The 3rd of March is Employee Appreciation Day and that presents key opportunities for leaders to acknowledge the invaluable efforts of their teams. Not only does this improve employee well-being and job satisfaction, but it has knock-on effects on overall productivity and engagement, as Lewis Maleh explains
Companies with engaged teams achieve considerably better results than those with low levels of employee engagement. This is just one of many reasons why employee recognition is fundamental for a successful business. But it needs to be meaningful appreciation, grounded in a tangible commitment to improve the working lives of your team.
Why appreciating employees is so important
People are at the core of every thriving business. It’s their commitment that determines the continuity of operation, quality of services, customer satisfaction and many other elements. Hence, it’s key for leaders to maintain employee motivation and provide the best work environment for their self-development. Showing appreciation on a regular basis – not only for significant, major achievements, but also for routine everyday activities – is an effective and often low-cost tool for motivating your team members. Employees who feel valued are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty to help their company succeed.
Employee appreciation can lead to lower turnover rates, which is essential for the long-term growth of any business. High turnover can prove costly for companies, both in terms of time and resources devoted. It can also have a negative impact on morale and productivity, as remaining employees may feel uncertain and unmotivated as their colleagues leave.
Appreciative leaders are the most valuable
Appreciative leadership helps to create and maintain positive relationships with team members. It’s evidenced that good relationships within the group build trust and enhance collaboration. Therefore, in the midst of their many responsibilities, leaders need to find time to regularly appreciate employees.
When recognition makes the bottom of a leader’s priority list, people feel like their work goes unnoticed. Consequently, this deteriorates the relationship between the team members and their manager. As resentment grows, productivity and well-being decrease.
In contrast, by valuing the team, both as a whole and individually, leaders boost employee morale and ultimately the chances of them staying with the company. A workforce with high morale is more likely to work together effectively, solve problems and come up with creative solutions.
Additionally, a business that has a reputation for recognising its employees attracts top talent in the industry. The prospect of working in a positive and supportive workplace is a significant factor for all job seekers.
How to implement employee appreciation
There are plenty of ways to show appreciation in business. Starting with a simple thank you, moving on to additional career opportunities and ending with non-financial and financial benefits.
Here are just a few examples of employee recognition:
- Celebrating their achievements and milestones, such as work anniversaries or the completion of an important project. Whether it’s a public announcement, a certificate of recognition, or a small gift, recognising employees for their hard work and dedication is a simple yet very effective way to boost their morale, motivation, and engagement.
- Providing opportunities for additional development, such as training or mentoring programmes. Investing in employees’ professional growth and skills not only benefits them, but also the organisation. These should be personalised to the individual to see real benefits.
- Offering flexible working arrangements. Giving employees the option to work remotely or allowing them to adjust their work schedule can improve their work-life balance, reduce stress, and increase productivity. It demonstrates you understand and care about the whole person.
- Providing a comprehensive benefits package. Offering compelling benefits is key to attracting and retaining top talent in today’s competitive job market. In addition to health insurance and retirement plans, companies should consider implementing benefits such as paid time off, additional parental leave and well-being programmes. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something your team would actually use and appreciate, so work with them on crafting the benefits package. Their needs are likely to change over time.
- Hosting team-building events, such as company picnics or team outings. Creating opportunities for team bonding and socialising fosters a positive work culture and builds important bonds that help us weather challenging times.
There are many ways to implement employee appreciation in business and each employee may prefer a different method. The key is to get to know their needs and find the right, tailored approach and ensure that it is making a real, tangible difference to their working lives. A free lunch isn’t going to make your team feel appreciated if you do not pay them fairly, or encourage daily work beyond their contracted hours. It takes time and commitment, but it is an investment in the long-term growth and success of every company and its individuals.
Lewis Maleh is an executive recruitment expert and the founder and CEO of Bentley Lewis, an award-winning global boutique executive search firm. He is one of the leading global minds on what’s next in the workplace, how hiring and attracting talent is evolving and what people are really looking for from work. He shares his expert insights as a global speaker and host of podcasts The recruitment show and Don’t take out your phone