If you thought that it’s adequate to hand out a few checks or send out a standard appreciation mail to show your employees that they’re valued, it’s simply not enough!
The employer-employee relationship is like any other – it needs some work to keep it going, and the benefits of a good one can make all the difference to your life.
Why Is Employee Appreciation Important?
Though HR departments often use the terms “appreciation” and “recognition” interchangeably, there are crucial differences between the two.
Recognition is a response to good performance and often entails giving monetary compensation, promotion, awards, or a hefty bonus. However, it involves working in a competitive environment and often under unequal conditions. It is also something that is decided by the authorities at the top.
On the other hand, appreciation focuses on the person’s intrinsic value as perceived by the organization. It is not so much concerned with what they do as with who they are and how much the organization and their co-workers value them.
It is also a way to validate them and let them know that their contribution and presence are needed and acknowledged.
Sometimes these two factors go hand in hand, but most of the time, they provide employers with opportunities to connect with employees in two different ways.
Employees Appreciation helps to:
- Reduce turnover
- Enhance job satisfaction
- Boost production
- Instill loyalty and confidence in the company
- Attract new talent
- Retain talent
- Increase motivation
- Ensure that the work environment remains stable, harmonious and collaborative
- Escalate productivity
What To Focus On?
Don’t forget that we do have a formal Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday in March. But that doesn’t mean you do something boring and routine such as putting up an “Employee Of The Month” notice on the bulletin board or handing out a standard award.
These ideas were so yesterday! Today’s employee wants something unique, engaging, and relevant. It need not be expensive, extravagant, or over the top in any way.
A simple, sincere hand-written note from the CEO with the employee’s name and acknowledging their contribution can work wonders. The trick is to be timely and specific.
i. Don’t Miss Out Important Life-Events
Birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestone events in life are an excellent opportunity to show appreciation.
You can keep it simple with a cake and candles, or splurge on a special catered lunch. Some employers give their staff a rain-check on a day off, to be taken whenever they want, to celebrate a special event.
ii. Peer Pleasure
Make a video that has peers telling the employee how they feel about working with her/him, highlighting great moments, etc. You can also organize a video conference with employees across geographies joining in to show appreciation.
Being acknowledged by peers and co-workers is extremely valuable, especially when there’s a competitive environment.
It also helps people to bond and connect and acknowledge the contribution of maintenance staff, contract workers, temps, etc.
iii. Pay Attention To Unique Interests
Avoid standard, off-the-shelf gifting ideas. Take the trouble to understand your employees’ unique personalities, hobbies, interests, talents, etc., and customize your gifts accordingly.
17 Great Employee Appreciation Ideas
1# Instant Appreciation
Spot-awards show your employee that you recognize great performance immediately. Keep a store of coupons, tickets to sports events/theater/concerts, restaurant discount-coupons, gift-cards, travel-vouchers, etc. to hand out then and there. An experienced financial adviser from San Francisco can give you great inputs.
2# Lunch Out
A spontaneous lunch out for the winning team, or a specially catered lunch with the CEO, a quick lunch at the neighborhood bistro, or a fun break at the newest restaurant in town can energize the entire group. Keep it as a surprise, and you can double the fun as well as show how much you care.
If you can afford it, there’s nothing that’s welcomed more than a new experience. Balloon rides, wine and cheese tasting, art/craft classes, pottery making, whitewater rafting, adventure sports, test-driving the latest luxury automobile, volunteer work, and much more will give them pleasant memories connected with the company and their work.
4# Wellness Products/Experiences
A day at the spa, a full-body health check-up, self-care advice, grooming tips, discounts on wellness products, etc. are a great idea.
Never lose their charm, if they’re organized well.
Surprise delivery of candy, flowers, soft-toys, cake, coffee n donuts, cookies, or even pizza is always welcomed.
7# Fame Wall
Fame Wall is a great way to show public appreciation
8# Social Media
Say it loud and clear on Facebook or Instagram.
9# Fun Bots and Apps
If you’re in software, it’s easy to create fun bots and apps that pop up on everyone’s screen to show appreciation for a great performance, event, or just to say the employee is valued.
10# Education and Training
Short-term courses, training events, seminars, conferences, and learning opportunities are eternally valued.
11# Mall Trips
Get them to join a mall-walkers group, or go on a sponsored shopping spree, with a fun coffee-break thrown in for good measure.
12# Karaoke Night
Everyone’s a closet singer, and there’s nothing like a karaoke night to bring out hidden talents!
13# Acknowledge them on your company website
This is a great way to recognize and appreciate cleaning and maintenance staff, service providers, contract workers, etc. who may otherwise remain invisible.
14# Arrange for commute
This is a great way to ease the commute for someone who lives far away from their workplace. Arrange for a pre-paid cab-ride for a week, and they’ll never forget the convenience and comfort.
15# Family get-to-knows
It puts a face to what your employee goes home to every day when you arrange for family meet-ups. Try and keep the groups small and don’t make it an anonymous jamboree.
16# Focus Away from Work
Recognize and appreciate other interests, talents, and hobbies the employee has – art, music, HAM radio, volunteering, whatever.
Brag on their behalf so that the rest of the team knows more about the employee.
Pet-day is a great way to get to know your employees’ furry friends. Plan a day where employees can either bring their pets in to work (if it’s feasible), go to a pet park or pet-friendly restaurant, or give a presentation about their pets.
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Author: Melissa Anspach