Having worked for a couple of startups in my lifetime, I suppose I have a bit of a skewed expectation of what a workplace should be like. While I understand that in bigger operations, you can't always have that seat-of-your-pants excitement that comes from getting something in under the wire because things are more streamlined and templatized . (And, for the record, the English major in me just died a little when I used the word "templatized.")
But one thing that is often missing from the bigger companies that doesn't have to be is your enthusiasm.
I'm not talking manufactured enthusiasm like having groups of employees huddle at certain times in the day and then breaking with a big whoop. And I'm not talking about phony enthusiasm that some managers use to "recognize" employees so they'll stay motivated: "John did an outstanding job of logging on to his computer today!"
I'm talking about your garden-level oh-look-something-good-happened-let's-recognize-it enthusiasm.
It just seems to me that bigger corporations think they're too cool to show any kind of enthusiasm for things achieved by employees if they don't involved a marked change in the earnings board. I know that it's easier to judge success by ROI, but there are a good many things that happen in the "day-to-day" that are just as remarkable, if only to the groups that accomplish them.
It seems like every time employees do hear some good news (like "We had a good third quarter."), it's always tempered by something ("But we're still cautious going into the end of the year.") Is this some kind of tactic to keep employees from getting their hopes up or letting their guard down? If so, I don't agree with that technique.
How about telling the gang they had a great third quarter, mention a few people by name who helped make it happen (and not just those who are high-profile to begin with), and express some excitement and gratitude to employees?
You want your employees to strive for your company, show them you recognize it and you're just as excited by their accomplishments as they are. There's nothing unprofessional or unseemly about enthusiasm.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.