Showing your employees that you appreciate them has become a hugely important part of leadership, specifically as we experience the “Great Resignation.” Employees have come to expect that their employers will recognize and appreciate their contributions and will leave jobs where this is not an active practice. There’s even an entire day dedicated to employee appreciation (the first Friday in March for those wondering)!
According to a recent survey conducted by Surveymonkey and Bonusly, “63% of people who are “always” or “usually” recognized at work consider themselves “very unlikely” to seek a new job in the next 3-6 months, whereas only 11% those who are “never” or “rarely” recognized feel the same way.” Getting deliberate about showing employee appreciation has the ability to not only increase employee retention but to directly impact the bottom line. Replacing employees in today’s market often means spending more on staff due to rising costs of living and competitive markets. The benefit of implementing simple, often free, appreciation and recognition strategies undoubtedly outweighs the time, effort and cost of recruiting new talent.
Ideas for Showing Employee Appreciation
1. Practice Appreciation at the C-level.
The majority of those who will be responsible for showing recognition will be middle-management. Avoid the trap of making a directive to your managers to begin showing appreciation if you as a C-level executive have failed to do so yourself. Managers also benefit as the recipients of appreciation and are arguably the least likely to get it. If you are a leader of an organization who sees employee appreciation as a retention tool, start by engaging in the practice yourself and getting deliberate about showing appreciation to your own direct reports.
2. Handwrite a thank you note.
The art of the thank you note has been devalued in recent decades with our incredible advancements in technology. Yet receiving a handwritten note, whether in the mail or in the office, is incredibly heartwarming because it’s so unexpected. Keep a stack of thank you notes handy and whenever you hear of anyone on your team who has achieved a milestone, completed a project or perhaps just shown true effort – write them a quick note. The few minutes spent on this task will garner an incredible amount of goodwill.
3. Involve other leaders in the recognition process.
While it’s always nice to receive praise from those with whom you work closely, receiving words of appreciation from those outside your immediate orbit have a huge impact. As a leader, share the successes of your team with other leaders and encourage them to reach out with recognition as well.
4. Have an impromptu celebration.
Planned parties and events are fun, but coordinating an impromptu happy hour at the end of a long week goes a long way. Are you the leader of a virtual team? Fear not. Coordinate a zoom meeting and encourage everyone to bring their beverage of choice, or consider sending a meal delivery gift card ahead of time so team members can order themselves lunch.
5. Develop a program for recognizing professional milestones.
Consider developing a program focused on recognizing employees for professional achievements, such as work anniversaries (one year, five year, ten year, etc.) and promotions. You might consider tying a monetary award to such milestones or perhaps offering additional time off. Pair this with a note from the CEO, and employees will look forward to achieving these milestones, increasing both retention and productivity.
6. Invest in employee benefits.
One of the most strategic ways to show employee appreciation is by offering a competitive benefits package. While compensation is undoubtedly important, having a well-rounded benefit package can both attract and retain great colleagues. Consider increasing a 401(k) match, adding infertility benefits or increasing the amount of time off for new parents. Review your benefit offerings each year, and make changes to support the growing needs of your workforce. Actively communicating and celebrating these changes demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of your workforce.
7. Recognize employees during company-wide meetings.
While sharing appreciation privately is helpful, HBR suggests that “public recognition can feel more impactful to the recipient, and it can also boost motivation among all employees, including those who aren’t recognized themselves.” Reserving time during regularly scheduled company meetings to celebrate employee successes is a great way to make this a regular practice. Ensure you are recognizing people from all over the organization (not just those that directly impact sales and revenue!) and ask leaders to speak about their achievements.
8. Offer mindfulness and wellness-focused programs.
It’s no secret that employees are working hard these days. Considering engaging a local practitioner to offer regular meditation sessions – in person or virtually! – where employees can be guided through meditation at the beginning or end of their workday. Alternatively, if in the office, offer an outdoor yoga class or encourage the “walking meeting” to get fresh air.
9. Actively seek feedback.
While it might not be comfortable at first for you or the employee, get deliberate about requesting feedback on your leadership. Be specific. Let employees know that you value their input on a project or that you want to make sure you’re supporting them in ways that are meaningful. Demonstrating a little vulnerability will humanize the employee-manager relationship and create a meaningful connection between leaders and employees.
10. Share a Teamraderie Experience!
Teamraderie is here to support you in showing your employees how much you appreciate them. More than just a virtual experience, Teamraderie Enterprise is a complete approach to achieving and sustaining strong team morale at a global scale. Show your team how much you appreciate them while building skills and connection for a thriving workplace. Consider booking one of the experiences below to demonstrate your commitment to your workforce.