When it comes to making employees feel valued, there are surely plenty of avenues that companies can take to achieve this exact goal. And while providing certain office perks may seem like the best option in this regard, perhaps there is an even better way.
Ah, perks on the job. If you follow The Methodology Blog, then you know, we talk about this subject quite a bit. And while I could go on and on about why certain benefits may actually achieve adverse effects–a lag in productivity to name one–I’d like to highlight a recent experience of mine that shows exactly what it means when a company genuinely invests in its employees.
In the early days of my career, I spent days and nights working in a very fast-paced, high stress job that, if truth be told, I never truly felt accomplished or valued for. Not only was I being paid very little, but I had fifteen bosses that rarely seemed satisfied with me and often times pushed me to do more than I could handle. Sadly, I knew my plate was overflowing and recognized that the company (and my bosses) knew it as well. But nothing was done to remedy the situation–neither on my part nor that of my superiors. Eventually, the only option I had was to leave. And so I did.
Reflecting back on this early portion of my career, I can easily recognize the following:
- I wasn’t working overtime because of a great salary or benefits. Rather, I was killing myself solely for the “opportunity” it was in the highly competitive field.
- The onsite coffee shop and baskets of free goodies didn’t motivate me to work harder.
- I was drowning in work and never had the confidence to say “no”
- I lived in a constant state of fear of failure.
Had I recognized the factors above earlier, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did. I convinced myself that the environment I was in was normal. As if every company operated as such and it was just something I had to learn to cope with on my own. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Turns out, I worked overtime not because I wanted a promotion or top of the line benefits. I did so because I desperately wanted to perform in a job I could be proud of and feel valued for the work I was doing. Frankly, neither was achieved.
Feeling Valued the Right Way
I’ve worked with Robby Slaughter here at AccelaWork since 2008 and in this time, I’ve learned an enormous amount about how business is conducted vs. how it should be conducted. It’s been an enlightening eight years to say the very least. And in a recent experience, I was shown what it feels like to feel valued.
My son is dyslexic. His language learning differences, paired with his ADHD, makes school very difficult indeed. Luckily, we enrolled him in Fortune Academy; a school specifically designed to provide an environment that nurtures each child’s development, builds upon his/her individual strengths, and offers remediation in areas of weakness. Among many fantastic benefits to this school, my son thrives in his education in part to the smaller class sizes and specialized educational techniques such as The Orton-Gillingham Approach.
Each year, Fortune Academy hosts a fundraiser to help off set the cost of running the school. They have a silent and live auction that receives donations from both local and national businesses. This year, I approached Robby Slaughter to see whether AccelaWork would be willing to donate anything toward the auction (with the disclaimer that there was no obligation for participation). Within a day, I received a response from Robby that told me yes, AccelaWork would be honored to participate. And, beyond that, he would also like to advertise in the program. Best of all, Robby told me that he’d take care of all the arrangements so I could focus on all the other tasks I had on my plate.
In one email, my employer solidified three things:
- I am supported both professionally and personally.
- I work in a company that cares about its employees and the surrounding community.
- I am valued.
There are so many different aspects of my current position with AccelaWork that proves all of the above, but this story simply paints the picture of what it means to support and invest in employees.
Being genuinely interested and supportive of those that work alongside you is more than just thoughtful and kind. It’s incredibly smart. When you treat employees with respect and show them that they are more than just a cog in a machine, you are validating both their work and their value to the company. Investing in your employees the right way is a true gift and one that should be seen more often than not in business.
A special thanks to Robby Slaughter and AccelWork for the support and generosity!