Becky Lewis : Staying Engaged and Loving the Job You’re In

If you are lucky, you meet people in your life that inspire you. Becky Lewis is one of those people for me.  At Wynn when I was new to the hotel division, I felt a bit like an outsider – the newbie.  Becky was one of the most confident people I had ever seen.  She was surrounded by people who were always laughing and she appeared to be the epitome of “one of the cool kids”. 

The first time we actually talked, she had just called off her wedding, just days before the big event.  I found her sitting alone in the employee cafeteria and, like in high school, I awkwardly approached with my tray and asked if I could join her.  I think I said something like “what you did is the bravest thing I’ve heard anyone do in a very long time”.   Of course, at the time, I was in an unhealthy relationship and didn’t have the guts to end it.  To me, this act of bravery, with so many witnesses, was an inspiration.  Shortly after, while borrowing some of Becky’s confidence and bravery, I got myself out of that bad relationship, and Becky and I have been close friends ever since. 

Becky is one of the few people who makes me laugh so much that I have to stop myself from walking just to catch my breath. When you find people in your life who inspire you and who are brave, and make you laugh, grab them and never let go. 

Please enjoy Becky’s guest contribution to this blog and I hope it makes you smile as much as it’s made me smile.

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The typical flow of a career is supposed to follow an uphill path. You interview, get hired, do a good job, get promoted and keep climbing the ladder. With each promotion and added responsibility you update your resume to show how special and valuable you are. You feel value with each promotion you earn. But what happens when you don’t want to get promoted?

You finally are in a position you love…the work is rewarding, the pay is good, the schedule is perfect and you realize that you don’t want any more promotions. Wait, what?!?  You don’t want a promotion?!?  How can this be?!?  It’s a place that not everyone gets to and it is a bizarre concept. We spend all our professional lives striving for more. It’s how we feel good about ourselves and how those around us recognize us for our achievements.

Welcome to my world. I have a job that I love, at a company that is beyond compare and I don’t want a promotion. I fought for years to create the position I am in and to build a department with amazing people and to do the work that values our company… and it’s great.  The schedule allows me to enjoy time with my family and my stress level is typically low and manageable.

Now comes the tricky part…how do you stay passionate about a job that is not going up that proverbial hill?  We’ve all been there at work…stagnant, disengaged, in a funk.  As happy as you may be in any job, it is still difficult to stay enthusiastic and maintain that level of reward and recognition that one would normally get from being promoted.

This is where having a life comes into play. I chose to stay right where I am professionally because I know that my work is rewarding for me and having a life work balance is extremely important to me as well. In making that decision, I have to consistently remind myself to stay positive at work by reminding myself about the parts of my job that are better than anyone else’s.

But, more importantly, I also have to live a life outside of work that allows me to feel rewarded and valued. I won many national championships with my horse, I got married, I went back to school and got a degree, I had two kids back to back, I ran a marathon. I’ve done a lot. I know it. My loved ones know it. My work family knows it. I am valuable. I am smart. And I don’t need to be promoted at work to find the value that we often search for.

Yes, I know that I sound like a SNL skit…”I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And dog-gone-it, people like me!”

So, here’s my advice for you… figure out what makes your heart sing both at work and at home and go do those things!  Life is not a competition…but it is about what makes you feel rewarded, fulfilled and making sure there is room in your life for all of it.  Be you, be motivated, be happy and stop worrying about the next step!

 

Please join the conversation….

Vol VII: Motivation Through Recognition

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Recognizing employee performance is one of the cornerstones of keeping employees motivated and engaged. In my article, “Setting the Stage”, I referenced positive recognition as being one of the key factors in creating a positive employee environment.

Recognizing your employees helps all your employees, the ones who are recognized feel appreciated and noticed by your thanking them for their level of effort and accomplishment. For other employees the recognition reinforces your corporate values by creating examples of the types of behaviors and efforts that you’ve rewarded.

In the best of environments, recognition will happen organically because managers pay attention to what their teams are doing and will notice which team members are excelling. In many situations, recognition can drop off of the radar as managers at all levels focus on efficiency or profitability, something the business is measuring explicitly. The importance of thanking people for doing their job well or going above and beyond expectations goes to the sidelines.

Recognition can take many forms, and not all employees will respond the same way to the same incentives. If you feel like you do praise and reward your employees but your employees don’t feel the same way, then you might not be recognizing them in a way that resonates with them. Once you understand who your employees are as individuals, you will know what’s important to them and what will make them feel recognized and motivated.

Here are some forms of recognition that can be used to personalize the experience for your employees based on what they are most comfortable with:

  • Public recognition – being positively recognized in front of peers and/or to other leaders
  • Monetary – bonuses, gifts or gift cards, increase in wage
  • Private moments – time with the boss – this could be one-on-one walking around the operation, coffee at a local shop, or even dedicated office time.
  • Added responsibility/empowerment – for some, added responsibility shows you trust them, so pile it on! They are ready, willing and able to show you they can succeed!

Understanding your employees as individuals will help you determine which form of recognition is appropriate for each person. For example, one person may take public recognition as form of motivation and continue to exceed expectations, while someone else may shy away from taking chances in the future out of fear of embarrassment.

Recognition is in the eye of the recipient, get to know what motivates your team and try to personalize your recognition to motivate and highlight to others what it means to be a high performer.

Please join the conversation….