More than 50% of American employees are unhappy at work.
With over half of the American workforce unsatisfied with their job, business leaders should be concerned with the role they play in employee satisfaction. When over 58% of people say they’d trust a stranger over their boss, there’s definitely room for improvements.
Employee appreciation is one way that business leaders can change the culture of workplace dissatisfaction. By showing employees that you care, you can change the way they view you and your role as their leader.
But how do you show employee appreciation in the right way? Below we’ve listed several simple things you can do to ensure your employees feel appreciated.
Know Them on a Personal Level
You should take the time to show employees you care about their personal life. This demonstrates that you care about their work/life balance.
Ask about their family, if they’re feeling better after being ill, and even follow up on details from previous conversations. Your employees will feel more comfortable talking to you. They’ll also know you don’t think of them just as workers.
If you have your own parking space, you don’t say hello when you see an employee on the street, or you ask employees to perform simple tasks like fetching coffee, you’re placing yourself above your employees. Acting as though you’re above them can foster resentment.
Instead, put yourself on the same level as employees. Demonstrate vulnerability and imperfection. By coming down from the pedestal, you create personal connections that can foster employee appreciation.
Know the Importance of Significant Others
According to research, 72% of all great projects involved people talking to their outer circle. Often, your employee’s go-to outside of the workplace is their significant other.
Know who this person is and include them where you can. Invite significant others to work events and Christmas parties. Your employees and their spouses will appreciate that you’re including their number 1 support.
Fire Bad Clients
It’s important that your employee’s know that you have their back in all situations. Regardless of how much money a client makes you, if they mistreat your employees, you should look into the situation.
If you’re unable to resolve a situation, or it continues to occur, consider firing that client. When your employee’s know that you have their back with clients, they’ll put their full efforts forward for you.
Employees don’t always know if the job they’ve done was a good one. To let them know they’re doing good work, you should share positive feedback from clients.
Show your employees that you’re not only paying attention to the work they do but that they’re making your clients happy.
Developing trust is a key element of employee appreciation. It tells your employees that you trust them to do the best job they can without your oversight. Meaning that you think their work is so good that it doesn’t require your input.
The best way to develop trust is to give your employees ownership. Let them run a project that’s based on their own ideas from start to finish. Or it could be as simple as telling them that a certain task no longer needs to be run by you before it’s completed.
The Little Things
Little items make a big difference in employee appreciation. While grand gestures for the entire company are a must, little employee perks can show that you’re trying to make your employees lives better.
Writing handwritten notes of appreciation or sending a company-wide email regarding someone’s hard work doesn’t cost anything but can boost morale and set you apart. Remember to be specific in your recognition. Always give some detail about why that work was important.
Improve the Workspace
There are simple things you can do around the office to make people’s lives better:
- Keep your technology up-to-date
- Provide good lighting
- Provide comfortable HVAC
- Invest in ergonomic workspaces
- Add a break room or lounge
- Leave your door open
- Start a mentorship program
- Create team building events
- Organize company outings
All of these items can make the physical space as well as the culture of the office more enjoyable. When your employees see you making investments to improve the space they spend most of their day in, they’ll know you’re doing what you can to make them feel comfortable.
When it comes to providing feedback or discussing the state of business, be real and transparent with your employees. Sugar coating issues won’t fix problems and your employees can usually see right through it. By being open and honest, you create more trust.
Whether an employee is asking for feedback on their performance or you’re strategizing how to deal with a slow period, engage your employees and work together toward solutions.
If you don’t ever make time to speak with or see your employees, you can’t demonstrate that you care for or appreciate them. While you may have a lot on your plate, ensuring you make time to have conversations with your employees will make them feel important and valued.
You can set up regular 1-to-1 meetings with people who report to you directly. But you should also make room for other employee’s who may wish to speak with you.
These conversations should go beyond career. They should include discussions about life beyond work, hopes, dreams, etc. You can also give employee’s an opportunity to give you feedback on your role.
Making time for your employees means that you consider them as important as the daily work you do. Getting to know them as people gives you an opportunity to show that you’re relatable.
There’s a difference between incentives and appreciation. An incentive is a predetermined transaction where you give an employee something for accomplishing something. Appreciation is less focused on the outcome and more an acknowledgment of effort.
79% of people say they leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated. Research has shown that there are 3 benefits to recognizing an employee’s efforts. Employee’s report that recognition of their work causes:
- More confidence in their skills.
- An understanding that their work is good and that their manager values them.
- Better relationships with managers.
By sending an email or a note of acknowledgment after a successful project or sale, you show that you’re paying attention and that you appreciate the hard work. With just a small gesture you inspire your employees to put their best foot forward.
Although you may not have the opportunity to do this for every employee, a Christmas or holiday card can say thanks to those that didn’t receive it throughout the year.
People apply for jobs that they believe they’ll be good at. They try to match their skill and experience to a job that they can make a difference doing. When they become just another person doing the same routine job, they may experience a lack of fulfillment.
Research shows that 88% of great projects start with an employee asking themselves how they can make a difference through their work. Inspire your employees to make that difference by consistently reminding them how their work is important and what it’s being used for. Allow them to provide feedback on how things can be done better.
You should also be paying attention to employees who are looking to grow. When an employee shows interest in another position or duty, talk to them and give them a challenge.
Set Expectations and Values
You should clearly define what your expectations are and what you value from your employees. Saying “good job” doesn’t mean anything to an employee who doesn’t know what your definition of a “good job” is. Be clear about what you value and what workplace behavior is rewarded.
It’s also important not to set unrealistic expectations. Although it’s easy to get excited and overpromise what the results will mean for employees, this can lead to distrust when there’s no follow-through.
A Gift for Employee Appreciation
Gifts don’t have to be extravagant to demonstrate appreciation. It can be as simple as grabbing coffee for the office on a Friday morning or organizing a group lunch. You may even consider starting a monthly happy hour that brings employees together outside of the workplace.
Holidays are a great time to show appreciation for your employees as well. Consider going beyond a personally written card and getting your employees a small, customized gift. A custom-made ornament from Perfect Imprints is a great holiday gift idea.
Are Your Employees Appreciated?
Employee appreciation goes a long way in a world where more than half of workers dislike their job. One of the biggest contributors to people quitting a job is a lack of recognition for the work they do and the effort they put in. But this is easily remedied with a few simple steps taken by the business leader.
You can show your employees that you care through conversations and an open door policy. You can also invest money into their workplace as well as the company culture. All of these steps will foster employee appreciation and help you retain good talent.
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