If having a distinctive company culture is one of the things you would like to achieve this year, then you know that it is essential to recognize and value your employees. It's plain and simple; employees who feel valued work harder and stay longer. And businesses that find themselves on top of the game by running effective employee recognition programs have mastered the art of retaining top talent — and eventually, more traction and customers.
Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 4. To keep the company spirit and culture alive, businesses worldwide celebrate this all week and even for the entire month. This month is the best time to show your appreciation and love to them. By doing so, it can significantly contribute to your business' success.
It's the perfect opportunity to thank every employee by creating experiences that are heartfelt, fun, and memorable. In this article, we will share with you some ideas for you to celebrate your employees and all that they have done for your business.
The Great Resignation
We've all heard about the Great Resignation, haven't we? The pandemic has taken the world like a storm- not only have we seen stores shut down, but employees walking out of businesses to seek better independent opportunities. In the midst of these all, celebrating your employees' achievements and efforts will make them want to stay longer. According to the 2022 GLobal Culture Report, employees are 20x more likely to feel connected and want to visit when companies celebrate together.
During the past two years, your employees have had to work harder than ever under uncertain and difficult circumstances. They've braved the storms of remote, hybrid, and frontline work amid the pandemic to keep your business and the community thriving. And after another challenging year, showing your appreciation and gratitude is just the right thing to do.
Boost Morale and Make A Happy Workplace
When you let your employees feel that they are valued, you instantly improve employee engagement, boost employee morale, and eventually create a happy place to work in. This is the kind of company culture where employees thrive. When employees feel appreciated and recognized, they are 84% less likely to experience burnout.
As Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ashley V. Whillans says, "Cash matters in people's lives, but it's not all that matters. What matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated."
What is Employee Recognition?
Practicing employee recognition means that your business regularly makes an effort to acknowledge employees' hard work. Employee recognition programs honor ongoing achievement and contributions, both formally and informally. Recognition can take various forms, and it should consist of both frequent social recognition and tangible employee rewards, like prizes and bonuses.
Effective recognition programs create a culture where business leaders and employees regularly celebrate each other's excellence and encourage high morale and top performance. This will eventually motivate your employees to work harder and stay with an organization that values their contributions and treats them with respect and appreciation. Really, it's a win-win for everyone at your company.
What can your organization do to keep top performers motivated and ensure every employee feels appreciated for their work? It starts with building a culture of recognition and appreciation. Remember, Employee Appreciation Month is great, but the message is much more powerful when it is expressed regularly.
Here are some ways you can show your employees how much your employees truly matter:
1. Show Gratitude and Appreciation Often
People want to feel appreciated for what they do, especially by their leaders and managers. Recognition and gratitude strengthen feelings of self-confidence and motivation and reinforce a sense of purpose. Leaders have a better view of the business' goals and are positioned to evaluate employee performance, so their praise and recognition are taken with more importance and value. When your employees are on the right track, it's essential to let them know that. Here are some guidelines for expressing gratitude at work:
Let your employee know what they did well, what makes his/her strengths, and how they are an asset to the company. Highlight more about their outstanding qualities and less about how it helped you.
For example, "Your wit and natural sense of humor always make our customers happy and keep them returning to our store!" or "Thanks to your observant and attentive nature, we can smoothly go on about our day."
Express gratitude and appreciation as often as you wish, for as long as you speak authentically and specifically.
Another endearing way to show gratitude is through a handwritten note. The note itself shows an investment of your time and that you have made an effort to convey your appreciation. Your employee will value your letter more than you think because your words of appreciation are meaningful to them.
In a Harvard Business Review article, professors Francesca Gino and Adam Grant shared the results of an experiment where fundraisers who received personal thanks from their manager for their efforts and contributions increased their outreach metrics by 50%.
2. Care About Them As People
As a business owner or leader of the company, we often find ourselves focusing only on the work at hand. However, if we expect our employees to perform their best work, demonstrating that we care about them as individuals always comes first.
By asking them about how they spent their weekends, their families, and their hobbies–and sharing tidbits about our own life–we build trusting relationships within the company. This will allow us to understand our experiences outside the office better and help us work together more effectively in the workplace.
Walk the halls and have some questions ready to engage them. Ask them things like, "What's new?" or “ What fires have you had to put out today/this week?" And the best one, "How can I help support you right now?" This gives you a chance to understand what your team members face in their work and how you can help clear obstacles. This shows you care and creates a shared commitment to their success.
3. Celebrate with a Rewards Program
Rewards can range from simple spoken or written thank-you post-its and cash or gift cards bonuses to exciting merchandise and gift certificates. If you're feeling more generous, you may even provide vacation packages for employees' notable achievements.
A point system is a great way to show that you value your employees as unique individuals by letting them select rewards that they actually want (not just a mug or ballpen.) Consolidating points allows employees to accumulate a significant balance, which builds excitement as the points increase.
Incentive programs need to be made so that employees feel motivated to achieve more and drive organizational goals. Some examples of a creative reward are employee caricatures showcasing their mood and the achievement, an upgrade of their office chair, primo office parking for the month, personalized gifts, staycation perks for two or tickets to a new movie or game.
4. Appreciate employees publicly
Publicly share a personalized, memorable message to employees. Not only is it important for employees to hear from leaders, but doing it in a gathering for everyone to hear adds more weight and value to your words of appreciation. You can do this by highlighting special achievements made by certain employees during the year. They'll be glad to know you noticed who they are and value what they do.
While it is also good to recognize employees in private, publicly recognizing employee achievements calls out behavior that other team members should follow and stimulates a collective spirit of optimism and success.
There are many ways to recognize employees publicly. For example, on the company’s newsletter, employee group chat or social media platform. Publicly acknowledging an employee on platforms like these has a significant impact and provides a unique spotlight.
Other great ways of publicly showing appreciation is by creating a wall of fame, sending out email announcements, and posting on the company website. You’ll not run out of ways to publicly acknowledge success and get maximum impact from recognition with modern technology.
5. Celebrate your own way
It is true that the expressions of the little things are the big things. Whatever the reasons, it’s good to find the reasons to celebrate and bring joy to everyone at work. The event can include a celebration with food or treats and the announcing unique gifts or perks.
You may recognize your team members' work anniversaries or birthdays, or how about a pizza party for the whole team when a sale closes, ice cream in the middle of the day for a treat to bring everyone together, or organize a monthly coffee break with strictly “no work agenda.”
If you are looking for a more elaborate celebration, create a new tradition in your workplace. You may host a company New Year's Eve party on the last day of the year to recognize the year's accomplishments; this could be easily adapted for your company's inauguration day or another special date.
6. Learning and Development Programs
Sending employees for seminars, conferences, leadership programs, and career development programs allow employees to select an online course that adds to their learning and development and acts as a great motivator. This motivates employees to take up a bigger role within the organization.
The best tool that can help your business in keeping track of your employees performance is a POS with an Employee Management Feature. Through this feature, even as you go on about your day taking care of other business matters remotely, you can still keep track of your employees clock in and out, or who made the most sales that day. With an Employee Management feature, you can make balanced business decisions based on tracking productivity and working hours of your employees.
Employee appreciation shouldn’t be reserved for one day or just one month, but it should be an integral part of your company culture and be an all-around attitude that your entire business management adopts. Your employees are your most precious assets, so go ahead and show more care and concern to your staff and let them know that they are valued and appreciated!