5 Ways to Show Appreciation for your Employees
March 4 is National Employee Appreciation Day; a day to consider the importance of the relationship between employers and employees. The importance of appreciating the efforts of your team has become even more crucial since March of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic afforded employees an opportunity to consider whether the value they were receiving from their work was appropriate based on the skills and abilities they were bringing to the organization… and many people thought that value proposition was not in their favor. Employees have been leaving their jobs in record numbers in search of something more meaningful, engaging, and motivating.
The Great Resignation’s Effect on the Talent War
The Great Resignation has brought employee retention and recruiting to the forefront. Currently the focus is on attracting talent. Recruiters are working faster than ever before to ensure that interested candidates are not scooped up by another organization. Companies have had to re-evaluate the entire recruiting life cycle to be more flexible, more efficient, and more effective.
While the Great Resignation will eventually end, the war for talent is far from over. And while compensation, benefits, and career opportunities are great recruiting tools, your company culture not only drives employee engagement but also leads to higher retention rates.
Focus on Culture & Engagement to Boost Retention
Creating and sustaining an appreciative culture is not a one size fits all proposition. You need to determine what motivates, engages, and therefore retains your employees. The best way to determine how your employees like to be appreciated is to ask. Conducting an employee engagement survey is an effective way to determine key factors in retention across the organization. Engagement surveys provide you with powerful data and uncover hidden drivers of retention as well as areas that may be hurting your ability to retain your employees.
While engagement surveys will help you to target your retention efforts organizational, leaders and managers should be encouraged to find ways to appreciate their team in smaller, and often more meaningful ways. Leaders will need to know how their employees like to be thanked, because intention is not what matters here, it is the impact. Recognizing a shy and private person in a public way, while well intended, can backfire in your retention efforts.
5 Great Ways Leaders Can Show Appreciation
1. Say Thank You.
A genuine verbal or written “thank you” delivered in a public or private way means so much. Remember to be specific in your thanks. A simple “thanks for everything” can come off as disingenuous.
2. If you have a recognition program, use it.
Many organizations provide tools to recognize those you lead and your peers. Recognition programs focus on trends in recognition and can help leaders with creative ways to show appreciation.
3. Provide flexibility.
Employees want to know that you are supportive of their life outside of work. Be as flexible as you can with schedules and places where your employees can do work. Challenge yourself to break your mental framework and consider creative ways you can provide flexibility to your employees, while meeting the needs of the business. When you provide flexibility, you are also showing empathy, understanding, and kindness.
4. Give small, personal, and meaningful tokens of appreciation.
You do not need to spend a ton of money to make a significant impact with a small, personal gift. Consider providing a gift card to their favorite restaurant, flowers, candy, a book…. anything that has personal value.
5. Spread the word.
If you notice someone doing great things at work, bring it to the attention of others. If you are the employee’s leader, make sure that your boss knows. If you notice someone on another team, let their leader know. Catching employees doing excellent work and bringing that to the attention of others is a fantastic way to show appreciation.
Showing appreciation for employees leads to engaged staff, higher retention, lower turnover, and lower cost.
About the Author:
Mindy Geib is MEA’s Director of Strategic HR Services, leading MEA’s HR Outsourcing and Consultant practice. With over 20 years of experience as an HR leader and strategic partner across multiple industries, Mindy uses her strong HR background to affect positive change and balance strategic planning and tactical execution.