Like us, you’ll know that showing recognition and appreciation when employees go the extra mile is one of the cornerstones of employee engagement.
And you might also be aware that engaged employees contribute to:
- fewer safety incidents,
- less absenteeism, and
- fewer quality defects,
alongside the more widely acknowledged higher performance levels, reduced staff turnover, increased profitability and greater employee loyalty.
So, it goes without saying that building employee appreciation and recognition into your engagement programmes is vital to motivating and inspiring employees to reach for the stars, and achieve their potential.
Download our ‘internal comms & employee engagement: why it matters‘ infographic and discover thought-provoking facts and stats.
But you might be thinking – how can I go about putting my team in the spotlight, without appearing contrived or disingenuous?
How can I show that I mean what I say, without sounding forced?
Of course, the simplest thing would be to just remember to say ‘thank you’ every time a member of your team goes above and beyond, or puts in a stellar performance.
But often, when you’ve got lots on your plate and your head is whizzing around at a million miles an hour, this can easily slip through the net, can’t it?
And what about senior leaders? In a lot of cases, they spend most of their time away from the front lines (unless they proactively practice Visible Felt Leadership techniques), which throws a whole new spanner into the works when it comes to keeping employee engagement and morale on a high.
So sometimes, it can be good to go the extra mile yourself, and pull out more of the stops when it comes to making your team feel like valued and respected players in the organisation.
This doesn’t have to be anything ground-breaking or out of the ordinary – just something which makes a lasting positive impression. It’s hardly rocket science, but often the simplest things can have the biggest impact.
But perhaps most importantly of all, it must be authentic, and clearly come straight from your heart.
Just imagine if everyone in your organisation came to work with a smile on their face, and left feeling just as happy. Where they looked past the pay check, and genuinely wanted to do their best for the business.
This is what is waiting for you, if you get appreciation right.
So what techniques can you put into action, to help you make a bigger and better impact when it comes to recognising and valuing your people?
We’ve handpicked 4 unique and powerful ideas you can take inspiration from below…
4 guaranteed ways to make employees feel valued and appreciated every time
1. Spend time with your employees
One of the best things you can do is to get to know your people on a more personal level, so you can get a feel for who they really are, their interests, the way they like to work, their individual needs, and what they desire from the organisation.
This will foster a culture of openness and honesty, which can lead to better teamwork and creative collaboration. And it can also help to make employees feel more secure and at ease within their roles.
It might not be exactly like saying an explicit ‘thank you’, but organising team social events will certainly help to get the message across that efforts and achievements aren’t going unnoticed or unrewarded.
Why not start a regular lunch and learn, where everyone can get away from their desks to connect and bond over a bit of good grub – all while developing their skills, and learning something new?
This is something we do frequently here at H&H, and we’ve found it’s a great antidote for an intensive bout of strategic and creative firefighting. We’ve had guests ranging from fitness experts and silversmiths to coffee connoisseurs and cocktail-making masters – safe to say, there’s been something for everyone!
However, we know it can sometimes be difficult to find a time where everyone can get together and enjoy a spot of productive camaraderie. So how can you keep the connection open on a more personal, one-to-one basis?
Often, this can be as simple as catching some time with them for a quick catch-up or light-hearted conversation, so you can ‘check in’ with how they’re doing, what’s going on in their life and any issues or challenges they might be experiencing, both inside and outside of the workplace.
This interpersonal, one-to-one connection is a sure-fire way to show that you care and respect their happiness and well-being, and it can work wonders for making people feel properly noticed, and not like they’re just another invisible cog in the machine!
It also provides a safe, private, and inclusive opportunity for employees to open up and be honest about things they may be bottling up – something which they may not feel comfortable to do in a more exposed group setting.
2. Show appreciation in a public setting
It’s all well and good saying ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’ in private, but what about when you demonstrate employee appreciation in a public setting?
Shining the spotlight on people in front of their peers can add a little extra ‘oomph’ to your message, with the extra public recognition increasing its impact and resonance. A bit like a bonus pat on the back!
This is another technique we practice on our own turf, with team accomplishments and individual achievements being celebrated at our weekly Monday-morning Huddles through communal ‘Cheers for Peers’. It’s a great way for us all to bask in our collective successes from the previous week – and leaves us all re-energised and fired up to go one better the next!
Each ‘thank you’ post can be seen by everyone in the organisation, and people can comment on their colleagues’ successes and achievements – helping to create a real sense of camaraderie and unity. Which of course leads to better teamwork!
Before going in all guns blazing however, it’s a good idea to get a feel for whether this approach will go down well across the board. It may well be that certain employees find the idea of the spotlight being thrust onto them to be a bit uncomfortable or even intimidating, and so with these folks, an alternative approach would be needed.
After all – you don’t want to end up taking one step forward, and two steps back!
3. Show you care with a small gesture
Picture this: you’re strolling into work bright and early. You enter the office; fellow employees greet you with jolly good mornings. You begin to approach your desk – and sitting upon it, you see a mysterious envelope addressed to you.
You begin to gently peel it open, curious to discover what’s waiting inside. You tug the envelop firmly away, and your eyes fall onto a beautiful card from your CEO with a small note inside thanking you for your efforts and achievements over the last few weeks, finished with the statement: ‘we hope your week is filled with joy and happiness – keep up the great work.’
Consider how you’d feel. Your heart fills to overflowing with pride. You instantly feel a deeper connection with the organisation. And in that simple, timeless moment, all your hard work and effort feels like it’s all paid off. What a wonderful feeling!
Even something as simple and small as this can go leaps and bounds towards boosting people’s motivation, and inspiring them into a positive mindset for the week ahead.
All it takes is a touch of your time, a sprinkling of conviction, and an ounce of authenticity – and you’ve got a recipe for recognition that will stick with people long after they first experience it. It couldn’t be easier, could it?
4. Make flexible working a part of your culture
Again, this goes beyond simply acknowledging employees with a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’.
It might not be as obvious an approach, but it’s a sure-fire way to let employees know they’re valued, and respected.
By letting employees take ownership of their own time and workflow, you’re relinquishing the reigns and giving them a greater sense of freedom and autonomy – both essential components of the engagement equation.
And the message inherently embedded in this approach?
‘I have faith in you to do your job to the best of your ability’.
And what says, ‘I’m a valued and recognised member of the team’, quite like that? We bet you’d be hard-pressed to find something that did!
Finding the best approaches to show employee appreciation and engage them in your organisation is really important for building a culture that everybody loves.
Of course, what works for your organisation will depend on the individual culture, ways of working, and the people within it. There’s no one size fits all approach – this is where you’ll have to think strategically about how you put it into practice.
But if you put some proper thinking behind it, consider which techniques would resonate in your organisation, and most importantly – commit to making it happen, you’ll be sure to see the benefits we mentioned earlier come to life in a way you perhaps never even thought possible.
And we’re sure it would be very much appreciated!