As humans, we all have an innate need to feel appreciated, valued and connected. We know that our social wellbeing is just as important as looking after our physical health, and this rings true within our work environment as well.  

Showing employee appreciation has been proven to increase employee satisfaction, engagement, productivity and retention. It also helps to build a positive company culture, which cultivates a strong team morale. 

Employee retention has been in the spotlight more than ever this year due to the Great Resignation, as millions of people have been voluntarily leaving their jobs. According to recent research by Microsoft, more than 40 per cent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employers this year. 

One of the simplest ways to increase employee retention in your workplace is through the recognition of your employees. According to a study from GlassDoor, more than half (53%) of employees stated that they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss. On top of this, four in five (81%) employees reported that they’re motivated to work harder when their employer shows appreciation for their work. Psychology studies have also found that when people experience gratitude from their manager, they’re more productive. 

employee appreciation

All employees want to feel appreciated and useful in their role. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, while a lot of companies run employee appreciation programs of some sort, they often fall flat and aren’t aligned with what people really want.

Making employees feel valued and appreciated shouldn’t be complicated. Here are 7 simple ways to show more employee appreciation in your workplace. 

1. Express gratitude directly and often

Simply taking a few minutes to tell your employee specifically what you value about their contributions can have a significant impact. Sometimes, all an employee needs to hear to know that they’re appreciated is a simple “thank you” or “great job on that project.” Day-to-day recognition is a great way to build up a culture of appreciation where employees feel valued, without requiring a large sum of time or resources.  

2. Give balanced feedback

Employees want to know what they’re doing well and where they can improve. It’s important that you provide regular balanced feedback that is both positive and developmental. It is, however, best to avoid giving both types of feedback at once. Clearly separating positive feedback with developmental feedback will reduce confusion and get your points across more clearly. Clearly communicating what an employee’s strengths and areas of improvement are (and not just at performance review time) helps to build transparency and trust. 

3. Address and provide growth opportunities

Employees want to feel like they are growing and progressing toward their career goals. It’s important to understand what your employee’s goals are, and recognise that growth and success look different for everyone. Be sure to discuss growth potential and provide learning opportunities for your staff, no matter what their goals are. These learning opportunities can include conferences, courses for upskilling, mentorship programs, and regular training. There’s also a direct link between retention and promotion, so reminding your employees of the potential to be promoted, or to change roles, is a great motivator for high performance.

4. Offer flexibility

Flexibility can be interpreted as a signal of trust and appreciation. Giving employees flexibility to choose their hours or to work remotely, or even simply suggesting they come in late the day after working extra hours, can make them feel more valued. Flexibility is not a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to be open and adaptable to the needs of your employees (within reason) in order to create a culture of trust and appreciation.

5. Create a culture of celebrating wins

We all love to celebrate achievements! Creating a culture where big and small wins are celebrated boosts morale and productivity. Celebrating small wins along the way to a bigger goal increases positive feelings of progress. The more frequently people experience a sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creative and productive in the long run. There are many ways you can celebrate wins at work, you could surprise employees with lunch, an extra day off, or go out as a team to celebrate. Even something as simple as a shout out at an all staff meeting or a coffee voucher can be an inexpensive and meaningful way to show you have noticed their achievements.

6. Don’t forget birthdays and anniversaries

In addition to celebrating company wins, you should also celebrate milestones such birthdays and the anniversary of an employee’s hire. A study by Harvard Business Review found that employees were likely to leave after a year of employment. Don’t let someone’s employment anniversary go unnoticed, and reward them for staying. This will show them, and other staff members, that you appreciate them staying on board. Reward them in a way that is unique to them, with something that they’d really like or be interested in. 

Additionally, celebrating birthdays is also a great way to show your interest and investment in your staff. Buying a cake or even getting everyone in the team to sign a card is a cost-effective way to show the love. For larger organisations, try having a monthly birthday cake to celebrate everyone who has a birthday in that month together. Keep in mind, though, that some people may want to lay low on their birthdays and won’t want to publicly celebrate. Being thoughtful about birthday celebrations can make a big difference to how your employees feel about your company. 

7. Invest in employee wellbeing

You should express appreciation for your employees in more ways than one. On top of regularly expressing your gratitude directly, you should also invest in the wellbeing of your employees ongoing. Acts of appreciation can be fruitless if employees feel like the organisation doesn’t care about them or how they’re feeling. 

Understand that, at the core of everything you do, your employees’ wellbeing is vital to your success as a company. Implementing wellbeing initiatives helps show your employees that you genuinely care.It can also make a difference to how appreciated your staff feel. This can improve employee engagement, retention, productivity and presenteeism, leading to a strong and collaborative work culture.

When employees feel their best, they perform their best. Show your employees that you care about them by investing in their wellbeing. Learn more about how a custom digital platform by Springday can help you support the wellbeing of your people.