If you’re reserving your employee appreciation program for special occasions like Thanksgiving, you’re missing out on huge opportunity.
Effective leaders understand that their employees want to feel valued and they know that recognizing their efforts can make a big difference in the bottom line. Sincere and consistent employee recognition leads to better employee morale, improved retention and a more engaged workforce that produces higher-quality work. In fact, research by HR recognition company REDII indicates that the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. So if you want to build a happy, productive, workforce that’s going to stick around, it’s essential that you recognize your staff’s hard work on a regular basis. This Thanksgiving, why not introduce the habit of nurturing employee appreciation all year long?
You might be wondering how you can make your employee appreciation program iconic.
- Impersonal appreciation. Recognition is often communicated to groups, such as “Way to go, team! Great job!” While some thanks are better than none, the message says nothing about the individual contributions each team member made.
- Generic thanks. For example, giving everyone the same holiday card with the same low dollar value gift card enclosed will do little to inspire greatness from your team.
- Insincerity. When you give praise or show appreciation, be authentic. Your employees will know if your words or actions don’t ring true.
And be sure to:
- Keep recognition programs simple but frequent.
According to a 2017 study by Office Team, employees who feel underappreciated are three times more likely to leave an organization. Frequent recognition motivates staff to achieve their best every day and boosts retention, too.
- Remember that real time thanks are best.
Recognizing your star performer for something he or she achieved three months ago isn’t going to resonate. When you catch someone going the extra mile, thank them at the time. It will have far more impact and will build the behaviors you seek to repeat.
The seven simple employee appreciation ideas outlined below can help your team members feel more confident that their work is truly valued:
- Think back to your own best managers. Over the years, you’ve likely reported to numerous managers. Chances are you remember one or two of them specifically because they were undoubtedly grateful for you and your work. Maybe they spent an extra few minutes talking with you every week or always took time to listen to your concerns? Perhaps they always made the point to thank you in person rather than by email? Whatever it was, you remember them for it. Think about the things that your favorite managers did to recognize you and make you feel great. Then, start doing those same things for your employees.
- Don’t forget the wallet. A common reason employees don’t feel appreciated? Inadequate salary and benefits. Start by confirming that you’re providing appropriate compensation to your employees. In addition to attractive starting compensation, annual and spot bonuses can be powerful motivators. On the other hand, don’t assume that offering more compensation is the best form of employee recognition. Cash bonuses and gifts tend to be motivational only for a short time. Consider balancing monetary rewards with other perks such as flexible work schedules.
- Broadcast your appreciation. The positive effects of employee recognition multiply exponentially when you praise people publicly. Consider sending staff-wide congratulatory emails, mentioning top performers in the company newsletter, and holding meetings where you tell employees individually what they’re doing well and specifically how their efforts make a positive impact to the company.
- Go out for coffee one-on-one. Appreciation comes in many forms, but one of the most powerful is to show genuine human interest in your team members. They’re used to meeting with you for task-related purposes, but they may not know the real you. You can create an entirely different experience by inviting them to join you for coffee. Be respectful and listen carefully during the coffee meeting. Keep the interaction friendly, upbeat and encouraging.
- Harness the power of thank you notes. This personalized approach offers an effective way to express gratitude, especially if you write the notes by hand and tailor your messages to each employee’s achievements and efforts. The employees who get these notes are likely to remember you for years to come as a thoughtful boss who sincerely valued the contributions of your team members.
- Let them hand off a task. No matter how satisfying one’s job is, there are always a few tasks that feel like drudgery. Why not show your appreciation by letting your employees ditch a small task they dislike while you step in to do the work instead? This will provide your workers with a strong sense of camaraderie and you’ll gain a fresh awareness of operational areas you haven’t handled recently.
- Make it fun. Employee appreciation shouldn’t be a chore. Consider throwing a party for your employees or taking them out for a team lunch just for the fun of it. You might even ask all of your staff members to take part in acknowledging and commending their colleagues’ efforts.
Thanksgiving brings a valuable reminder of the power of recognition, but these interactions shouldn’t be limited to one season. To keep your employees engaged and productive, find ways to let show them know that you’re grateful for their efforts all year long. Need help designing effective employee appreciation strategies for your organization? Please reach out to our friendly team of skilled professionals for guidance. We wish you, your family, and your employees a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.