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Are You Making Your Employees a High Priority?

By: Kevin Gardner

​Do you want to assist your employees unlock their full potential? Well, then show them your genuine care. However, if you are already doing plenty of it, then consider the fact that 31% of employees perceive their bosses as being unappreciative of them. In 2015, a study on the well-being of employees by O.C. Tanner Institute reported a five-point average rating by employees on their life at work out of the ten-point scale. They reported having realized insignificant improvement in their well-being within the five years.

However, when you invest the time to acknowledge your employee’s efforts and show them that they are a high priority, they will be happier, more present and productive. The benefit of it all is that it is a win-win situation. A happy and satisfied employee exhibits high morale, better customer service and high levels of productivity. Don’t you want to be the beneficiary? Here are 4 key aspects to accomplish this:

Make Their Work Painless
Everyone knows how it feels to work in a job that is unorganized and frustrating. Working in teams feels messy and it seems like time is wasted on simple tasks because of lack of communication. Do your part to make sure your employees aren’t feeling this discouragement. There are plenty of technologies, such as a free database that keeps your team working in one area with all information on hand.

Relate to them
Have you ever been in an organization in which the executives have reserved parking spaces and require you to carry their baggage when travelling? If yes, then you definitely have first-hand experience of how it feels knowing that your boss doesn’t care much about you or make you a high priority. If you sense that your employee is having a problem, relate to your past similar experience and share with him or her on what you did or didn’t do to overcome it. As a leader, you will always find yourself on your subordinates’ pedestal. Rather than ignoring their situations, put yourself to their level through showing that your own imperfections and vulnerability helps them conquer their challenges.

Maintain an Open-Door Policy
As a leader, it is quite common and easy to get overwhelmed in the day-to-today grind and never get the chance to interact with your workers outside of making follow-ups on reports and duties delegated. However, showing that you appreciate and acknowledge them as people is as important as demonstrating that you value them as employees. The greatest way of doing that is by chatting with them even on matters outside of work.

Leave your door open and inviting (by putting a jar of candy on your table) and engage your employees in casual chats as they pass by. Inquire about their well-being, their hobbies, their families among others. Getting to know more about your employees will signify that they are valued and not seen as mere workhorses.

Treat Your Workers
As obvious as it might seem, a treat goes a long way in extending your appreciation and showing your employees are a high priority. Surprise your employees with afternoon coffee and donuts, order in a lunch for the team once in a while or fix a happy hour with them on the calendar. Let the employees know that you are footing the bill.

Healthy meals delivered to employees can go a long way in keeping them happy and healthy. The type of food and beverages you provide your employees directly impact the way they feel, and perform, the energy they have, their ability to focus and their long-time health.

Emphasize on Brand and Mission
Ensure that you communicate your brand and mission clearly and simply. For instance, if you are running a restaurant, note that your mission should be more than just serving food to your customers. What other value are you adding to your customers? Are you establishing a sense of belonging? Do you exist to brighten their day? Do you strive to sponsor families and enjoy moments together? It is prudent to consider and integrate the emotional benefits you want your business to deliver.

Also, remind your workers regularly regarding your mission and brand in a manner that will motivate and inspire them. Append a note on a bulletin board, send them a text or voice mail or supply them with a handwritten note when they report to work. Communicate the mission in a clear and succinct statement.

Simply put, it takes time to create a present and actively engaged team of employees. All in all, ensure to start immediately and lead by example.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.