Finance Work Why small things at work make a big difference
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Why small things at work make a big difference

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It is a sad fact that employees are taking sickies due to work-related pressures.

A study by Direct Health Services found a quarter of respondents said they took time off due to lack of engagement and 18 per cent took time away because of poor management.

Dissatisfaction in the workplace is costing the nation a staggering $33 billion a year, or just over $3000 per worker, with workers taking 9.5 days off sick.

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Lack of engagement does not mean employers have to spend all day hovering or watching over employees; it is more about acknowledging each individual.

A recent LinkedIn survey found that professionals actually care a lot about small wins, not just the big pay rise or promotion.

Fifty-eight per cent are more likely to have a better attitude and stay at the company longer when small wins were recognised.

Best-selling author of Stop Playing Safe and leadership coach Margie Warrell says it is true that the small things have the most impact.

The number one reason people disengage from their work or quit their job, she adds, is not because they are not paid enough or do not like what they do, it is because they do not feel valued for the work they do and this leads to disengagement.

“At the core of it all is that what we do matters,” she says.

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Give each other a high five. Photo: Shutterstock

“Regardless of whether you’re a cleaner, team leader, creative or sales person; we all want recognition for doing something that is useful and valued.”

Here are five small things you can do to leave a big impact.

1. Affirmation

Having someone who you admire or respect reach out with a compliment is reassuring and affirms they value your work.

Whether it is your boss or your boss’ boss, it is very satisfying for an employee to hear someone say something along the lines of: “Hey, I’ve heard about you and your great work.”

2. Feedback for improvement

Giving a colleague candid feedback to help them improve is just as important as giving affirmations, Ms Warrell says.

If you are in a supervisory role where you are responsible to help your co-workers succeed then feedback is necessary. Managers can hold back from giving feedback because they fear they will have a fallout or a negative response if someone gets upset.

“To stop this from happening is vital for you to build up enough trust with your co-workers,” Ms Warrell says.

“Then go out on a limb and give someone feedback as you will ultimately help them to grow and become successful. It is incredibly rewarding to see someone with whom you have encouraged through positive feedback, to then take the information and better themselves.”

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A little positive affirmation goes a long way. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Acknowledge those for work well done in front of peers

We have all been there or at least witnessed someone who has taken credit for other people’s work. This can be extremely demoralising for the person who should have received the credit.

“It’s important to give credit where it’s due. Mother Theresa said it perfectly; there is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread,” Ms Warrell says.

4. Having creative ideas adopted

People derive immense satisfaction when they know that their creative input or idea has changed the outcome of a project in a positive way. Make sure employees receive recognition for their idea at work.

5. Mentoring co-workers

A little help goes a long way. Watching a person who you have encouraged to grow is very rewarding and a boost for both parties. Remember, helping others to do better should never be seen as a threat to your own job.

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