Appreciate Your Employees

Most valuable resource for bosses

By Barbara Pierce

Many employees find their workplace is stressful, grueling, and hostile. Rand Corporation researchers, who completed a survey of American workers aged 21 to 71, were surprised to learn how pressured and hectic many found their work. A large percentage felt their boss didn’t really care about them.

Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than any other life stressor.

We asked Dr. Joe Martin, founder and CEO of Function Better Physical Therapy, for his opinion. Under the leadership of Martin, who is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist, Function Better has locations in Clinton, Herkimer, New Hartford, Oneida, Rome, Utica and Yorkville, with a large number of employees.

“This is the number-one thing business owners get wrong,” Martin said. “They don’t realize the importance of their human resources: their people. Without their employees, the organization wouldn’t exist.”

“I have a vision for my business — to help as many people as I can,” he said. “And having a vision for your business is of great importance.”

“But you’ve got to place equal value on your employees. Put this at the same level of priority as your vision,” he stressed.

Studies have shown that employees with high job satisfaction are generally more productive, engaged and loyal to their companies. Each employee is a valuable addition to your team, and it’s important they feel that way.

Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their boss are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for their part of a project.

“To keep employees, let them know in many ways how valuable they are to you,” Martin added. “Appreciate them, let them know you appreciate them, let them know you care. Appreciate them in action, not just with words.”

Martin gave an example of how he showed appreciation for an employee. The wife of an employee was diagnosed with cancer. The couple had three young children. Martin thought to himself: “They’re going through such stress and struggles and despair. How can we show them we care? How can I help lessen their burden?”

Stepping up for staff

Martin came up with a plan. He offered to take care of medical bills that insurance did not cover.

“It made a powerful statement to the employee and his wife: ‘Wow! He really cares!’”

Another employee, who was part time so she did not have vacation time, wanted to take a week off to get married. Martin gave her the week off with pay to thank her for her loyalty to the company. Then, soon after the marriage, the husband became ill, and did not have health insurance to pay his medical bills. “So I put extra money in her paycheck each week,” Martin said.

“Maybe I have to cut my own salary to help my employees out like this, but it is a powerful statement; it shows them how valuable they are to me,” he said.

Go above and beyond to personally help your employees, experts say. It isn’t enough to simply assist them with work issues — a great leader should keep his eyes open for ways to help out with personal issues as well.

“It’s important to recognize that the people who work for us have lives outside of our business,” Martin added. “They’re mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, maybe even grandmothers and grandfathers.” “Take an interest in who they are. Everyone’s got a story; everyone goes through things in their personal life, tough times. Show you have concern for your employee’s life outside of work.”

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