Infographic “How To” Post 7: Valued

This is part 7 of a 10 part “how to” series covering the points in the infographic below.

Employees Stay7You might be wondering how “valued” and “appreciated” are different.  After all, they are both about acknowledging an employees’ contribution.  I would also say they are similar because you need to genuinely appreciate and value your employees to show that you appreciate and value them!

And lastly, when you show appreciation, it can make an employee feel valued. Whew.

To me the big difference is how you measure these two things, and because value is about worth, there is a tangible representation of worth that every employee gets.

Their paycheck.

So going back to post #1, at least part of an employees’ value to the organization will be determined by a set of numbers on a deposit slip.  But, if we allow that to be the only determining factor of value, we are missing a tremendous opportunity to convey to our employees just how valuable they are to us.

The reason that the paycheck can’t be the only measure of value is because we are dealing with people, not a product or commodity.  You can say it costs $3 to build a widget, so the value (before adding profit margin) is $3.  Of course, the “consumer” value for that widget is going to be based on what price a store can charge.  In the employee world, it’s not an apples to apples comparison because people have emotions and feelings which are HUGE factors in determining value.

Going back to ‘worth’ for just a minute, when people say they don’t get paid enough to do something, they often say “it’s not worth it”.  What they are really saying is that it’s not worth their time, their effort, or extending themselves beyond their comfort zones.

When you look up the word worth, it’s about equality.

Worth – equivalent in value to the sum or item specified

The ‘item specified’ in our case could be a task or an extra shift, or heck, if we aren’t doing the rest of the things right on this infographic, it could be their daily job duties.  So we have to be able to equate the value of what they are doing with the value of what they get out of it – which isn’t all about money.

People like and need to get paid, yes.  However, people also have this need to be involved, to be productive, and to know that they are doing something important, otherwise they are just wasting their time.

Have you seen people who felt like they were wasting their time?  It’s not pretty.

So we ask ourselves: Are my employees doing something important?  Is their role (and how they perform it) critical to guest service, revenue, efficiency, safety, team morale, etc.?  I would argue that yes, what our employees do is important (and valuable).  Why would we pay them to do it if it wasn’t?  At the same time, why do we continue to pay employees when they are no longer providing value?

You mean, like stop paying them?  No, I mean let them go.  Set them free. End the employment relationship.  If there is one thing that is undermining your ability to convey just how valuable employee 1 is, it’s keeping on employee 2, who is a slacker and doing just enough to not get fired. If I were employee 1 (doing the same job as employee 2), I wouldn’t think what I was doing was very valuable because employee 2 was still allowed to it.

And yes, you probably need employee 2 to fill a spot on the schedule, but other than that, they aren’t doing you any favors.

So if you value your employees, and you feel they bring value to the organization, how do we SHOW employees that they are valuable (so they’ll stay)?  Glad you asked.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Rid yourself of slackers. I’m serious.  If they’ve been coached, and they just aren’t coming around (or aren’t a good fit for the team or company), cut your losses. Doing this shows how much you REALLY value the valuable employees for their worthy contributions.  Like it or not, employees compare EVERYTHING.  “I’m making the same amount as everyone else, but they don’t follow the rules, don’t come in on time or treat the guests well.  What the heck am I doing all that for?”  You have control over that value proposition.
  • Communicate value and worthiness.  Employees don’t auto-magically know how valuable they are. It’s tough sometimes to see past your current task and fathom how it all fits into the big picture.  It’s up to you to communicate to the ride operator, retail clerk or custodial attendant just how important their job is… not just in the context of what tasks they perform, but to the overall organization.  We do this through specific and sincere feedback, mentoring, and coaching.  We also do this by removing the word just when describing a position, job or assignment. He’s “just” a clerk, “just” go stand there and greet people.  You immediately remove any and all value that might have been previously implied.
  • Make working for you worth it. Remember in post #1 when we said that pay was only 1/10th of the overall compensation an employee gets, and that if that’s ALL they get (and by extension, all they’re worth) often they will say it’s not enough? Take that to heart and consider all of the other things that employees value.  Do they value personal development, communication, a team atmosphere, career growth, someone who will listen to them, challenge, involvement, feedback, customer service?  Do they have an interest or passion that we can tap into and put them in a position to use that on the job?  Don’t know?  Find out.  When others value what you value, or acknowledge your values as important, doesn’t that make the experience more worth it?

Ultimately, for your employees to stay, there is one question they will ask themselves everyday (and you likely ask yourself the same question).

Is this worth it?  If so, they will stay.

If not, they’ll eventually find a job that is worth it.

Next up: On A Mission

Thanks for reading!


About the author – After 20+ years in hospitality leadership and human resources, Matt Heller founded Performance Optimist Consulting in 2011 with one simple goal: Help Leaders Lead. Matt now works with attractions large and small and leaders at all levels to help them improve leadership competencies, customer service, employee motivation and teamwork. His book, “The Myth of Employee Burnout” was released in 2013 has become a go-to resource among industry leaders.

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