June 13, 2011

Importance of Employee Validation

It is validation that drives the motivation and engagement of your employees. You validate your employees when you communicate, connect with, and acknowledge them and their opinions. Validation is a sign of respect.
On May 25, 2011, Oprah Winfrey finished her 25th television show. During her final episode Oprah shared what she learned and what the show has meant to her. One of the most meaningful things she said that hit home to me as a management trainer and consultant was: "I've talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: 'Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?'"
Do you see and hear your employees? Do what they say matters to you? Here are a few ways you can show employee validation:
  • Ask Their Opinions – Employees have a view point which may differ from yours since they do the work on a day-to-day basis. Asking their opinions on issues related to their work and then acting on their suggestions shows validation.
  • Be Available for Questions– By being open to questions from employees you will learn what concerns them and perhaps find out training needs or barriers that are preventing them from moving forward. This demonstrates that you are willing to make time for them and their issues.
  • Provide Recognition – Show your employees that you have noticed their work and appreciate their efforts. Give them credit for their ideas and suggestions when speaking with others. Your employees will see that their work really matters to you and feel validated.
  • Complete Performance Reviews on Time – Employees know when their review is due, when their manager is late completing it, they feel unvalued.. When their manager completes the form and has a performance discussion on time, it gives employees the impression that they are worthy of their manager's time and attention.
  • Smile – As you pass your employees make eye contact, smile, and say hello. So many managers walk quickly by their employees without acknowledging them making them feel “invisible”. A simple smile says “I see you and I value you”.
Next month’s blog post…another lesson from Oprah Winfrey: “Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world."

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