If you want your business to excel, your employees need to feel appreciated. When they don’t, their passion for their work wanes, and they start to give it less effort. But when your employees feel valued, they’re motivated and engaged. They put more into their work, which benefits the company in obvious ways.
Expressing employee appreciation can be a little intimidating at first, but employee appreciation programs help make it easy for management to build great habits. With an employee appreciation program, management should strive to:
- Express appreciation verbally
- Celebrate employee accomplishments with awards and other incentives
- Cultivate a workplace culture of fun and positivity
Express Verbal Appreciation Often
Sixty percent of Gallup survey respondents have said they quit a job because they didn’t feel appreciated. One of the most important things you can do to make employees feel appreciated and valued is to express your appreciation verbally and often. Don’t be afraid to offer reassuring, affirming words of appreciation and gratitude to your employees when they deserve it. Say things like, “Thanks for getting that done so quickly,” or “Great job on the presentation.”
Don’t underestimate the value of simply saying thank you or responding to an email just to let the sender know you’ve received and understood it. Feeling appreciated and valued makes people feel safe, boosts their energy, and supports their ability to do their best work. Notice what your employees are doing well, and let them know you’ve noticed. Whether you offer a handwritten note, an email, or a spoken comment, your employees will know that you’ve noticed their hard work, and they’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive because of it.
Celebrate Employee Accomplishments
Formal awards ceremony
A yearly awards ceremony in which glass awards are given to top-performing employees is just one of many ways to recognize and celebrate your employees’ accomplishments. While it’s important to recognize top performers in yearly ceremonies, it’s just as important to recognize the smaller accomplishments that take place on a daily basis – and you don’t have to budget a lot of money to do it.
Tokens of appreciation
Many employees will appreciate smaller rewards for their day-to-day accomplishments. Reward an employee with a small gift that reflects his or her interests outside of work, such as a mug with his or her favorite cartoon character on it, or a new paperback from his or her favorite author. Of course, in order to find out this information, you’re going to need to engage in another important employee appreciation practice – speaking with your team members about the things that interest them personally for at least a few minutes on a regular basis.
Time off for a job well done
Material things aren’t the only way you can reward employees for their hard work. Employees also appreciate time to live their personal lives outside of work. Send an employee who’s worked exceptionally hard all week home a little early on Friday, or offer a few paid hours off a month so that employees can volunteer their time for causes that matter to them.
Cultivate a Fun and Positive Workplace Culture
Making fun and positivity a regular part of daily life at your company can go a long way towards helping employees blow off steam. Consider a monthly game day in which employees can compete in board games, video games, or sports matches. Offer fun rewards for employees who reach their goals, like tickets to a local sports match or a night at the amusement park. Team-building activities can be fun, too; consider a day of paintball or a city-wide scavenger hunt.
Cultivate an atmosphere of positivity by encouraging team members to express their appreciation for one another when warranted. Training activities can also encourage a positive attitude among your employees; ask them to discuss inspirational videos, for example, or use a company-wide employee recognition program to let team members reward one another for their hard work.
When you show your employees how much you appreciate them, they’ll repay the favor in the form of higher morale and harder work. Don’t underestimate how far a few words of praise and affirmation can go in keeping employees loyal – and attracting the best new candidates to your company.