08/04/2011

'The 'Wall of Lurve''

By Jason Sullock, New Customer Marketing Manager, Sage

A fantastic manager once told me 'the people issues are the hardest part of any management job'.

It sounds obvious, but it's only when you actually have to do it, that you realise how true this is. And only by treating your people as individuals will you succeed. Get it wrong and it can be a mine-field of opinion, Employment Law, tribunals, heartache and resentment.

When I heard about the ‘Wall of Lurve’ I was very skeptical, and when I first heard we were going to do it, my instinctive reaction was 'where's my sick bucket'.

It had been suggested at one of those team-building-get-to-know-your-colleagues-away-day-things. You know, the 'how can we all get along better' type of meetings.

But, I'm not ashamed to say I was totally wrong, and that it works. I've seen it work. And there's a lesson in it for me, and potentially for all of us.

Like all good ideas, it is very simple. It's based on the belief that although people come to work 'to work', they would actually like to enjoy themselves too. So when someone you work with has done a good job, it would be nice for you to praise them openly and in public. That way they increase their feeling of worth and have pride in the work they do.

The way we decided to do this was by creating 'The Wall of Lurve' as it affectionately became known.

The wall is an area of the office where you can attach a personalised thank you to your colleagues. These thank you messages are then read out each month by the Head of Department/Boss/Manager.

Now, let me say that when I first saw this great blank area, I was thinking 'Nope... never going to get filled', but I looked on in disbelief as day after day somebody added a new note, and then in amazement as the board started to look crowded... and then I started to think 'Good grief... this is actually going to work'.

When Matt (Matt Forrest - Twitter username @MattForrestv1 - you might like to follow him) stood up that Tuesday for the morning meeting, the Wall of Lurve was full, and he read out every single thank you.

And when there are over forty of you in the same team, and you're hearing how much appreciation your colleagues have for you, that's a mighty big pat on the back. It puts a spring in your step, and helps you through the niggles of your job.

But can I be certain it works?

Not absolutely, but we've just had our latest annual employee survey, and our team has gone from having fairly average positivity scores, to having the highest scores in the whole of the UK workforce for our company.

I'm not sure how much of an effect The Wall of Lurve has had, but I am certain that saying 'thank you' has had a part to play in it.

I have a great team - Guy Donathy, Sarah Woods, Paul Crosby and Mel Dawson - and they do a fantastic job every single day. I always try to thank them personally for it, but perhaps sometimes, just sometimes, you need to do something more... you need to thank your team in public.

Having seen it work... I can't suggest a more effective way than having a 'Wall of Lurve'.

No single article can cover the whole range of HR advice, but this white paper on Human Resources will help you begin to understand what you might need to do to help manage your people.

What it covers:

1. HR - the facts

2. What if I get HR wrong?

3. How do I get HR right?

4. HR - Your questions answered.

5. HR in your business - how clued up are you?

Twitter: @sageuk
Website: www.sagehello.co.uk

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