It doesn’t matter if you work in a Fortune 500 company or a “Mom and Pop” operation, when you thank or unexpectedly recognize employees and coworkers, it is very validating and can be a huge morale boost to the workforce and your strongest tool for employee engagement.
The success or failure of any business depends on its people. High morale typically equals high productivity, reduces staff turnover and optimizes performance. This Friday (the first Friday in March) is National Employee Appreciation Day. This non-official day was first launched by Dr. Bob Nelson, known as the Guru of Thank You, a founding member of the National Association for Employee Recognition, who kicked it off in 1995. It’s a day dedicated to employer-to-employee gratitude and goodwill. Dr. Nelson is the author of the book 1501 Ways to Reward Employees.
If you are a worker-bee, manager, boss or owner, take a good look at the people you rely on and let them know they are appreciated.
Here are some ideas for showing your workforce, regardless of on-premise or remote, that you are aware of their contributions and efforts on behalf of the organization.
Empathy and Authenticity Go A Long Way
- Go out of your way to say hello, bump elbows or have a chat with employees with whom you generally have little contact or minimal rapport. Step out of your social box to learn new names and faces. Do a Teams chat with a department to see how they are doing or how they have adjusted to new ways of working.
- Learn who they are outside the organization. Honor their commitments for childcare or eldercare; don’t abuse their personal time and be flexible when possible about schedules.
- Be cognizant of strengths and weaknesses. Don’t assign a numbers project to a writer or a presentation to a wallflower. Focus on what they do best and maximize their skill set.
- Give people the skills they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability – a better workstation, a computer training course, ergonomic equipment, upgraded software.
- Offer public praise. This can be in the form of a company-wide email or an announcement at an onsite or virtual meeting.
- Remember work anniversaries and birthdays, when possible – acknowledge in person or by text/email.
- Empower them to do their jobs. Don’t micro-manage or sidetrack them through negative coaching.
- Do the unexpected…surprise them with simple treats, frappacinos, or a flower for someone’s desk. Ask if you can join them in the lunchroom and eat with them. Show up with pizza.
Help Them Grow and Excel in the Job
- Provide opportunities for growth and/or community outreach. Let employees participate in projects or committees. Encourage membership in professional associations. Let them represent your organization at charitable events. Make the company’s involvement in any special fundraisers or causes public so that they
can be proud of your corporate altruism. Ask them for input on causes that matter to them – consider giving a free day off for them to volunteer at a cause of their choice.
- Create environments where staff can enjoy each other to build cooperation and loyalty…hold a bowling night, a summer picnic, a softball game, virtual happy hours for your remote teams.
- Use social media (such as a private Facebook page) to share news, happenings and achievements.
- Practice what you preach. Don’t ask your staff to demonstrate good customer care if they don’t get good employee care.
- Maintain a pleasant, clean and safe environment. This includes the break-room, parking lot, restrooms and the overall facility.
- Be fair and honest. Offer tactful discipline when necessary. Provide performance guidelines and job descriptions so people know what is expected of them.
- Provide annual reviews. Assess individual and team performances. Sit down and discuss achievements and shortcomings. When performance and budget permits, offer financial increases. Don’t mask inappropriate compensation with less meaningful perks. People look for the money, even if it is just a cost of living raise.
- Roll up your sleeves and work alongside your staff when they are overloaded or pushing a tight deadline. A boss who is willing to undertake a lower level task to help get the job done, shows respect for the individual who performs that duty on a regular basis.
The computer software company, Wrike, the people behind the “happiness index” put the following VIDEO together pre-pandemic, but it’s message is perhaps even more powerful during these times of worker disengagement and they hype of the Great Resignation.
Everyone wants to be part of a workplace culture that makes an individual feel valued and appreciated.
Think about what your team has gone through these past two years, how they have adapted, bonded, survived and gave it their best. Now is a good a time as any to say a sincere thank you.
#employeeappreciation #engagement #culture #thankyou #talentmatters