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When is the last time you told one of your employees, “You mean so much to me!”

It’s still only the second month of 2015, and as Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey point out, what employers and supervisors do now will set the tone for many months to come.

“By now, last year’s reports are finally in,” explains Houlihan, co-author along with Bonnie Harvey of The Valentines-day-2012-greeting_04Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People (Footnotes Press, 2014, http://www.TheBarefootSpirit.com). “Find something positive in those reports that you can share with your people. This is the perfect opportunity to show them how much you appreciate their efforts on your company’s behalf.” “Send a ‘valentine’ that acknowledges them for a job well done,” adds Harvey.  The following are among their reasons why now is the perfect time to show some love to employees:

* Appropriate timing. What could be a better time to send an appreciative message to your folks than on a day when valentine cards are already being exchanged? “Your ‘valentine’ will fit right into the spirit of the day,” notes Houlihan. “It will be unexpected but welcomed, which will make it even more appreciated.”

* Improved performance. Acknowledgment and appreciation are still the best ways to validate positive behavior and encourage your people to perform. “Aside from income, one of the main reasons why they work for you is the satisfaction that comes from doing great work,” says Harvey. “And hearing from their respected leaders only adds to their positive feelings about their work. If you put your appreciation in writing, such as in a valentine, it will mean more to them than simple verbal recognition.”

th* Reduce turnover. Money isn’t the only reason employees leave your business to work for competitors. Often, they go because they don’t feel appreciated. “Too many employees say they made the move because their last company ‘just didn’t appreciate me!'” says Houlihan. “Don’t let that be the reason why you lose your top people. If you do, you’ll lose corporate know-how, critical relationships, the cost of replacement, and even your customers.”

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