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Hey there, workplace leaders. You may be familiar with our content on employee appreciation using Recognition & Rewards. Today, we’re taking it to the next level.
We’ll show you 6 tips to show employee appreciation year-round using employee experience fundamentals that already are —or should be — built into your process.
(Pro tip: If you’re looking for more general employee appreciation tips, like simple ways to say thank you, check out our article, 25 Heartfelt Employee Appreciation Ideas.)
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Provide clear opportunities for growth
Show people you appreciate them by investing in them. Growth opportunities are key to employee well-being — and nothing says “I appreciate you” like demonstrating that you want someone to stick around and fulfill their full potential.
Top-performing individuals constantly strive to become the best version of themselves. They’re looking for a workplace to help them achieve everything they can. Offering plenty of growth opportunities communicates that you want to meet your team members’ needs and that you care about their future. And the payoff is huge.
- 60% of employees agree that if given a choice between similar jobs, the option with stronger professional development wins – even against higher pay.
- 45% percent of employees report that more training would make them more willing to remain in their current roles.
- When organizations have strong internal mobility, their employees stay 2X longer.
Ways to show employee appreciation via growth opportunities:
- Increased access to high-level leaders
- Posting internal opportunities for advancement
- Funding for conferences
- Skill-building training
- Invitations to lunch & learns
When in doubt, do a quick survey to find out what growth opportunities people are most interested in.
Tip #2: Have regular 1-on-1 Sync-Up conversations
Make sure your managers are having regular 1-on-1 Sync-Ups with their team members — weekly if not more. Why is this key to employee appreciation? Regular manager-employee conversations are key for building trust. Plus, when employees know their managers see and appreciate them as people, they’re 3x as motivated and engaged — so everybody wins.
Regular manager-employee conversations form the basis of a trusting relationship. They allow managers to establish great communication, stay in the loop on morale, assess challenges, remove roadblocks, and keep current on a person’s interests and aspirations.
Great managers serve both as advocates and coaches — and that helps people recognize that they’re truly appreciated.
According to Gallup, people who have weekly performance chats with their managers are:
- 5.2x more likely to strongly agree that they receive meaningful feedback
- 3.2x more likely to strongly agree they are motivated to do outstanding work
- 2.7x more likely to be engaged at work
How to show employee appreciation via 1-on-1 Sync-Ups
Create the expectation of weekly Sync-Ups on your team, if not in your whole organization
Give managers the tools to successfully run effective Sync-Ups. Check out our guide and the Goals & Feedback portion of our platform for practical help.
Tip #3: Use surveys to listen and respond
Want to show you appreciate someone? Listen to their ideas, and take them seriously. Show your employees you appreciate their voices by doing regular pulse or engagement surveys. And always take action on the result.
Employee listening builds rapport, communicates respect, and offers a sense of ownership to team members.
Establishing a regular rhythm can set your organization company apart. Here’s why…
- 46% of organizations conduct engagement surveys only once a year.
- Only 21% perform engagement surveys 3x per year or more.
- 58% of respondents said they wish that their companies surveyed more often.
How to appreciate employees via listening
- Administer regular pulse surveys to keep tabs on employee sentiment
- Make survey responses anonymous or confidential to encourage honesty
- Invite dialogue with open-ended survey responses and a solution like WorkTango’s Surveys & Insights platform that allows for anonymous follow-ups
- Share survey results at company all-hands, including actions you intend to take to address issues
- Fulfill your promises, and communicate the status clearly
Tip #4: Make recognition part of every day
It’s Employee Appreciation 101 — recognize your team members regularly, and make it easy for them to thank each other via peer-to-peer recognition.
- 50% of employees would stay in their jobs longer if they were recognized more often.
How to create employee appreciation with recognition
- Make recognition part of your culture
- Having trouble? Set calendar reminders to give recognition at least once a week
- Use HR tools that make it easy to share recognition organization-wide. That’s what WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards solution is all about. Everybody gets instant access.
- Train everyone in your organization to give praise that’s timely, specific, and tied to impact, as we explain in the video below
Tip #5: Engage in fearless feedback
This one can be hard, but it’s a piece of super-charged strategy. One way to show someone that you respect them is by being honest with them. Clarity is kindness, and offering gentle, direct, specific critique can be a way of expressing care. The goal isn’t to tear down but to improve the product or output while building up the person.
When feedback is an expected part of everyday work life, it becomes less scary. Strive to create a culture in which radically candid feedback is truly appreciated and goes both ways: from manager to report and from report to manager.
- Employees are 3.6X more likely to be “strongly motivated” to do outstanding work when they get daily feedback from a manager.
- There’s a huge opportunity to set your company apart in the minds of younger generations of workers– only 17% of millennials “strongly agree” that they receive meaningful feedback at work. A company that gets feedback right will get ahead.
How to drive employee appreciation with feedback
- Make giving feedback a regular part of your culture (see our guide, How to Create a Feedback Culture, for tips). Have a solution on board (like Goals & Feedback) where anyone can ask for input– anytime.
- Ensure that feedback is multidirectional — employees must feel empowered to give feedback to managers, not just the other way around (see our article, How to Give Your Boss Feedback)
- Feeling tongue-tied? Check out these 20 Constructive Feedback Examples for work
- Remember that feedback can be positive as well as constructive — read examples of positive feedback for all work scenarios
Tip #6: Offer culture-based incentives
Finally, show your employees that you appreciate their engagement with your culture by offering incentives. Let your employees earn rewards or points for participating in training, leading events, staying healthy, and more.
This light form of gamification allows employees to pick out the rewards they find the most meaningful, all while reinforcing your culture.
According to research on the psychology of points-based systems:
- 83% of employees report feeling that it’s a “treat” to get points at work
- 75% say that receiving points is a memorable experience
- Best of all: points rewards programs typically reach nearly 100% of the employees in an organization. That’s impressive effectiveness.
How to drive employee appreciation with incentives
- Offer an employee recognition program with a points-based rewards system (learn more about points-based rewards systems here)
- Offer a diverse employee rewards marketplace, not just monetary gifts and company swag. Not sure what to include? Survey your people for input.
Offer Incentives for activities that reflect your culture, support organizational goals, or foster well-being