As a former HR Manager, I can tell you that appreciation and recognition does not have to cost anything! A main concern I hear from business leaders is that there isn’t room in the budget for recognition. It doesn’t have to be a tchotchke, catered lunch or even a formal program. Why take the time to appreciate people? Because we all want to feel connected and know our work is valuable! Anyone can perform a task and receive a salary, but appreciation and recognition is how you’ll get the most engagement and productivity. What is important to keep in mind though is your culture and type of business to determine what appreciation efforts work best for you.
For example, if you’re in an environment where the work is done based on individual contribution and you’re looking for ideas for process improvement or more team collaboration, you may go out of your way to thank someone who brought forth an idea that would benefit everyone.
If you’re in an environment where friendly competition motivates people, you may want to create simple contents and awards that people can show off on their desks. (Okay, this may cost $1 for the frame) I used to support a call center and my associates would love getting a certificate for their desk when they were “secret shopped” and got a high quality score!
- Walk the floor. Say hi, good morning, how are you? You’d be surprised how much more information and ideas you get from your staff when they can sense you care and are approachable! Learn how individuals like to be appreciated and recognized
- Show your staff you appreciate their knowledge and insight by asking for their feedback on how work is being done. Let them be part of a decision-making process
- Show appreciation through kind words all year round! Do not wait just for Employee Appreciation Day. This will feel fake and forced if leaders haven’t been communicating appreciation already. Also, be sure to share praise that comes from customers.
- Implement an employee of the month program and showcase someone’s contributions on the bulletin board
- Get to know them on a personal level – congratulate them on finishing the race, or reaching their fitness goals. Wish them a happy birthday!
- Say THANK YOU! Let your staff know when they’ve done something specific well. Thank you goes a long way to increasing motivation
- Recognize a team member’s expertise by asking them if they’d like to train a new hire. Almost everyone is open to learning and growing their skills – training is great experience! (There are benefits for the new hire as well)
- Surprise treats are a great way to show appreciation. Consider small bags of candy or a piece of fruit with a fun phrase or saying. (Again…. Small investment for a fun idea)
- Feature them on the company’s social media page or website. With their permission of course. Take a picture and thank/congratulate them for a job well done. People love to show this to their friends and family!
- There are so many more – be creative! A reserved parking spot or jeans day pass sounds good to me!
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s done with sincerity! What is said and how it’s said can outweigh any tangible object. Think about how you would feel receiving the gift or thank you. Let people know they are important, you appreciate their ideas, and that you’re thankful for their efforts. What are some ways you’ve shown appreciation? What went well and what didn’t?