Frederick Koenig, the industrious German inventor, once mentioned that “happiness comes not from getting something we lack, but from the recognition and appreciation of what we do have.” When an employee does something exceptionally well, it’s rare that their boss will remember to show appreciation. But when that same employee makes a mistake, that boss won’t forget to point out critical errors. Constructive criticism is important, without it employees would not know what needs to be improved or what they are doing wrong but it is a two way street, employees need strong and skillful guidance. Praise is often forgotten leaving many employees to feel under appreciated. A recent survey by Adecco USA found 65 percent of employees would like to receive more "thanks" at their jobs. This survey points out that appreciated employees feel a sense of empowerment and happiness which leads to higher productivity and lower turnover.
Are you giving your employees enough positive encouragement? Generating team appreciation is easy. Here are some thoughtful ways to increase employee appreciation:
Be sincere with your language and identify that your employee has done something outstanding. Positive encouragement is about quality not quantity, praise specific events that are out of the ordinary and activities that are generating great results. Don’t overdo it, praise without merit becomes ineffective and comes off as unauthentic. Praising in public is an opportunity to foster goodwill and optimism throughout your workplace. Inspire your team with an employee’s achievement, give them positive feed back in team meetings, company newsletters or an email to the team.
Say “thank you” in person; the Adecco USA survey found 68 percent of respondents think an email "thank you" isn’t as genuine than being thanked in person. To make your message more meaningful consider hand writing a short thank you note on personalized stationary; it takes a little more time, but shows you made an effort to sit down and write out your appreciation.
If the employee or team did something extraordinary, offer a gift. Christmas isn’t the only time to offer a bonus, why not present them with their bonus early for performing above expectations. Gift cards are always appreciated. Great reasons to give gifts could be when an employee reaches a goal, completes a challenging project, or stays with the company over the long haul. Give a gift they can share with their family or spouse, you are keeping them from some family time right? Make it something memorable. A gift can be as simple as movie ticket or restaurant gift card, or a little more expensive such as tickets to a sporting event or a play. Annual gifts for those who have worked for the company for 10+ years shows you appreciate their dedication to the company.
Keep it simple, be mindful how you interact with your employees and make little changes on how you communicate with your team. Ongoing, meaningful recognition is an effective and low cost way to increase morale and encourage higher levels of performance so don’t forget to implement appreciation into your day to day leadership.
Do you have some creative ways on how you express employee appreciation? Let’s hear them, please tell us.