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How naysayers could boost your business


The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you keep your best employees?” is by Peter Vanderheyden, president of Article One Partners.

People are the lifeblood of a successful business. Leaders are reminded of this every time they lose a good employee, and perhaps even more so, when they have to deal with poor performers. So how can you keep good employees? Two words: appreciate them. Yes, that’s it. Although this sounds simple, it’s easier said than done for most people. Appreciation is the best way to recognize and reward employees for their hard work. When you recognize good work everyone wins—your employees, the business and your customers. Here are eight easy ways to show your appreciation:

Provide the freedom to perform
Appreciate an employees ability to get a job done, regardless of how they get it done. Agree on goals together, and then give your employees the tools and flexibility they need to work. Coach, advise and respond to their requests for help, but otherwise get out of their way.

Fairly compensate employees
And I don’t just mean monetary compensation. A total compensation package includes flexible work hours, PTO, health benefits, etc. Don’t hide behind an HR hand book. People are individuals and their contributions are specific; their compensation should reflect this.

Reward good work
Recognizing small accomplishments is equally as important as recognizing large ones. Showing recognition can be as simple as sending a quick email or personal note to the individual. And if it’s something you wish to share with the entire company or department, do so. In other words, reinforce good behavior as often as possible.

Outline performance goals
Performance plans should be more than a piece of paper; they should be a roadmap to how an employee can add value to the business. Develop them together and review them throughout the year to ensure the goals are achieved.

Encourage dissenting opinions
I get really nervous when everyone agrees with me all the time. It’s a red flag to me that we’re not being innovative enough. Seek varying opinions and make most decisions as a team, unless your gut tells you otherwise. Gather a consensus when you can, but not to the point of paralysis.

Communicate effectively
Try your best to keep all of your employees informed on new initiatives, company policies, new hires, etc. This is not always easy, especially for remote teams, but it’s important. Picking up the phone definitely beats email in my opinion. However, truly effective communication requires using multiple platforms and effort on both ends.

Respect boundaries
Some employees appreciate being asked about their weekend and enjoy talking about their home/family life. Others are protective and won’t share anything. Try to understand their comfort zone and respect what they are and aren’t willing to share.

Get employees on the right bus
This point was made popular in the book Good to Great by James C. Collins. Essentially, this means people need to get on the right track before they can decide how to move forward. Helping employees “get on the right bus” is a great way to show appreciation and get them to perform at their very best. This can be difficult at times, but it’s critical for mutual success.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you keep your best employees?

What every employee can teach their boss by Carmencita Bua, COO of Continuum.

The secret to keeping your best employees by John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft.

5 things ‘Office Space’ can teach you about employee retention by Steve Sims, chief digital officer at Badgeville.

Free food is a poor excuse for company culture by Ryan Smith, CEO and founder of Qualtrics.

What Steve Jobs taught executives about hiring by Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV.

How this ex-Apple executive keeps his employees happyby Bob Borchers, senior vice president and CMO at Dolby Laboratories.

9 ways to recruit extraordinary employees by Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group.

Why this CEO encourages failure in the workplace by Amy Errett, CEO and co-founder of Madison Reed.

Sarah Kauss: Why a pay bump isn’t the answer to employee happiness by Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S’well.

The one perk that will guarantee employee happiness by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.

The secret to holding on to your best employees by Amit Srivastav, president of Infinite.

3 ways to prevent your employees from quitting by Niraj Shah, CEO of Wayfair.