What do your employees want for Christmas? (Part 2)

What do your employees want for Christmas? What will make their working lives in year ahead more satisfying and happier?  In part one of this short series of articles looking at what your employees want for Christmas I covered the ‘C, H and R’ of Christmas – Clarity, Honesty and Respect (with some less than useful alternatives!). Now let’s move on to ‘I, S and T’

Inspiring Appraisals

Yes, I know, talk about an impossible dream.  But performance appraisals are a part of most people’s working lives and I truly believe they don’t need to be the dreaded drudgery that so many employees seem to find them. In fact, I do believe they can be inspirational to the employee. Here are a few tips on how to make your appraisal meetings rock:
Find out what your employees want from the appraisal. Here’s a simple idea. You could ask your employees ‘what will need to happen for you to find the appraisal meeting we are planning really motivational?’ (Read more at ‘Performance Appraisal: Three  Steps to a Motivational Meeting’)
Help your employees prepare for the meeting. More than anything we and our employees want the appraisal meeting to be a two-way, adult-to-adult conversation. We want to share ideas and feedback. We want to discuss achievements and identify areas for development. None of these good things will happen if our employee doesn’t know how to prepare. Read more on how to help your employee prepare here   
Avoid, at all costs, these ‘5 Sure Fire Ways to Fail
Alternative: Insincere Thanks. Ok, money’s too tight to mention so let’s give a gift that doesn’t cost a penny. How about getting your employees together for a ‘thanks for nothing’ type speech? Something like ‘thanks for your efforts this year, now let’s pull our socks up and get some real results next year’ or ‘thanks for what you’ve done this year. Big challenges next year so you’re going to need to up your game’ See what I’ve done there? Some bland praise followed by some, not very subtle, criticism. You think I’ve made these examples up? I only wish I had      

Some Confident Management

Is there anything more frustrating than being managed by a manager who isn’t confident about – err – managing? The type of manager who; apologises every time they need to do something even vaguely ‘managerial’ (I’m really sorry but I need to talk to you about …); never gets clear with you on what they want and need from you; never gives you feedback just in case you can’t take it? It can be  tough building management confidence but when managers lack confidence it’s a pain not just for the employee but for the business too (read more at ‘Is a Lack of Confidence Hurting Your Business Performance?’). So how can managers build their confidence? Here’s a few tips:
Believe in your management rights. Some managers don’t believe they’ve earned the right to manage their employee’s performance. You don’t have to earn the right, you have it already. Honestly. The clue is in your job title. So, embrace your right to manage – it’s there for the taking (read more at ‘Believe in Your Management Rights!’)
Stop trying to be perfect.  One of the reasons managers don’t feel confident in their management role is because they are afraid of making mistakes, of not being the ‘perfect manager’.  So they don’t take any action at all. The reality is, management (for most of us) isn’t like open heart surgery – nobody will die if you make a mistake.  And the truth is very few people want to work for the perfect manager. But they do want to work for someone who manages. If you give up trying to be perfect you can begin to be a really effective manager (read more tips on how to stop trying to be the perfect manager here    
Get the tools, techniques and skills you need. At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious (hey, what’s new?) if you don’t have the tools, techniques and skills you need to manage people effectively you’re going to struggle to build you confidence. So, is it time to look for those resources? (read tips on how to get the help and support you need at ‘Promoted to Manager? Great? What now?’)           
Alternative : Soap. Now I know nobody’s given scented soap as a gift since great aunt Mabel passed away but so what? Not only will a nice bar of ‘old lady lavender’ delight your employees – especially those picky Gen Y’s as they’ll never have seen hard soap before – but it will also save you having to have a chat with Eric from accounts about his rather cavalier approach to personal hygiene. Double whammy! 


I know you’re busier than an elf on Christmas Eve but for many of your employees  the best gift you could give them would be more ‘face time’. Who wouldn’t like to know that their manager wanted to get to know them better, to find out what makes them tick? One of the very best ways to spend time with your employees is to have a focused discussion with them about their job satisfaction (and how to improve or maintain it). Need some ideas on how to plan and run a meeting about job satisfaction? Then take a look at my four step plan at ‘Four Steps to Improving Employee Job Satisfaction’)


Alternative: Tinsel. Yeah, the sparkly, glittery, highly flammable stuff that looks vaguely like ice. Buy cheap and buy lots. You can trim anything; computers, chairs, ceiling lights, that employee who’s been slumped (unmoving) over the photocopier for the last 3 months. Decorate the whole office for less than the price of a coffee and show your employees just how much you value them. Result!

What about you?

What do you want for Christmas? What do you want from your Boss? What do you want from your employees? I’d love to know!! 

Summary: What our employees (really) want 

So that’s the ‘I, S & T’ of Christmas taken care of. Keep your eyes peeled for the next thrilling instalment – the ‘M, A & S’!


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May 1, 2012

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