Either tell your employees how you appreciate them or fire them.
Strange? Not at all. Your employees deserve to know that you appreciate their hard work. And if you don't appreciate their hard work, then why on earth are you paying them? Get rid of them.
Oh wait, your business can't operate without your employees? You can't meet your deadlines, keep your clients and investors happy, or get product out the door without your employees.
I know what you're thinking: You're paying them, and they should be thankful to have a job in this environment. Spare me. You should be grateful to have employees willing to work for you. After all, without your employees you have no business.
So, as long as you're unwilling to fire your employees, and since you do appreciate their work, tell them. Tell them regularly. Point out specifics. Try things like this:
- Thanks for getting that power point deck done. I saw you emailed it a 9:30 last night. That shows dedication and I appreciate it.
- Great job handling that client phone call. She's not easy to deal with, is she?
- Can you take over this project? I'm swamped and I trust that you can do a great job on this, since you did such a great job on the last project.
- I saw the help desk call log. You guys get a lot of crazy requests. Thanks for keeping on top of it.
- Thanks for getting me the report.
See, it's not hard. It doesn't have to be fancy. It just needs to be said. And, the reality is, of they are happy, they'll do better work. So come up with something pleasant to say when you speak with your employees. Simply saying thanks when they do a task can go a long way towards making your employees happy. Of course, thank yous don't replace good salaries, bonuses and raises, but they keep your employees happy in the meantime.
And what if you have thought through all of this and you have employees who you truly do not appreciate, not one bit? Then, go back to the first sentence and fire them. Not to be mean, but because it's ridiculous to keep someone on your payroll who doesn't contribute to the health of your company. Additionally, this person will be happier in a job where she's appreciated.
Either way, do something. Tell your good employees thank you and get rid of the bad ones. It's the best way to start out a new year.