this is exactly why my wife loves working here – we are totally committed to being part of the RP family.”
There are as many ways to be a great manager and WOW your employees as there are stars in the sky…hopefully these ideas give you a framework to make these your own!