Quite early on in my interim career I took a gig for three months as a management accountant.
It was a very big company, going through a lot of change and I thought I was doing a pretty good job- at first.
But there were some odd things.
Like my manager never said well done for any piece of work I submitted.
Now as an interim it doesn’t surprise me that I am not treated like a close family member but the odd ‘thank you wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Then there was the weekly report
Every week one of my jobs was to submit a weekly report to a fairly anonymous email address.
Nobody knew who it belonged to. I asked around but came up blank.
I asked my manager if it was important – after all if no-one was reading the report why were we doing it?
He said as long as we were being paid we shouldn’t complain.
So I put in a couple of tiny errors to see if someone noticed.
Then I put a great big error in to see what happened. (It was in bold and underlined too).
Finally I stopped sending the report and guess what happened?
I had no idea what my work meant
So it turned out that I was doing all this work and it wasn’t being read.
It seemed like my job was just make-work so that the department could keep its numbers up.
I asked my manager about this and he just shrugged his shoulders.
And then my contract came up for renewal
So here I was doing a job that wasn’t important and that nobody was bothered about.
I didn’t even know if I was doing it well
And nobody mentioned extending my contract so I assumed that they were just going to let it lapse ( I later learned that this is what normally happens)
To protect myself I put some calls in and found myself some work and gave my manager notice for my expected contract end date.
And then something odd happened
He called me into the office and told me what an amazing job I had been doing, how much he valued my work and how much my being with the company had helped.
But it was too late. Although having gushing praise is lovely, I’d already committed to my new workplace.
So what should he have done
This is the important lesson – you should always give people a sense of where they fit in
Let them know how much their work means
How much they are helping you
Give them a vision of where the company would be without them and you’ll see their engagement rocket.
And don’t wait until your staff are heading out of the exit door. Make sure you value them publicly, little and often.
Oh and of course you should use the cheapest and easiest form of morale boosting you can – saying thank you – regularly.