Your team craves recognition, praise, and confidence from the agency’s leaders and there’s a way to make sure they get plenty.

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week coming to you from my home studio. You know, one of the things that I hear from agency employees all the time is that they don’t feel recognized. And in particular, they don’t feel recognized by you, the agency owner or the agency leaders. They want more thanks, attaboys, pats on the back, kudos, acknowledgements than we typically tend to give them. Now, I know that for many of you, you feel like this is sort of a never-ending need and no matter how grateful you are and no matter how many benefits you offer and no matter how many fill in the blanks, poor Bad Beth is never going to be happy. But really what Bad Beth wants – yes, she’s grateful for the benefits and the salary and the early Friday’s out and all of that sort of stuff, but what she really wants is she wants to know that you know what she’s doing and that she did a good job. She wants you to walk up to her or send her an email that says, “Hey Bad Beth, I just heard that you led a great client call and you were able to get the clients to approve all of the work that we’ve been trying to get them to approve for a month. Way to go! Thank you.” That’s what they want. They want us to acknowledge specific things that they’ve done that have made a difference. So, like all things in agency life, you’re super busy and if you don’t have a plan for this and it’s not organized, it’s not going to happen. So, there’s a three-part plan I want to suggest to you. Number 1, part 1, put it on your calendar, create a private event a couple of times a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Mondays and Wednesdays, I don’t care. Create a private event that reminds you that you need to give someone an attaboy at that moment, right? And again, you can send an email, you can get up out of your chair and you can walk down the hall and talk to them. You can do it in an all-team meeting. However you want to do it, whatever your style is, but the point is you need to do it and you need to do it every single week. The problem with that by itself is that we tend to give those attaboys or those kudos to the people that either we like the best, our favorite employees – I know we’re not supposed to have them – but our favorite employees or the people that we work closest with. There are people inside your organization that you probably don’t have a lot of visibility about what they do that is worthy of kudos or an acknowledgement. So, that’s where part 2 comes in. You need to make sure that you keep some sort of a spreadsheet or list so that you are spreading the kudos out. Now, what if somebody’s name, what if you cannot come up with a reason to give someone a kudo or an acknowledgement or a thank you? That should be a red flag to you that maybe they don’t belong on the bus. If you can’t come up with, over a month’s period of time or two month’s period of time, anything to thank me for as your employee or to give me a pat on the back or to tell me I did a good job without fabricating something or thanking me for something ludicrous, that is a sign to you that perhaps I’m a mediocre or bad employee and maybe I don’t belong there. So, again, put it on your calendar, create a spreadsheet so you spread the love evenly and fairly. And the third thing is you need some spies. So, this typically might be your leadership team or department heads or maybe one or two people in your agency that are just really plugged into what everybody is doing. Kind of depends on the size of your organization. But what you need to say to them is, “Hey, I’m going to go out of my way for the next several months and I’m going to try and do it all year every week to give somebody some acknowledgement for something they’ve done but I don’t always see it. So I need you to send me information about people on your team and something specific they did that I could acknowledge or I could thank them for.” And again, saying to them, “And if you can’t come up with something in a month for one of your team members, we need to talk about that team member.” So, again, it’s calendar it. Private event, of course. It is keep a spreadsheet so you spread the love evenly and fairly. And number 3, have some spies. I think you’ll be surprised at what it does for the morale of your organization and the relationship you have with your employees. They want to know you’re proud of them. They want to know you’re grateful to them for their effort. They want to know that you see them. It’s not that hard and it’s super important so give it a try. All right? I’ll see you next week.

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