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Author's profile photo Jason Cao

Coach’s Corner – How We Are Valued

People go where they are welcomed, and stay where they are valued.

A welcoming and inclusive neighbourhood, community, team or business makes us want to be part of it. However, this inviting feeling is only a start, and much more is needed for us to feel we belong and want to stay.

Several recent conversations about family and career reminded me of the important role that those around us have in creating our sense of security and purpose. In one conversation, a colleague spoke of how involving her mother in preparing their Christmas dinner last year transformed the elderly woman from a guest in their house to an active member in their home (and ultimately, their family). In a separate coaching conversation, another colleague wonders how the “Dream Team” he just joined can make him feel so unmotivated only a month into the job.

There is a larger ‘disconnect’ in our society these days – we’ve taken each other for granted, and turned human relationships into transactions. In human resources management, attracting talent and retaining talent are treated as two separate things. Businesses manage customers the same way – with pre-sales teams focused on prospecting versus post-sales teams focused on maintenance activities. How are the experiences for employees and customers in these cases? Now that they’ve arrived, will they stay?

Retention should be part of the acquisition – meaning anyone in charge of bringing onboard or welcoming new people should also be partially responsible for retaining them. I say “partially” because there are many others who could and should be involved in fostering this relationship. As a career coach, I will focus on the workplace scenario, and list a few ways we can make employees feel valued:

  • Recognize their skills and knowledge. Apply their expertise at the right level such that their experiences are honoured and utilized (see Christmas dinner example above), rather than wasted. Yes, this means you need to put in the effort of getting to know the individual!
  • See their potential. Look to the future, and invest in their development personally and professionally. Talent acquisition is often costly, and organizations who think simply in terms of ROI once someone comes onboard is still stuck in the transactional-mindset, and missing the greatest asset under their noses – the person’s potential.
  • Democratize recognition. Give everyone (not just managers) in the organization the ability to recognize and praise each other for the help or good work they are doing. At SAP, employees use a tool to recognize one another for demonstrating any of our core behaviours such as “break down silos” or “keep the  promise.” The recipient’s manager is also alerted to the recognition.
  • Say “Thank you!”

What other ways can we show others we value them? Please add your comments below.


Check out more blog posts in this series: Coach’s Corner.

[Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash]

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      Author's profile photo Susan Keohan
      Susan Keohan

      Hi Jason,

      I am not a 'boss' but I can tell you that when somebody actively listens to my concerns (no matter how minor!) it feels much better than someone who is just trying to get me out of their office.
      A little active listening could go a long way.



      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Sue,

      Thank you for sharing your perspective and for adding this reminder. This is very true - to give someone time and attention by actively listening is to truly honour and value them. I appreciate you reading this blog and adding your comment and wisdom!