8 ways to show your team you appreciate them
Interviews / Opinions

8 ways to show your team you appreciate them

Showing your employees how much they’re appreciated isn’t just for Employee Appreciation Day. You can (and should) make your team feel valued every day of the year. Because it’s not directly linked to business KPIs, companies don’t always work to find effective employee appreciation ideas.

But it turns out making the effort to recognize your employees does matter to your business success.

To illustrate, consider an experiment run by ​​researchers Christiane Bradler, Robert Dur, Susanne Neckermann, and Arjan Non. They hired over 300 employees to do a basic data-entry task for three hours. After two hours, a random sample of work groups received unexpected recognition for a job well done.

Researchers saw increased productivity and work quality among those groups where praise was offered—even by those employees who didn’t directly receive the praise!

The takeaway? If you want a more loyal, motivated, and high-performing workforce, it’s time to emphasize employee appreciation.

Increase employee engagement (and your bottom line) with recognition

Showing your appreciation for the work people do increases employee engagement, which means happier employees and better wellbeing at work.

It also affects your profitability.

When people are engaged with their jobs, they have increased job satisfaction and are more likely to stay for the long term. Retaining top talent is always a financial benefit, but is especially important in the era of The Great Resignation.

The key to helping people feel recognized is to build ways to show appreciation to employees in your company culture.

8 employee appreciation ideas

Employee recognition doesn’t have to mean spending lots of time and money. Consistency is key to helping employees feel your appreciation is sincere.

Consider these eight ideas for making employee appreciation a regular part of your company culture.

1. Recognize employee goals as well as achievements

To show your team how valuable they are, take time to learn about their personal career interests and aspirations. Then help them create a plan for reaching them.

You can build this into regular performance reviews or even just casual chats over lunch. Ask about what interests employees about their job, where they’d like to be in a few years, and what skills or roles they’d like to learn.

Then, genuinely listen when employees open up about their lives. Have managers help them create a plan to work toward their goals. That might mean offering leadership training to someone interested in moving into management in the future. Or, keeping employees in mind for advancement as new internal roles open up.

2. Offer a flexible work model

When you’re looking to improve employees’ experience in the workplace, pay attention to what they want. One thing we’ve learned from work during the pandemic is that employees want (and thrive in) a more flexible work environment.

Working remotely increases employee job satisfaction. Employee wellbeing also gets a boost when people can manage their own time.

Find out what matters to employees, then show them (and potential job candidates) that you value them by offering them choices in how and when they work. That may mean a hybrid work option—the ability to work some days from home and some on-site—or more adjustable hours.

Empower your team to perform on their own terms by offering them flexibility. This way, employees can pop out to fetch their kids from school, or meet a client for lunch. In return, they’ll invest their full energy and focus into their work when they’re in the office.

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3. Make praise and gratitude a regular part of your culture

People don’t necessarily need monetary rewards to feel valued and stay motivated. Praise (from management and from coworkers) is crucial in determining employee satisfaction.

You can start by building praise into regular performance reviews, having peers and leaders communicate where the employee is excelling along with other feedback.

Consider training your leadership team on the ins and outs of offering praise and thanks. Help them prioritize verbal recognition for a job well done or impromptu expressions (for instance, a personalized thank you card).

When employees feel publicly recognized for their good deeds, those positive feelings spread throughout the company. And that’s how a happy workplace is made!

4. Make work interesting and challenging

Giving employees more responsibilities or keeping their work interesting shows them you appreciate them and trust them to do the job.

Improve employee happiness and productivity by creating an environment that’s interesting, challenging, and meaningful for each employee. To do this, give employees tasks and goals beyond the scope of their job, and then let them know that you’re rooting for them.

A great approach is to encourage employees to join projects where their talents will shine. This could be anything from CSI initiatives to health and safety committees. Then, let them know that your door is always open for advice, guidance, and feedback.

5. Foster healthy team relationships

Isolation at work is a big contributor to stress and burnout. You can help show employees you care about their wellbeing by supporting a healthy team environment. Wondering how to appreciate a team?

Here are a few easy ideas to get people interacting and recognize this valuable social aspect of your workplace:

  • Create online forums or physical spaces for employees from any team to engage and collaborate.
  • Allow employees to meet colleagues they haven’t worked with before at company socials and annual parties.
  • Do team-building activities to create bonding and help employees understand each other better.

Whatever your approach, strive to create a team culture where open and constructive feedback is welcome (or even rewarded). Because honest, two-way communication between colleagues and managers builds strong relationships and shows employees that their perspective is valued.

6. Focus on employee wellbeing

When employees feel like their health is important to the company, they’ll feel appreciated.

You can support physical health by implementing a wellness program that rewards employees for healthy living with extra time off, gift cards, or other prizes. Or, supplement healthy food options at the cafeteria and provide healthy snack options.

Also, look at how you can help sustain mental and emotional health. Consider offering training in mindfulness and stress management. Listen to employee concerns about workload and make changes as needed to encourage work-life balance.

7. Invest in training and employee development

In a recent study on L&D, 76% of employees agree that they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. One of the best ways to show employees you value them and keep them engaged is by investing in them with ongoing learning opportunities.

Make learning and development a part of your business strategy. Offer courses with skills that will help people do their current jobs and prepare them for the roles they want in the future.

Keep learning flexible with an easy-to-use learning management system (LMS) that allows employees to drive their own learning, in their own time. Staff will appreciate the investment in their professional growth, and you’ll benefit from a more talented team.

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8. Monetize your appreciation

Appreciation doesn’t have to cost your company. But that doesn’t mean you can’t consider financial acknowledgments for good employees.

For all the altruistic reasons people show up and do their jobs, a motivating paycheck is still appreciated.

You can go as big or as small as makes sense and show some employee appreciation with a gift. Anything from company swag and prizes to bonuses for a job well done can show employees that you’re grateful for their contributions.

Bonus: virtual employee appreciation ideas

Even if your company is one of the many that’s moved to a remote work model lately, you can still find ways to show appreciation to employees virtually. Take advantage of technology to apply some of the above ideas with dispersed or hybrid teams. For example:

  • Send personalized notes of appreciation via email or chat. Or, make your gratitude more public by giving formal recognition during team meetings via video conferencing.
  • Offer eLearning options for employee development.
  • Have care packages delivered to people’s locations. Include fun treats or company swag.
  • Keep team spirit strong with regular online team-building activities. Break the team into small groups and host a game afternoon or trivia night. Or offer virtual cooking or art classes.
  • Celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays in your team meetings. Send a gift card for a night out to the person being honored.

Employee Appreciation Ideas To Engage Your Team Members | TalentLMS

Remember the people behind the jobs

The most important thing to remember is to show employees that you appreciate them as people, not just as worker bees, and you’ll experience all of the benefits of having happy employees.

You won’t just get their best efforts while they’re on the clock. You’ll also get their loyalty and advocacy outside of working hours.

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