Why appreciating your employees matters
Work has changed in ways we never could have imagined over the past few years.
According to Quantum Workplace, employees who believe their efforts will be recognized are 2.7 times as likely to be highly engaged at work.
The research makes sense. At work or in our home life, we all tend to show up better when we feel like those around us see and appreciate our efforts. In organizations, meaningful appreciation has benefits like improving motivation and productivity, reducing attrition, and generally making work a more enjoyable place to be.
But empty gestures can sometimes miss the mark and have the opposite effect. Appreciation perceived as inauthentic or impersonal can make your employees feel alienated or frustrated.
In this post, we're sharing five ways to demonstrate genuine gratitude for your team members.
- Build a thoughtful corporate gifting program
As a corporate gifting company, this is a strategy we are passionate about!
Yes, one-off gift cards or presents are nice, but a more holistic strategy can be a core component when building a culture of appreciation throughout a company. Most modern, mission-driven organizations intend to build positive company cultures and show their employees that they care. But sometimes, they struggle with how to make it happen.
By establishing a plan that accounts for both the professional and personal milestones in your employees' lives, you can show that you see your team members as complete people. Consider all of the moments you'd like to recognize, including:
- Onboarding new hires
- Work anniversaries
- Return to the office after remote work
- Product launches
- New parenthood
- New Degrees
Once you have your list, you can select gifts tailored to your brand and your people and include personal, thoughtful messages showing the recipients they are valued.
- Celebrate achievements big and small
Positive words can go a long way.
In addition to more significant forms of recognition like "Employee of the Month" awards, it helps to find ways to celebrate contributions from every person in the organization. Notice the behind-the-scenes efforts that employees with less visible roles are making. Make it a habit to work shout-outs into your regular team meetings. Encourage team members to notice one another’s efforts.
Above all, make sure that your praise is meaningful. Here are four things that employee appreciation expert Christopher Littlefield suggests thinking about when you offer a compliment:
- Make it authentic.
- Only compliment someone with the intention of letting them know how they positively impact you or others.
- Make it specific.
- Include details that clarify what exactly you appreciated instead of offering vague praise.
- Recognize the process.
- Celebrate the process, not only the result of your team member's efforts.
- Share the impact.
Explain how your team member’s work positively impacted you or others in the organization.
- Recognize holidays and cultural celebrations
Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are essential aspects of a healthy corporate culture.
Recognizing holidays and cultural celebrations in a respectful, curious, and genuine way matters. You can begin by asking your employees what cultural celebrations and holidays they would like to see recognized in the workplace and how they would like to celebrate.
With that knowledge in mind, you might
- Offer floating holidays that allow employees to celebrate the days that are most meaningful to them.
- Incorporate a broad range of cultural and religious holidays on your company calendar.
- Avoid scheduling big meetings or having urgent deadlines that conflict with holidays that your employees observe.
- Send gifts, physical cards, or emails to employees on holidays that mean the most to them.
Remember, religion and culture are often big parts of employees’ lives. By acknowledging this, you can help them feel more comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
- Offer Flexibility & Generous Benefits
And while we are on the subject of recognizing your team members are full human beings outside of the office, find ways to offer flexibility and valuable benefits.
Some people appreciate the option to work remotely some or all of the time. Others just want reasonable schedule flexibility so they can attend their kids' school events now and again without having to dip into PTO to make it happen. If you can, find ways to offer that latitude so they can attend to their life. You'll be shocked at how, nine times out of ten, the work gets done just the same, all while you foster invaluable goodwill with your team.
Generous paid time off, paid family leave, education reimbursement, and professional development opportunities promote workplace satisfaction and retention. Of those surveyed in WorkHuman’s Human Workplace Index, 63% said they would leave their company if offered a job with better benefits but less or equal pay.
The bottom line? Supporting your employees’ outside-of-work realities will make them happier and more productive at work.
- Involve the C-Suite
It can go a long way when your organization's leaders know your name and take the time to recognize your personal and professional milestones.
Encourage upper leadership to authentically connect with employees at all levels—whether in the cafeteria, on a volunteer committee, or by rotating through department meetings.
Here are some other ways to get the C-Suite involved in authentic employee appreciation:
- Have them set aside time each month to leave recommendations on team members' LinkedIn profiles proactively.
- Ask them to send notes or emails acknowledging employees’ personal or professional milestones.
- Find opportunities for the C-Suite to solicit and listen to employee input, enacting meaningful changes based on their learning.
There are so many benefits to showing your employees they are valued. If you need support building a corporate gifting strategy to support your efforts, we can help.