The importance of employee appreciation
Showing appreciation to your employees helps them trust you, motivates them to be more productive and encourages them to stay with your company longer.
- 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention
- Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability
- Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year
- Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work
Actively recognizing employees can have a significant impact on your business for minimal cost.
Gallup found that employee recognition “not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.” On the flip side, employees who don’t “feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they'll quit in the next year.”
It could be something as small as praising someone in front of their colleagues or pulling them aside and expressing your gratitude. Gallup writes that what matters most is that the praise is authentic and personalized to that person.
Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or other milestones
Celebrating employee milestones helps them know that you see them as a whole person, not just part of the business. When you keep a calendar that tracks employees’ important life events both inside and outside of the office, you can easily have a small celebration, write a card or recognize them at a company meeting. Don’t forget to take time to celebrate other life events, like weddings or new babies.
Your employees will appreciate that you’re taking notice.
Help new employees feel welcomed
If you’re intentional about your onboarding process, a new hire’s first day can be so much more than getting their keys, finding a desk and spending the rest of the day filling out paperwork. While those are necessary tasks, don’t let them be the only things on the agenda
Introduce them around the office, have a welcome kit waiting on their desk and take your team out to lunch. A great way to make someone feel celebrated and excited is to break up the monotony of a first day.
Create a fun break room
Create a breakroom or set aside other areas of the office where people can relax. With your company culture in mind, consider creative settings like a mini café, a gym, a homey kitchen or a rec room with a ping-pong table.
What can you do that makes your business unique while staying in line with what your employees would actually appreciate and use?
Start a rewards system
Create some worthwhile incentives at work that encourage employees to do a little more. Prizes can include gift cards, cash bonuses or maybe even time off.
However, be careful not to make them so common that your staff becomes entitled or disengaged when there isn’t a fun new prize waiting for them.
Organize company activities and events
Organize an event either inside or outside of the office. You could bring in a catered lunch so your employees can enjoy a change of pace, have them bring their food to a lunchtime trivia game with prizes, or organize a themed day over Zoom.
You can also go to a happy hour, schedule family days at parks or take everyone to volunteer for a cause you all support. Whatever you decide on, it will show your employees that the relationship goes beyond what happens when they clock in and out.
Highlight your staff on social media
Create a fun questionnaire for employees to complete amid a big milestone, such as their first day or a work anniversary. You could ask anything from their funniest work memory to what book or movie world they’d live in. Use their answers and a photo to create a post highlighting them on your company social media.
Not only will this be good for your employees, but your current and future customers will start to form a personal connection with your business.
Provide new learning experiences
Create opportunities for your employees to get hands-on experience: set up lunch and learns to hear about industry news, or challenge them with new experiences they haven’t tried before. These can be facilitated in the office or digitally, so long as they are well thought-out and engaging.
Give out snacks and company swag
Stock your break room with tasty, healthy snacks provide some added brain power. In the work-from-home environment, consider doing an occasional doorstep drop off with a care package full of snacks and goodies.
When it comes to swag, feel free to spend on some nice shirts, hoodies and jackets in addition to the classic key chain or mug. Employees will feel like they’re on the same team, and you get some marketing items that travel wherever your employees go.
Allow for flexible work schedules and time off
Forbes writes that 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments. And employees aren’t wrong for feeling that way. After all, “Employee engagement and wellness are about protecting your human capital, your most valuable asset.”
In addition to time off, offering work-from-home opportunities can help them better juggle home demands, like a snow day, sick child or other pop-up obligation.
Listen to feedback
Even after you put things into practice, there’s always room to improve. Ask your employees what you could do to make them feel more appreciated, then put their suggestions into practice.
Let them be open and honest with you. Build trust by truly listening — and then acting.
Get started now
Remember, these are just suggestions. Feel free to get as creative with employee appreciation as you can! If you’re looking for some help on how to keep employee morale up, check out some of our own retention strategies.
To learn more and see other resources to help you with your business, head to the Nationwide Business Solutions Center.