Can WWI Remembrance Help Us Bring Out the All-Stars in Our Company?

Do you have an all-star employee in your company? Someone who strides into your workplace every day full of energy and passion, and excited to partner with you to achieve your wildest dreams. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every single one of your employees was an all-star?

The truth is it’s getting harder and harder for people to fully bring themselves to work. There are distractions and pressures all around them. The workplace is becoming more challenging with the pace of change rising. New technologies are automating jobs and creating a whole new set of required skills. Then there are the financial pressures at home with rising housing costs. Ian 1950 only 7% of families were managed by single parents. Today it’s 32%.

Is it any wonder your employees aren’t dancing in the hallways?

Recognizing all-stars

My grandfather was an all-star. He joined the Canadian Army and fought in both WWI and WWII. He rose to the rank of Major-General and served as the Adjutant-General at National Defense Headquarters. Despite all the pressures and horrible situations that he found himself in during those war years, he remained committed and engaged with the Canadian Armed Forces.

remberance day vimy memorial Canadian cultureThis past summer, I had the opportunity to visit Canadian War Memorials in Brussels and France. The Brooding Soldier in Ypres is a wonderful recognition of the soldiers who served in the area. And then there’s the striking, tall and white Vimy Memorial. Let’s just say I was never more proud to be a Canadian than to see how our country chose to commemorate those who fought on the ridge.

The value of being valued

Feeling valued is one of our most basic needs. For the families of those soldiers who lost their lives, having the value of their service acknowledged via the many memorials across Europe is something special. Thousands pilgrimage to these sites each year to honor them.

What are you doing to make your people feel valued? Have you created a company culture that makes it easy for them to do their very best work? When their day is done, does anyone thank them for their contribution? When the annual report gets published and you highlight all the successes of the company, do you acknowledge, publicly, the efforts of your employees?

The cost of showing gratitude

When we were looking to enhance our organizational culture with an emphasis on reward and recognition, our leadership team decided that we were going to commit to giving out one thank-you every day.  How many times do you, say “thank-you”?  Not just a thank-you for completing a report or answering a question. I’m talking about an authentic thank-you that includes why you’re thanking them, calling out specifically how they’ve contributed. Does your leadership team demonstrate this behavior by thanking each other in a way that’s visible to your employees?

It was a new muscle for each of us and to help build it, we would report each day to one another on the thank-you we had handed out. It wasn’t a costly perk all wrapped up in fancy pool tables, celebratory dinners or gift certificates. They were heartfelt words given in the moment.

The Thank You Challenge

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we honor those who have served our country. I believe we should also use this time to reflect on each and every one of our employees who serve in our workplace. They want to contribute fully. They want to add value. And they want to know that you care.

It’s been 100 years since the end of WWI. I challenge you to say thank-you 100 times to employees over the next 100 days. It will be a test of how often we actually show our appreciation while we move through our days full of meetings, emails, and analysis. This challenge is one way to honor those members of our families who fought for freedom, and to honor the people in our organizations who fight through personal challenges, as well as workplace challenges, to do their very best.

Could you use more all-stars in your organization? Creating a company culture of appreciation and gratitude will help get you there.

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