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How to Show Your Employees a Little Love

Valentine's Day is a great time to recognize employees for their hard work and dedication. But really you need a sustainable strategy to create a culture of appreciation and respect throughout the year.

We don’t often talk about “love” in a business context, but a little love in the workplace can go a long way toward inspiring employees and creating a great work environment. It might just be a differentiator for your employer brand as well.

Here are some ideas for how and why to show your employees a little love, all year round.

What do we mean by love in the workplace?

Love has a place in the workplace, although it may take different forms than it does outside of the office. We’re using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to talk about the topic, but of course, we’re not talking about romantic love. It’s a very broad term, this word love. In its purest form, love in the workplace can refer to the genuine bonds, trust, and admiration that team members have for each other and for the company or organization as a whole. 

This positive sentiment can lead to improved morale, enhanced cooperation and collaboration, and a stronger sense of community among colleagues. Additionally, the feeling of being appreciated and valued can contribute to improved job satisfaction, increased employee engagement and productivity, and better retention rates.

Love can also refer to the passion and enthusiasm employees feel for their jobs. This enthusiasm often leads to creative problem-solving, higher-quality work, and greater initiative. It’s an important factor when considering how an organization will succeed in the long run.

More generally speaking, fostering an atmosphere of respect, kindness, and understanding amongst coworkers can be seen as a form of love in the workplace. When people get along and treat each other with respect, it boosts morale, promotes teamwork, and improves communication. This is essential for creating a healthy and productive working environment. 

How can employers show some love to employees?

Employees might say that if you want to show them some love, offer competitive salaries and benefits packages. Compensation is certainly an important part of the employer-employee relationship. And in addition to base pay and a medical plan, employers can offer bonuses or rewards for outstanding performance, provide flexible work schedules, and offer additional perks such as free meals, gym memberships, or other incentives.

Still, a company that truly cares about its employees will show appreciation not only through financial rewards but through recognition as well. A simple gesture of sending out Valentine's Day cards or holiday gifts or a birthday greeting, along with a heartfelt thank you, can go a long way in creating a positive work environment and contributing to employee satisfaction. We’re all human, and we all appreciate acknowledgment of our efforts.

It is also important to reward employees who have put in extra effort over the year—be that on Valentine's Day or another occasion—as it encourages them to continue to put in their best work effort. Additionally, investing in employees through training and professional development is another great way to show value and appreciation. This can help to create more motivated and skilled employees, resulting in greater productivity and better job satisfaction overall. 

How to create a culture of connection

Love is all about connection. Encouraging love and connection in the workplace can be done in a variety of ways. One way is to create an environment that is open and welcoming to all employees. This can be done by fostering a culture of respect and appreciation for each other's differences. The importance of messages from the top of the organization and the modeling of this behavior by executives cannot be understated.

Providing opportunities for employees to connect with each other through team building activities, social events, and other activities also can help to create a sense of camaraderie and common purpose. 

Another great way to create connection in an ongoing and sustainable way is to implement a continuous peer feedback platform, where employees and managers alike can recognize each other on a regular basis, offering thanks, kudos, or helpful suggestions.

Often when we hear the word “feedback” we cringe, because it typically means someone is going to tell us what we’re doing wrong. But effective feedback should be at least five parts praise to one part “suggestion for improvement.” Feedback is best used as a tool for connection and motivation, rather just than a channel for criticizing and correcting mistakes. 

Perhaps the simplest form of feedback is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is one of the easiest yet most powerful gifts we can give to one another. Acknowledging and appreciating others creates a solid foundation for relationships. It first of all recognizes the existence of the other person, satisfying the fundamental human need to be seen, heard, and understood. It creates relatedness and is highly motivating. And it costs nothing, except for a few seconds of your time.

Imagine the motivational power if every employee were sending and receiving kudos every day. Not that you can live by praise alone, but the positive feedback creates the necessary foundation upon which coaching, check-ins, and 360 feedback can be effective. 

But really, love isn’t all you need

With due respect to the Beatles’ philosophy of “all you need is love,” most employees would probably argue that they need a bit more than just love from employers. They need lives that work.

You can support your employees in having workable lives by providing flexible work arrangements, offering telecommuting options, providing access to mental health resources, and encouraging a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, you can offer employee assistance programs, provide access to childcare, and offer wellness programs.

From a compensation perspective, you can offer packages that are tailored to the needs of individual employees, which can serve the dual purpose of eliciting their best performance and providing them with what they need to support them in life. The needs of Millennials are not the same as Boomers, parents likely have different needs and priorities than singles, and so on. It doesn’t need to cost more, you just need a compensation management system that is flexible and scalable enough to provide personalized rewards packages.

Ok in all fairness, maybe the Beatles weren’t talking about the workplace. Or maybe they were. It’s hard to argue that love is a bad thing to have in any kind of atmosphere. Whatever your motivation as an employer—be it love or just wanting to create great results—providing employees with what they need to have a healthy work-life balance is going to pay off in terms of getting top performance from your workforce.

What are the benefits?

It’s good for employees to act with love in the workplace. Love encourages positive connections between co-workers and fosters a culture of respect, support, and collaboration. When people feel connected to each other, they work better together and become more productive, while at the same time creating a healthier environment for everyone. 

Love is also an effective way to help employees overcome difficult tasks or situations, as it boosts morale and keeps people focused on their goals. Furthermore, when people show love for their colleagues and bosses, it results in a more positive atmosphere which in turn leads to better performance, improved job satisfaction, and healthier relationships between co-workers. 

Make it happen

Don’t just talk about it. Put in place programs that will create connections and foster a supportive culture. Be sure those values are modeled by the executive team and put into action. Make good use of technology. Leverage performance systems that will help to create connectivity, collaboration, and personal development, and compensation systems that can deliver rewards that support the real needs of employees.

For advice on how to get started with systems that can create the culture and performance you want, contact our specialists in performance and rewards at beqom. We’d love to hear from you!

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