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7 Ideas to Show Employee Appreciation

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Employee appreciation is an important step to keeping and maintaining your current staff. Furthermore, when you continuously show your appreciation, employees are more engaged. 


Find Out What Your Employees Want

Do you know what your employees want? Consider surveying them to find out. When you can deliver on what your employees need, then you will be able to offer better employee appreciation ideas. 

According to a Gallup report called Global Talent Trends 2022, employees want employers to listen, learn, and adapt to identify unmet needs. They also want to work with a company instead of for a company and they want more input. Employees would also like their employer to develop programs that show their commitment to the employee’s well-being, develop new skills, and develop new ways of working (i.e., technology). 


Motivate Your Employees

Engaged employees are motivated employees. When they are engaged, they help your small business succeed. There are many ways to motivate your staff. Building a culture where everyone’s voice is heard and respected goes along with making your employees feel they work with your small business. By allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions and have some autonomy in their jobs, you will increase employee engagement. 

Do you have high turnover? Employee dissatisfaction causes employee turnover. Therefore, employee surveys can help your business. If your employees need more pay, better leadership, or flexible schedules, employee surveys can help you discover issues.  


Show Employee Appreciation

Once you investigate what your employees really want, here are some ideas to show employee appreciation:


1.     Offer Employee Recognition

According to an employee survey completed by O.C Tanner, they asked, “What is the most important thing that your manager or company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?” 

37% of respondents said that more recognition motivates them to do their best work. 

Also, people who feel recognized at work are:

  • 2.6 times more likely to think that promotions are fair
  • 2.2 times more likely to say innovative thinking is embraced
  • 2.0 times more likely to say people are willing to go above and beyond

Create a thought-out plan of how you’re going to start recognizing your employees at work. Ensure you develop ideas that are personal to your employees. For example, you may want to recognize a team that worked on a long project. Offer to take them to lunch, give them a small bonus, and a plaque.

Many employees can be unsatisfied with the rewards and recognition programs because they feel they aren’t personalized. Be unique and timely with your employee recognition plan.

Develop a list of ideas to incentivize your staff. Did they increase sales or offer great customer service? It can be big or small. Give them gift cards for a dinner or movie. Ensure your recognition programs encourage employee growth and ideas. It is important to research to determine what they like. The gifts will be more personal.


2.     Offer Training and Advancement Opportunities

To help combat employee turnover, develop your staff for advancement. What are your plans to grow your small business? Do your employees know your plan? Many employees like to continue to be challenged with their work. Determine what you can offer them to be challenged.

Have you spoken to your staff about where they want to go in the future? Take time to speak to them about their career development goals. Once you know where they would like to go, you can help them train for the future with your company. 


3.     Keep Your Employees Happy

Are your employees happy? Develop a relationship with your staff. Ask them about their lives and get to know them. Don’t be too nosey. However, by getting to know your employees, you are showing an interest in their lives. 

Talk to your employees about their needs for the job. Does their equipment break often? Do they feel comfortable talking to you about work-related issues? Having a true open-door policy helps build good relationships with your staff. 

It is important to be encouraging. Everyone has personal issues, challenges, and makes mistakes. Learn to talk to your staff to be constructive with your criticism when needed. Never talk down to them. Maintain their self-esteem. 


4.     Hire Great Leaders

You may have heard the expression, “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” If you offer great pay and benefits but have terrible managers, your staff will leave. Your leadership team is essential to your small business’s success. 

They are the ones that implement policy and help you show appreciation. Therefore, if they are showing favoritism or critiquing their employees all the time, your employees will not feel appreciated. 

Great leaders are good communicators. Furthermore, they will help drive your business to success. They inspire and motivate others to do well. When hiring your leaders, ensure they know your expectations and what skills you desire in a leader. 


5.     Install Good Technology

Good technology and systems are essential to a small business. When an employee comes from a large company to a small company, they sometimes feel like work is harder because of the lack of technology. For example, does your staff still write down their time instead of using time-clock technology like ezClocker?

Do they keep spreadsheets and spend extra time tracking information that software such as QuickBooks could easily do?

Learn how to use good technology such as computers, phones, machinery, or software programs. These will take your business to the next level.  

Good technology can help your customers too. If you install technology that drives good customer service, it is a win-win tool. Implementing technology can help increase your business efficiency for your employees and your clients. 



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6.     Offer Good Benefits

Your small business may not be able to offer health insurance or top pay, but there are many benefits you may be able to offer. If not now, you can put it in your future goals. 

Furthermore, if your employees know what goals they need for your company to offer these benefits, they may deliver better customer service. What benefits could your small business offer? They don’t have to be big. Many employees want flexible scheduling or even opportunities to work from home. Could you pay for a gym membership or chip in on child or doggy daycare? Consider a plan throughout the year to offer workplace benefits. 


7.     Give Creative Rewards

As mentioned above you don’t have to spend a large amount of money to reward your employees. Recognize their business anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. Give them thank you notes, gift cards, small bonuses, etc. 

What hobbies does your staff like? Give a questionnaire out to new employees to find out their favorite restaurants, gift card preferences, etc. These rewards are more personal. Occasionally buy donuts, coffee, and lunch for your project teams. Do you have a landscaping or construction team that customers are bragging about? Show your appreciation by rewarding them. 

Show them you value their contributions to the company. 

Celebrate successes and achievements often. Ensure your staff has the tools to make their job successful. Encourage employee development and your commitment to their success. Develop an employee appreciation plan and budget. The more you recognize your employees and their needs, the harder they will work for you. 


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Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis, co-owner of Travis and Adams Consulting Group, has over 20 years’ experience in human resources and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, leadership development, manufacturing safety programs, and writing business articles and blogs.

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