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February 2019 | Blog | By: DecisionPathHR

Employee Appreciation - How to get it right this year

Employee recognition is one of the simplest (and most important) things a manager can do to improve company morale. Increases in workplace productivity, employee happiness, and building stronger relationships are just a few of the positive impacts it can have.

50% of employees believe being thanked by managers improves their relationship AND builds trust

69% of employees would work harder if they felt appreciated

Over 90% of employers believe employee engagement is linked with performance

Only about 40% of senior leaders prioritize employee engagement

Although many managers may not be giving their employees the recognition they deserve, it is never too late to start. And what better way to do so than Employee Appreciation Day? Below are five ideas to help recognize your employees this year – and three mistakes to avoid.

Simple Ideas to Show Employee Appreciation:

1. Social Media Shout-Outs

Social media is one of the biggest advents in information sharing over the past couple of decades and the chances that your employees are active online is getting higher and higher. Use these outlets to craft messages demonstrating how important your employees are to the company. This can come in the way of individual spotlights, sharing information about them (that they approve, of course), or a post that showcases what other ways you recognize them. This last one can be especially important because it shows prospective employees that they will matter – a trend increasingly important to younger generations.

2. Kick Off a "Gamification" System

Gamification is one of the more popular ways to boost employee engagement and increase productivity. Assigning values to tasks that need to be done encourages some friendly competition between employees and gives them a real reward for completing as many tasks as possible. We all want employees who go above and beyond what their direct responsibilities are, and gamification is a sure-fire way to encourage this.
Possible weekly or monthly rewards can include bonuses, a meal on the company, or anything else you see fit.

3. Feed Them

Nothing says, “I appreciate you!” quite like a meal courtesy of the company. Give your employees an hour for lunch and provide the feast yourself. This can be as easy as ordering pizza, catering from a popular restaurant, or (if you are extra ambitious) you can prepare the meal yourself. The most important thing is that you give them some time during the day to feel appreciated for all their hard work.

4. Give Them a Platform

Do you have employees who are active socially? That want to spread the word about something? That are passionate about things outside of the workplace? Take this opportunity to give them a voice for what they care most about. Whether it’s part of your newsletter, a post on your social channels, or a bulletin set up for everyone in the company to see; allowing your employees to share what they care about will endear them to you and the company.

5. Personalize the Message

Giving your employees recognition as a group is a great place to start, but don’t let it be the only thing you do. Go the extra mile and do something to personalize whatever message you are sending. Hand-written thank you notes mentioning the employee by their name is one way to accomplish this. The bottom line is if you put the extra effort in for them, they will put the extra effort in for you.

As great of an initiative as employee recognition is, it can be ineffective if you use the wrong practices.

Mistakes to Avoid when Recognizing Employees

1. Not Doing Anything

This one is simple. Do something. Your employees work hard for you, so show them how much you appreciate it by putting together an event, catering a lunch, or giving them a simple “thank you.”

2. Blanket Messaging

The opposite side of our fifth tip, personalization, is crafting blanket messages. Using cookie-cutter messaging can have the opposite effect that recognition is supposed to have. If you give a robotic thank you message to everyone then it is no longer special, which takes away what the recognition is supposed to be. Don’t make your employees feel like just a number.

3. Only Doing it Once a Year

Although Employee Appreciation Day is important to celebrate and can be used as an effective “kick-off” for your future plans, it should not be the only day you thank your employees. People produce better work when they are in a positive environment and feel what they do matters and is appreciated.

The importance of consistent employee recognition cannot be understated. Follow these guidelines to boost employee retention, build stronger relationships between employees and management, and improve your overall work environment.

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