The labor market remains as tight as ever despite rising interest rates and general fears of a possible recession. These dynamics have not been enough to cause any less demand for workers as numerous job roles remain unfilled.
Thus, many companies are actively reviewing their policies for employee retention as they want to retain at least everyone that is currently working for them, in addition to adding more new employees. One way to contribute to that goal is to institute employee appreciation programs.
Benefits of showing your employees appreciation
Nine out of ten (91%) employees say that a strong culture of recognition and appreciation makes them want to continue working for a given employer.
They like that their employer is noticing their diligent efforts to contribute to the company. Also, they appreciate receiving praise and feedback from their co-workers about their performance as well.
This type of feedback loop seems to be something that we are designed for as human beings, and it is understandable that people want to receive attention for what they do.
The benefits of employee appreciation programs are bountiful and well worth the effort necessary to get them started. Different employees respond differently to various forms of appreciation, but the upsides that may be experienced across the spectrum of employees often manifest in similar ways.
Highlight goal achievement
Have you ever set a personal goal for yourself and then managed to reach that goal? If so, then you know the rush of excitement that comes with having hit your mark.
You probably also realize that you receive even more of a rush when you know for a fact that others witnessed and recognized you reaching your goal as well. Quantumworkplace.com describes the feeling like this:
Just knowing that you can do the thing you set out to do and knowing that others have your back is a great motivator as well.
Foster a strong team culture
A successful business operation doesn't leave anyone behind. It also avoids making people feel like they are out there on their own.
It is easy for people to get into the mindset that they are merely an individual employee in the larger landscape, but companies should work to try to incorporate a sense of teamwork within the culture.
When everyone is pulling in the same direction and working towards the same objectives, then the team begins to work better together.
Encourage creative thinking
Recognizing when someone has come up with an idea that was successful and helped the company is crucial. There are times when out-of-the-box thinking is precisely what is necessary to get the company to reach the objectives that it needs to reach.
Naturally, this type of thinking should be rewarded when it produces a great outcome. In fact, failure to recognize these ideas may cause future attempts to help the company with creative thinking to decrease. Don't kill creativity while it is still on the vine!
7 Employee appreciation ideas you can use now
Different approaches can be taken to show employees that they are appreciated. Ideally, you should learn as much as possible about your employees and the forms of appreciation that they respond to the best.
Consider some of the following ideas:
1. Provide food via a delivery service
They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Well, when it comes to employee appreciation ideas, providing free food is a classic choice.
These days, it is easier than ever to offer employees the free meal that they want because of all of the delivery service options that are available. Best of all, it is even possible to send a delivery service lunch to an employee who is working remotely for your company.
However, be sure that you are not overly reliant on this method as rewarding employees with “pizza” instead of “praise” may make your employees feel less appreciated.
2. Make a video that celebrates an employee
You can create a personalized video that recognizes the contributions that an employee made to help the team out.
Given that the cost of making these types of videos is limited, you can create these types of videos on a more regular basis than some of the other appreciation ideas on this list.
This is a great idea for employees who are working remotely - and is much more personalized than a simple thank you email.
3. Offer an unannounced half-day
If you remember back to your school days, one of the best announcements that could be made was that an upcoming day would be a half-day off of school. Every child in the school would get excited about it as they learned that they would get to go home early. Truthfully, the same still applies to us as adults.
Offer employees a paid half-day that allows them to be compensated as if they worked the entire day. But make it clear that they truly only have to come in for half of it.
This is simply allowing them to take a few hours off, but the break is a great way to show your appreciation for their efforts. This offering is most effective when it is provided on a Friday so the employees can begin their weekend early.
4. Write a LinkedIn recommendation
Many people advance their careers via LinkedIn, and they will surely appreciate it if you offer them a boost on that professional social networking website.
One way to do so is to write a letter of recommendation for that employee to place on their profile. You hope that an outstanding employee won't leave your company, but you also want to show that they are appreciated and recognized within your organization.
Besides that, a letter of recommendation might be just what they need to advance further in your organization. They don't necessarily have to leave you at all.
5. Gift a monthly subscription
If you checked your bank statement and looked at all of the things that you have signed up for on a monthly subscription basis, you might be shocked by everything that is on there.
CNBC figures show that the average consumer has a total of 12 paid subscription services at this time. Millennials have even more with an average of 17.
Wouldn't it be nice if your employer swooped in and paid at least one of those for you? That is exactly what some employers are doing as a way of showing their employees that they care about their efforts and appreciate everything that they have done.
Gifting a subscription is an excellent way to help an employee out and show appreciation. It is best to choose something popular such as Netflix or Hulu. Offer to subsidize their subscription for a year or so. That is the most effective way to make this work.
6. Host a meetup for employees
The number of employees working primarily from home has roughly tripled since 2019 according to US Census data. Thus, there are many workers who might feel at least somewhat isolated from the rest of the team.
Remote work can be great for one's mental health and for work-life balance, but it can also be an isolating experience at times.
Companies can help their remote workers by hosting a meetup that the company pays for. Taking the whole team out somewhere to do something fun and enjoy each other's company is a great way to make sure everyone is properly taken care of. It is also a nice reward for the hard work and diligent efforts of your team.
7. Dedicate a Slack channel to employee appreciation
Many workplaces use Slack, or a similar platform, as an internal means of communication between everyone that works there.
No matter which platform you use, you can dedicate a channel of that platform to recognizing the hard work and accomplishments of various team members.
It can be a space completely dedicated to showing members of the team the kudos that they deserve for a job well done. Best of all, it can also foster an environment of peers recognizing each other for their contributions.
When someone is feeling down or simply needs a boost, they can always access the Slack channel where all of that praise has come tumbling in, and that should help bolster their spirits once again, so they feel better and want to get back to doing the excellent work that they know they are capable of.
Employee appreciation is a more urgent need than ever before
The use of an employee recognition program is not just a nice thing to do; it is a necessity. The job market is full of unfilled positions right now, and many workers are well aware of this fact. They can make a switch to another company if they want to or if they feel that their work is not appreciated.
Hiring a replacement is challenging in normal times, and it is even harder right now. Instead of taking a chance with that, why not simply work on showing appreciation to the employees that you already have?
If you want to build a strong team that gets things done and saves your company money, you need to create an effective employee recognition program right away.
Start working on it now before anyone decides that the grass might be greener somewhere else.