It’s no secret that many faculty and staff feel underappreciated and under compensated. While some reports suggest that quite a few do, there have been a large number of employees who feel otherwise.
It’s also no secret that a group of people who don’t feel valued is bad for morale. This means less productivity; things simply aren’t getting done and jobs aren’t being finished.
This can lead to the professoriate feeling stressed and anxious during a job they should love doing.
Imagine working a job where your efforts aren’t recognized, the work you do is ignored, and you feel like you’re replaceable in an instant. It isn’t fun, is it? That said, here several specifically-designed methods for helping faculty feel appreciated and to keep them chugging along.
1. Communicate Openly
A general pat on the back and “good job!” isn’t sufficient to make most people feel appreciated.
Employees need to feel as though they can discuss everything with their bosses — even the negative news.
As people, we should feel free to communicate with each other. This feeling extends to friendships and relationships (such as with spouses, marriages and family, etc.). However, communicating is much more than talking. It’s about sharing experiences and emotions with each other.
This means opening up with each other about both positives and negatives — whatever they may be.
As such, it’s advisable to be as open and transparent with faculty as possible — about their job performance, what you expect from them, any organisational news that’s occurring, etc. Don’t be afraid to bite the bullet and share any bad news, either. Doing so only prevents people from performing at their peak.
Additionally, communicating frequently also presents many opportunities to openly acknowledge any triumphs or criteria surpassing. You can do this with straight verbal exchanges. However, research has shown that many people express greater bouts of joy over small gifts such as handwritten cards or small, inexpensive trinkets.
A long time ago, a manager of mine – recognizing how hard I had been working and staying late – gave me a box of hot cocoa mix, with marshmallows included. Who doesn’t love hot chocolate?
2. Inspire Passion
When people do work they’re passionate about, it’s easier to feel good about the job. (This isn’t science, true. But you’d be surprised how many people work at jobs they hate, and are unhappy with.)
How do you help someone feel passionate for what they’re doing? Encourage them in what they do! Think about training a puppy: when it sits on command, you give it a treat, right? Then you’re happy for its progress and shower it in joy for listening.
You don’t have to go to that extreme with employees, but research has shown that people who are encouraged for their individuality perform significantly better at their duties.
3. Offer Half-days
If certain faculty members’ students get favorable scores during tests and exams, then those members are steering their future prodigies in the right direction.
After a particularly successful quarter, why not offer half-days on every Friday until the next quarter ends?
I know of no one who wouldn’t benefit from half-days. And no one has to be sold on how gruelling life has become, with it often feeling like a 24/7 rat race. A half-day every Friday is certainly a morale booster – and makes the week seem brighter.
4. Develop Their Skills
Chances are, your faculty feel the same way. Any institution becomes a compartment of humdrum fragments and redundancy. The days become vapid and stagnant; going to work becomes a chore that not even the sweetest paycheck can make fruitful.
This is why pushing staff’s buttons and encouraging them to improve their natural skills is key: to get their cognitive wheels turning means their minds are burning with life.
You can be the initial spark by offering training opportunities or online courses in their chosen field. Take note of who each individual is, note the aspects and attributes that makes them unique, then assign them tasks (or create some) accordingly.
5. Take Them Out
Often, the people you work with “in the office” are completely different away from work.
When I was in college, I had a professor who allowed absolutely no swearing in his classroom. He encouraged casual conversations, of course. But absolutely no cursing or “adult language” of any kind was permitted.
Imagine my shock when, weeks later I spot him at one of my favorite watering holes. He was there with his friends, swearing up and down the walls like a sailor. It was a shock to say the least.
I would have been less surprised if I knew, at the time, that although most people behave naturally in their work environments, they freely “let loose” in their most comfortable places. Because none of us are managers or employees or workers – we’re all people.
how faculty members you want to get to know them for them, as they are. You can do this by inviting them out for a round of drinks (or perhaps a karaoke night). If you haven’t already taken advantage of the situation, you can even take them out for a slice of pizza for lunch.
Any celebratory gathering/party that takes everyone out of their workplace personas is definitely encouraged.
6. Sleep Through It
Days are hard, exhausting, and long. They can pile up on you if you challenge them, head-on, day after day. Handling students endlessly, year after year, takes its toll on certain individuals. I would imagine life becomes a hazed blur – and unimportant.
This is why it is crucial to encourage faculty to take a 20-minute power nap throughout the day. Researchers confirmed that we are heavily overworked, and often not performing at our peak level.
Other researchers also discovered that 20-minutes of “sleep” a day changes that. In fact, some wealthy entrepreneurs swear by taking power naps during the day; arguing that the way to be more productive is to take more breaks.
Exciting news for the world of sleep-lovers, but even more exciting for task conquerors who love going to war with to-do lists and checklists.
7. Give Them Time Off
Earlier in the article I suggested giving valued faculty a small gift. Well, a huge gift would be to give them time off – perhaps an extra day or two.
The reasoning behind this is simple: life is short. Even people who love their jobs need time away from it. Whether that be an extra day or two, any amount of outward appreciation is worth it, and gives faculty a time to explore their lives outside work.
It doesn’t have to be routine, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expected.
We are people, we aren’t machines or drones. We don’t have the capability of repeating humdrum tasks daily. Showing faculty how much you value them isn’t hard. At the end of the day, all you need to do is show a little humanity.
Featured photo credit: Wokandapix via pixabay.com