No Thanks!

Last week’s issue of The Economist reported on “rogue employees” who can cause more damage to their company than competitors can. In a 2013 poll, it was discovered that 70% of companies report having employees who committed fraud of some kind: padding expenses, using company technology for their own purposes, or stealing corporate client lists.

Shocking, yes? But the article goes on to identify some pretty ugly ways of dealing with it. Use “spies” to hang around in the smoking room or go out for drinks after work. Employ forensic accountants. Listen to gossip. Yipes.

But they ended the discussion beautifully, noting that a recent study (by Accenture) found 43% of employees surveyed said they received no recognition for their work. None. The Economist’s suggestion? Treat your employees (and maybe other people too?) with respect.

Here’s one way to do that: use Closure Conversations regularly.

  • Acknowledge the facts of the matter: What they did, what you did, what happened.
  • Appreciate the person: Recognize something you value about them and/or what they have said or done. Say “Thanks!” every now and then, specifying what you are thanking them for – a good job, a good deed, or just being on time.
  • Apologize for mistakes and misunderstandings: This isn’t about anybody being right or wrong, it’s about pointing out mistakes and misunderstandings between you, and apologizing for your role in that. A little “ownership” goes a long way to close out the past and open the possibility of a new future.
  • Amend broken agreements: Reset your relationship in a way that supports you both, maybe changing some of the plans or understandings you had before, in a way that can set up a more satisfactory relationship going forward.

A relationship without even an occasional “Thank you” can become very strained. Maybe strained enough that you want to pad your expense report just to make up the deficit.

A healthy closure conversation is cheaper than a forensic accountant, and takes less time than hanging around the smoking room listening to gossip, right?

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