Employee Love: The best gift is appreciation, Bauer research shows

Published on February 2, 2018

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and it’s time to think about how managers can best show some (office-appropriate!) love to the people who serve companies and other organizations.

Balloons and candy are great, but research supports the importance of work/life balance. In particular, policies that encourage getting enough rest can  help decrease stress and increase productivity among employees, says Assistant Professor Tony Kong of Bauer’s Management Department.

“People get busy now and often have to sacrifice family time, they do overtime work, and they probably sleep less than seven hours (the minimum number for optimal performance). There is a psychological cost. The biggest takeaway is we need to respect our body. Sleep is an important resource. Everybody needs to make an effort to have a normal sleep pattern.”

The need for sufficient rest applies to both leaders and employees, says Kong, a co-author of “Too tired to inspire or be inspired: Sleep deprivation and charismatic leadership,” published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2016.

Another gift to bestow, this or any month, is treating employees as valued individuals rather than taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach to employee management, Kong says.

“The one-size-fits-all approach is really demotivating,” he says. “Humans are diverse. They have different needs, preferences and skill sets. If you can tailor work tasks to employees according to their idiosyncratic needs, preferences, and skill sets, in return, they actually want to do more for their organization or employer.”