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How to Make a More Meaningful Impact on Employee Appreciation

Tuesday October 17th 2017

employeeappreciationIf you’re managing a team, chances are you’ve thought about employee appreciation a time or two. Perhaps you’ve tried the Employee of the Month idea, or you think Casual Friday counts as an employee appreciation event. But by using the same old tactics and just going through the motions, you’re likely not getting the desired response from your team.

Employee retention and a positive company culture rely heavily on the level of support and appreciation you show your team. If they don’t feel valued, their sense of loyalty and dedication to the company may suffer as they see no tangible benefits to working harder than anyone else.

As an employer, it is so important to make each member of your team feel like a valuable asset to the success of your business. So if you’ve been using the same old methods for employee appreciation, it’s time to liven things up and make a more meaningful and sincere impact on your team. Here are a few ways to get started.

Communication is Everything

As with any relationship in your life, communication is one of the foundations of a great one. Your job as an employer is to foster and nurture a great working relationship with each of your employees. In order to do that you must communicate, not just effectively but with sincerity. Take the time to speak to your employees individually – or if you are managing a large company, make sure that your supervisors set communication as a top priority. Doing so will make sure that your employees feel valued and respected.

In addition to just keeping an open line of communication with your team, it’s important when sharing a reward with your team that you communicate the reasons for any reward or recognition. Don’t just hand out a prize and say, “Job well done!” Take the time to articulate the actions of each team member that are deserving of recognition. Share these praiseworthy actions with the entire time to set the standards within your office and give your employees goals towards which they can work.

Don’t Be Stingy

When demonstrating your appreciation for all the hard work your employees have done, it’s important go big. A $5 gift card for coffee once in a while really doesn’t make your team feel valued, and obviously demonstrates that you put no thought into the reward. It also doesn’t give them something exciting to work towards, which means the goal-setting might fall flat after a few months.

But going big doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank, either. It’s not about the amount of money you spend as much as the impact a thoughtful reward will have on your team. Use the element of surprise and reward your team with an in-office masseuse for a day or an afternoon off to go bowling. Bring in a catered meal once in a while to take care of everyone working hard to meet a deadline. Choose different team members each quarter to receive an elaborate gift basket of goodies.

Get Personal

In order to figure out what kind of rewards would motivate your team the most and make them feel appreciated, you need to take the time to get to know them. Don’t treat your employees like faceless drones on a production line. If that’s how you see them, then that is how they will see themselves and their work will suffer for it.

Spend time talking about their lives and the things they enjoy. Ask about the office environment, and find out what is needed or wanted to make their time at work more pleasant. Maybe the office coffee pot is churning out unpalatable sludge – reward them with a new machine and some gourmet flavored coffees. Maybe they’re struggling with not getting enough fresh air in a tight office space – surprise them with a catered outdoor picnic to brighten their day.

The most important lesson in employee appreciation is recognizing that it’s not about YOU. It’s about your employees – what makes them feel appreciated and valued? Ask the important questions, get creative and be thoughtful about the rewards you give out, and always remember to communicate why those rewards are well-earned. Your team will appreciate the effort and will be even happier to dedicate their time to contribute to your company’s success.

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