Employee Appreciation: you know it’s important, so why is it often overlooked?
I think there are a couple of reasons managers steer clear of formal employee appreciation initiatives.
For one, there are a lot of companies out there telling you that to win the hearts and minds of employees, you need to buy them things. Lots of things with your company logo on them. Very few companies have a big budgets for swag … and that’s ok, because very few employees’ loyalties can be bought with logoed tchotchkes.
Another reason? Some managers are just weird about expressing appreciation (or any personal emotions). It seems unnatural and forced.
That’s one of the many reasons I love Thanksgiving Week – it may be the only time each year where managers get a very natural, timely opportunity to express gratitude to their employees without it being perceived as insincere.
In the fast-paced world of business, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget the importance of expressing gratitude to your team. Here are five easy things managers can do in the next few days to make their teams feel valued.
1. Personalized Thank You Notes:
In an era dominated by rapid digital communication, where messages are often fleeting and overlooked, the impact of a handwritten note stands out. Take a deliberate moment to compose personalized thank-you notes for each team member, and include specific contributions or qualities that make them indispensable to the team.
This small yet intentional gesture transcends the impersonal nature of digital messages, demonstrating that you’ve invested time and consideration to acknowledge their unique efforts. This personal touch goes beyond a routine expression of gratitude; it symbolizes a deeper connection and recognition of the individual’s value within the team dynamic.
2. Public Recognition:
Harnessing the power of public recognition within team meetings or through internal communication channels is a necessary strategy for fostering a positive team culture. Publicly praising employees for their achievements in the presence of their peers carries lasting significance. This approach not only boosts individual morale but contributes to the cultivation of a collective sense of accomplishment and unity.
3. Casual Team-building Activities:
For people who are working this week, set up a spontaneous lunch, coffee break, game (with no business agenda behind it), or anything else that your employees would appreciate during the workday that’s not work.
Activities like these are the secret sauce that connect employees to each other, so they can feel like more like a team and less like coworkers. When these casual moments are not just sanctioned but actually coordinated by the boss, they’ll know just how much you care about them.
4. Encourage Peer Recognition:
Whether you feel comfortable expressing gratitude to your employees or not, setting up ways for peers to publicly praise each other is a powerful way to create a culture of appreciation. Host a meeting where the only agenda is letting team members openly acknowledge and praise each other for their contributions, or make the practice a part of every meeting you hold.
Beyond meetings? Create a Virtual Appreciation Wall on your intranet. That’s an easy, sophisticated, and inclusive way for team members to publicly express gratitude for their colleagues’ contributions. This visual platform not only serves as a testament to the positive impact of each team member but also creates a perpetual source of inspiration and acknowledgment. It becomes a living narrative of the team’s collective achievements, strengthening the bonds that tie individuals together.
5. Utilize Social Media and Internal Communication Channels:
Leveraging the expansive reach of social media or the internal communication platforms of a company amplifies the impact of your appreciation efforts. Try Employee Spotlights – create regular posts or features that shine a spotlight on individual team members. By showcasing their accomplishments, skills, or personal milestones, this practice goes beyond the workspace, celebrating the multifaceted identities of team members. The humanization of the workplace through these spotlights not only celebrates achievements but also fosters a deeper connection among team members and makes the workplace more relatable to a broader audience.
If you’ve been too busy to give much thought to showing your employees how much you appreciate them, this is the week to do it. Hopefully it’ll have ripple effects throughout the holiday season and into 2024!