A happy employee is an effective one, and employee appreciation is an essential part of building an effective workforce.
Here's what you need to know:
- Employees who feel recognized for their work are more likely to put in more effort and work harder so they get recognized again
- The way you treat employees translates to how they handle customers
- Employees who don’t feel recognized are twice as likely to want to quit in the following year
- Employees tend to be more present when they are reminded of how important they are to their organization
Employees are probably the most important cog in the wheel of your company. And without the oil of appreciation, that cog is likely to jam up eventually. Most of your workers are eager to hear you tell them that they are doing good work.
Traditionally, performance reviews offered the opportunity for bosses to comment on an employee’s work. However, performance reviews often come across as more of an exam than a time for encouragement — and they come too infrequently. Employees want to feel appreciated on a day-to-day basis. Here are a few reasons why you should oblige them and what you can do to show appreciation.
Why employee acknowledgment matters
Employee acknowledgment is fundamental to getting the best out of your workforce. Employees will feel more connected to their work, their team, and your company as a whole if they are valued and rewarded for their particular efforts.
Here are a few reasons employees should be acknowledged.
Employees are more productive
Employee acknowledgment is a low-cost, high-impact method of boosting productivity. Employees who feel recognized for their work are more likely to put in more effort and work harder so they get recognized again. Research from Deloitte shows that employee productivity and engagement is 14% higher in organizations that practice acknowledgment.
Customer satisfaction levels are higher
When you notice and praise the efforts of employees, they feel cared for and begin to see themselves as part of the company. That confidence translates to how they handle customers — which paves the way toward higher customer satisfaction levels. According to a 2019 paper from the International Journal of Business and Management Invention, there is a direct and positive relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. And one of the main factors improving employee satisfaction is recognition.
Employee turnover drops
When you recognize and reward your employees’ efforts, they will feel valued and want to continue working with you. According to Gallup, employees who don’t feel recognized are twice as likely to want to quit in the following year.
Stress and absenteeism levels are lower
Employees tend to take less sick leave or days off when they are reminded of how important they are to their organization. Gallup research shows that if businesses double the number of employees they recognize every week, there will be a 27% reduction in absenteeism.
Gallup research shows that if businesses double the number of employees they recognize every week, there will be a 27% reduction in absenteeism.
Ways to acknowledge employees
It’s hard to overstate the importance of recognizing your workers for a job well done. Here are a few ways to do it outside the normal performance review.
Consistently praise and recognize your employees
Humans are naturally drawn to appreciative people. You need to get them used to the mindset that when they do good work, they’ll be recognized for it, whether there’s a performance review or not. Say “thank you.” Recognize their accomplishments orally, in writing, or publicly, and look for new ways to express your gratitude regularly.
Offer rewards for a job well done
Beyond their salaries, find ways to offer your employees incentives when they perform their tasks well. Learning opportunities, project awards, prizes, bonuses, and other perks are all examples of incentives. Keep in mind that recognition, not the exact reward or incentive, is the motivator. All incentives should be given equitably.
Send them an employee care package
Never doubt the power of care packages, especially when it comes as a surprise. Regularly reward your employees with care packages containing items that demonstrate your care, such as handwritten letters, gift certificates, healthy snacks, games, and other rewards.
All of these products, carefully chosen and thoughtfully arranged, have a greater impact than any single gift. This not only demonstrates that you care about your employees but also shows that you know who they are.
Invest in their health
The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of good health and healthcare. Healthy employees are efficient employees. That’s why they need tools that will assist them in establishing a strong foundation of wellness. According to a 2020 workplace wellness poll, 70% of employees believe they require assistance from their employers in order to stay healthy. Top-tier healthcare is not cheap, and neither is quality health insurance. Investing in your employees’ health is a sure way of acknowledging them and showing them that you are interested in their well-being.
Buy them lunch
Who doesn’t love free food? Buying someone a meal is one of the most effective ways of showing appreciation. While sharing a meal, make sure to show your gratitude for a job well done. You can even plan a group remote lunch with virtual gift cards for your team if you have staff working from home or in several places. Simply send the gift cards, schedule the lunch, and then video in together for a meal.
Find ways to make tasks fun and enjoyable
As important as pay is for employee satisfaction, you don’t want employees who don’t enjoy what they do. If needed, find ways to spice it up by creating incentives for performing tasks or even setting up healthy competition. This can help in team building and bonding. No task should be boring. Everyone should enjoy what they do and understand that their roles are important in the grand scheme of things.
Do a company-wide shout-out
There’s nothing like seeing your name in a tweet or a page-long letter stating how awesome you are and what a great job you do. A genuine shout-out to everyone is a free, simple, and effective way to thank employees. It expresses appreciation for everyone even while highlighting the efforts of some specific people. This makes all your employees feel included in your recognition without envying the highlighted employees.
The bottom line
The need to be recognized for our efforts, whether at work or anywhere else, is a basic human sentiment. We want to be appreciated. And when we get this appreciation, we want to work even harder. Understanding this as a business owner or a manager is key to building a secure, motivated workforce. Tell your employees when they’ve done a good job. It’ll go a long way in making them more effective.