While the first Friday in March is “Employee Appreciation Day,” you shouldn’t limit your gratitude to one day. An ongoing culture of appreciation can increase your workplace productivity, improve worker retention rates, and increase employee engagement. In the following, we discuss some simple and cost-effective ways to thank your employees.
Voice Frequent and Heartfelt Appreciation
Obligatory “thank you's” are meaningless and can damage your work relationships. Ask yourself: do you think your staff feels appreciated? While it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of deadlines and meetings, take some time to think about your employees’ contributions.
- How often do you thank your employees?
- What qualities do you admire in your staff?
- How do they react to adversity or change?
- Who always seems willing to lend a helping hand?
- Do you have team members who excel at thought and people leadership?
- Does someone consistently exhibit your company’s core values?
- Did an employee make a major breakthrough — either on a project or personal goal?
Once you can articulate your team’s value, regularly celebrate their successes and contributions.
Recognition can reinforce an employee’s connection to his or her work and strengthen employer-employee relationships. However, many managers aren’t accustomed to giving consistent, heartfelt appreciation. If giving praise doesn’t come naturally to you, try to:
- Spend one-on-one time with your employees listening to their concerns and recognizing their growth
- Celebrate the completion of major projects with a team lunch, happy hour, or other event
- At staff meetings, recognize employees who go above and beyond or exhibit key company values
- Perform random acts of kindness — such as bringing in snacks, flowers, or other treats
- Implement employee recognition programs or software
- Schedule time on your calendar to award spot bonuses and other employee incentives
With a little practice, you’ll find that you quickly fall into the habit of expressing gratitude at work.
Pay Attention to Your Employees’ Personal Lives (Without Overstepping)
How well do you know your employees — not as teammates, but as people? Taking a genuine interest in your team’s personal lives isn’t nosey; it’s the foundation for stronger relationships. It might seem silly, but knowing their birthdays, the names of their children, and favorite sports teams can build rapport and show that you take a genuine interest in their lives. If employees feel they are a nameless commodity, they’re more likely to search for jobs elsewhere.
Share Your Praise with Others
When your employees exceed your expectations, share your admiration with their direct supervisors, human resources representatives, and your clients. When you send a “thank you” email, cc: the employee’s supervisor and detail exactly why you appreciated their work. You should also make sure that your gratitude is reflected in performance assessments and end-of-year ratings or bonuses.
Thank Your Employees’ Families
An increasing number of employees value work-life balance and are painfully aware that long hours at work detract from their time with their families. While flexible work schedules are wonderful, you sometimes can’t avoid periods of intense work. When these happen, recognize the support and sacrifice of your employees’ families. A personal note to the family, along with a token of your appreciation (such as a gift card to a local coffee shop or ice cream parlor) can have a big impact.
Acknowledge Their Struggles
We all have bad days. When your employees are facing adversity, either at work or home, a little empathy goes a long way. Showing appreciation for their perseverance might help them through a difficult time or validate their hard work.
You might consider:
- Offering additional personal time to employees who work long hours and miss important life events
- Suggesting a team happy hour or coffee after a particularly stressful day or week
- Offering spot awards, gift cards, or other tokens to thank team members for their work
- Offering flexible work schedules or the option of working at home
- Going to bat for them when other organizations unfairly blame or criticize your team
- Apologizing when you take your stress out on a team member
Invest in Your Employees’ Futures
When you invest in your employees’ career development and wellness, you acknowledge their value as employees and people. Offer mentoring, training, tuition reimbursement, and job advancement opportunities. You should also invest in employee wellness and encourage employees to use their healthcare and other fringe benefits.
Canopy Health: Part of Your Employee Appreciation Program
At Canopy Health, we’re proud to deliver refreshingly clear, human care to Bay Area employees. Our alliance includes nearly 5,000 primary care physicians and specialists, as well as 18 hospitals located across 8 counties.