Employee Appreciation Day came and went on 3rd March and many organisations took time out to lay on activities to show thanks for their people. Days like this are an excellent opportunity to give a little back to the staff who work hard to help make a business’s vision a reality. But truth is, giving thanks on one day a year – maybe two if you include Christmas activities – isn’t going to be enough to keep your employees happy and engaged.
Great recognition takes ongoing effort across a range of points, from rewards and giving thanks, to training, development and comms.
Say thanks often
Employees like to feel valued and that their daily contributions towards the organisation’s goals are seen. By giving thanks only a couple of times a year, that’s 363 days in which your staff are feeling unseen and undervalued. Giving appreciation regularly is important not only to ensure people feel valued, but also as it supports longer-term engagement. High engagement is the silver bullet of employee appreciation that solves a range of issues, from retention and productivity to wellbeing and creativity.
Modern companies are regularly turning to online employee recognition platforms to get recognition going in their workforce, and taking the pressure off managers by introducing peer-to-peer recognition functionality so colleagues can recognise each other when and where they see great things taking place.
Focus on development
People like to feel that they’re constantly moving forward and striving towards their next goals – both personal and in work. Supporting people to meet their goals is another great way to show thanks and that you value their work – as well as seeing their future potential with a little additional support.
Training, mentorship and internal promotions are important ways you can show employee appreciation for a worker’s talents and abilities in their job.
You may sit there and think how great all your teams are, but if you haven’t told them, how will they know?!
One of the greatest internal issues which many organisations face is overworked line managers and team leaders, whose job it often is to both lead projects and meet deadlines, and also dish out recognition and actually manage the ‘human’ aspect of being in a team. Great internal comms are vital here as a way to connect the business to employees more regularly, and at scale, even when managers are perhaps too busy to give thanks to everyone all the time.
Working with internal communication agencies is a good place to start here, alongside developing your own internal comms strategies.
Work on your culture
If your employees dread stepping foot in your workplace, or can’t wait to leave or log off at the end of the day, then you likely have a toxic culture. Toxic cultures are so damaging to an organisation as, no matter how much praise you heap on employees or try to engage them with Friday drinks and pizza parties, that culture will always override any positives.
Working on your workplace culture is key to creating an environment in which regular, heartfelt recognition can take place – and make an impact.
Health is a binary matter – you either have it, or you don’t. Employees who are either mentally or physically sick aren’t able to perform their jobs properly, are more likely to take sick days, and are far more likely to leave and look for a better job elsewhere.
Focusing on the wellbeing of your employees therefore has two core benefits when it comes to showing employee appreciation. First, it shows you care about your people as whole people (not just the part of them that comes to work for you), and second that healthy people are more engaged and do better work, which in turn increases the likelihood they’ll get recognised, which further boosts their engagement… it’s a happy self-fulfilling cycle!