Any business that doesn’t place a high priority on employee appreciation is likely one that sees a fair degree of employee turnover. Back in the day, simply paying a worker on time—and perhaps presenting them with a cake on their five-year anniversary—was enough. But those days are gone.
Every employee you have represents an investment and asset to your business. In today’s red-hot job market, no business owner can afford to take a single employee for granted. Top performers want to be acknowledged for their contributions to the organization, or they may feel a need to move elsewhere—a dire scenario for any employer.
Employee appreciation “creates a positive work environment where employees challenge themselves to reach new levels of success,” notes the Huffington Post. In essence, recognition is “a form of validation,” confirming to employees that “they play a role in the company’s big picture and are therefore valued and needed.”
So what are the best ways to demonstrate employee appreciation?
Here are five great suggestions from TAB Members and others:
- A handwritten note goes a long way towards making a valued employee feel special.
- Encourage employees to shine by giving them “pet projects” to tackle on their own.
- Ask employees what they feel passionate about outside of the workplace.
- Host a free, informal lunch where employees can bond over some good food.
- Provide timely feedback—be it praise or constructive criticism—on a regular basis.
Here are other appreciation tips to keep in mind:
Offer praise and acknowledgement for specific achievements.
A generalized “Great job!” isn’t sufficient to convey a sense of appreciation for your employees’ efforts. Instead, when a project reaches completion or a big sale is made, publicly acknowledge the employee or employees involved by specifically praising what they did to reach the desired objective. This approach reinforces the types of behavior that lead to success.
Express gratitude through trust.
You don’t have to always use praise as a means of showing your appreciation. Demonstrating trust in an employee achieves the same result. Instead of falling into the “micromanagement trap,” embrace the opportunity to delegate key tasks. Doing this sends the message to everyone in the organization that you trust an individual or team to get the job done.
Plan a big Employee Appreciation Day.
Dedicating an entire day to appreciation ups the ante on how much time and effort an employer is willing to commit on behalf of his or her team. But rather than rely on your own guess as to what would make such a day really special, survey the workforce to see what they might find the most desirable way to mark the event. Other considerations:
Generally speaking, it’s better to schedule an Employee Appreciation Day during company hours. Don’t make employees take a weeknight or weekend day to celebrate.
Make gifts worth something. Prizes or gifts to employees should reflect your high regard for their services. Such prizes may be promotional items as long as they’re not cheap or poorly made.
Focus on fun! To counter the typical stress of the work environment, offer games or activities “that will leave your employees feeling relaxed or having great laughs together,” advises NH Business Review. Ideas can range from “free chair massage [to] goofy games or a montage of baby pics of your employees.”
Appreciating your employees isn’t something you should do or have to do. It means more to your team if they feel you genuinely want to show how much you value the work they do.