Human beings fundamentally need to feel appreciated, in the workplace and elsewhere. Recognizing your employees and showing them you appreciate them makes them happy, and happy employees are 12 percent more productive than unhappy employees.
Happy employees will stick around longer, too, so employee appreciation programs can help you reduce turnover and, over time, even improve the quality of your workforce by helping your employees build new skills and competencies. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you can do to show your employees your appreciation.
1. Give Them Extra Time Off
Let’s say your IT guy has to come in on Saturday to deal with a computer-related emergency. Show your appreciation by giving him the next Monday off, so he can still have a weekend. Reward your sales team for meeting the quarterly sales goal by giving them all an extra day off. Recognize an employee’s years of service by giving additional days off for each year of service an employee has given your company.
Giving extra days off will show employees that you understand that they have lives outside of their jobs – and that you recognize their right to have them. Besides, employees who have extra time off are more relaxed and rested at work, so they’re able to be more productive. Of course, that only holds true if your employees actually feel empowered to use the time off, so make sure that you encourage employees to take vacations and personal days and set a good example by taking them yourself.
2. Recognize Milestones and Anniversaries
Employees feel appreciated when you recognize them as individuals first, and not just employees. Show your employees that you value them as people – recognize their life milestones and work anniversaries. Putting together an employee anniversary recognition program shows employees that you’re paying attention to how long they’ve been with the company, and that can make them feel very appreciated and valued. Recognizing milestones like birthdays, births, and marriages also makes employees feel appreciated on an individual level.
3. Say “Thank You”
You’d be surprised how far those two little words can go in building rapport with employees and helping them feel respected and valued. Make saying thank you a regular part of your routine. Drop by employees’ desks to say thank you verbally when they’ve gone above and beyond, or just to thank them for their reliability or for the little things they might do to keep the office running smoothly. Does one employee always water the office plants? Is there a specific employee who always helps with computer problems? Write them a nice note to let them know that you see and appreciate their contributions.
Express your gratitude for the bigger things, too. Buy everyone lunch to celebrate the completion of a new project or the achievement of a new goal. Never let an employee’s professional success go unacknowledged.
4. Expand Paychecks and Perks
There’s just no better way to make employees feel valued than to give them better compensation. An employee’s paycheck puts their worth to the company in concrete terms, so if you really value your employees, show them you know their worth by paying them competitive market rates. Offer perks and benefits, too. Employees need health insurance, retirement plans, contribution matches, and parking or public transport reimbursement. They need bonuses and performance incentives, paid time off, and flexibility to work from home or adjust their schedules to attend to their personal and family needs.
5. Offer Opportunities for Professional Development
Good employees will be constantly working towards ways to improve and advance in their careers, and if you’re not offering development and advancement opportunities, that might mean they’ll be looking for those chances at another company. Make sure employees have access to professional development courses.
Either create courses yourself, or give employees access to online courses. Offer tuition reimbursement for those who want to further their formal education. Opportunities for mentoring and career guidance, additional in-person training, and cross-departmental training can also help employees improve their skill sets. Reduce turnover and show your employees you’re willing to invest in them professionally.
Making your employees feel appreciated can make all the difference when it comes to attracting and retaining the best candidates. From competitive pay to regular recognition, there’s a lot you can do to build rapport with your employees and show them you appreciate every one of their contributions. Take the time to make them happy, and they’ll reward you with years of service.