Employees must regularly show appreciation and recognition for their achievements and hard work. Never is there a time when this is quite as important as now when employers are continuing to face massive struggles hiring talented employees.
Employee appreciation might not be a top priority when things get busy, but it should be. It’s important as an employer to have a strategy for appreciation in place and go out of your way to implement it. There are many ways to show appreciation, from giving gifts during the winter holidays to sharing a kind word. We delve more into some of the particular ways to do it below.
When you show your employees appreciation, it will boost their job satisfaction, morale, and happiness.
Showing employees, you are appreciative can also improve engagement, productivity, loyalty, and motivation.
These are all things that are going to strengthen your entire organization and make you more competitive.
It’s worth noting that while appreciation and recognition can go hand-in-hand with one another, they’re also distinct from each other. Recognition is focused on the positive feedback based on an employee’s results or performance. Recognition can occur formally or informally.
Appreciation is more about showing that you value someone as a person. The point of appreciation isn’t the recognition of accomplishments.
With that in mind, the following are ways to show employee appreciation in a modern workplace.
1. Make Birthdays and Holidays Special
Birthdays and holidays are ideal for showing your employees you appreciate them and making your workplace more positive and festive. You can have birthday and holiday celebrations, along with giving small gifts.
This cultivates a more personal connection between you and your employees and shows that you’re thinking about them during special times and moments in their lives.
If you celebrate traditions, it helps to strengthen the team bonds between everyone too.
2. Buy a Meal
When you buy your employees a meal from time to time, it allows everyone to socialize more casually with one another while enjoying it. You can also show employees that you appreciate them through this gift of food.
You might order food in, or you could take everyone out for a meal.
3. Check In Early and Often
You should be taking time to say hello to your employees often and check in on a deeper level. These interactions aren’t impeding productivity—in fact, they’re likely to have quite the opposite effect.
These interactions create a sense of connection and ensure that your employees never feel like they’re invisible. Casual interactions can be as meaningful a way to show appreciation as formal recognition.
You want your employees to feel like you know them and vice versa.
4. Provide Constructive and Balanced Feedback
You don’t always have to tell your employees what they want to hear to show appreciation. A good employee is going to want to know what they’re doing well, but also honestly where they can improve. This is what’s going to help them move to the next level.
In studies, employees continuously report that getting positive and constructive feedback makes them feel valued.
When an employee receives praise from their boss, yes, it’s meaningful, but they also need to get critical feedback so they can feel like you’re investing in their future.
It’s important that you don’t offer both types of feedback simultaneously.
Sometimes, we’ll see managers who use the sandwich technique. This means putting negative feedback between two “layers” of feedback that are positive. This sends mixed, confusing messages to employees.
You won’t fully separate experiences for the positive feedback versus what can be referred to as developmental feedback.
5. Discuss Opportunities for Growth
Your employees want to know how they can move upward and what the future might look like for them professionally. If a manager takes time to discuss the potential for growth or opportunities, the interpretation on the part of the employee is likely to be that they’re valued.
If you’re not talking to your employees about growth and development, they tend to get the opposite message that they aren’t valued.
6. Provide Flexibility
When an employer gives their employees the option to work in ways that are suited to their needs, it shows appreciation because it’s signaling you trust them to be autonomous.
7. Do It Regularly
Appreciation and how you show it to your employees isn’t something you do once and never again. It’s something you need to do on a regular basis. For example, maybe you take some time out at the end of every week to show appreciation in whatever way seems best.
Include it on your calendar so that you remember it and build it into your routine.
8. Don’t Make Common Mistakes
When you’re showing appreciation, you might make mistakes along the way.
First, never be inauthentic. Inauthentic appreciation is going to come off poorly to your employees. It’s not going to motivate them.
You want any expression of gratitude to be one that’s meaningful. You also want it to be sincere, genuine, and relevant.
You also don’t want to make any sudden shifts in how you show appreciation. For example, if you’ve never made an effort before, as you’re starting to work appreciation into your culture, don’t overdo it. That will again come off as insincere. Instead, you can let your employees know outright that you’re working on being a leader who shows more gratitude. It doesn’t have to be something you do covertly or secretly.
Ask them how they want to be recognized so that you can tailor it to your employee preferences. For example, some employees like public appreciation, and others don’t.
Finally, encourage everyone in the workplace to share in a culture of appreciation. Again, it’s often free and doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Anyone within the company can appreciate anyone else, and when everyone’s on board, it becomes engrained in your culture.
You may also like: The Importance of an Employee Incentive Program
Image source: Shutterstock.com