We often think about showing our customers appreciation. But lets not forget to thank the ones that make it happen – our employees. Without a happy team that loves our customers on the front lines, we wouldn’t have any customers to thank.
In 2015 Ranstad US (a $22.9 billion global provider of HR services) surveyed 2200 full time workers employed at US companies and found some interesting statistics. The majority of American workers are not happy or engaged at work. More than 70% of employees are disengaged at work. Low morale, low productivity, high absenteeism, and increased turnover are growing. Engaged Employees are more productive and create happy customers; a happy customer ultimately strengthens the bottom line!
We need Engaged employees to run our businesses.
Frequent recognition increases employee engagement. The recognition we use should touch 80% of our company over a years time period. Employee of the Month programs where one individual is selected as a winner are not as effective in increasing engagement as a daily or weekly program that highlights many members of your team. These programs don’t have to be expensive to be effective. Your words of praise are free and the benefits of engaging your workforce are priceless.
A study by the Hay Group showed companies with engaged employees had 2 and a half more revenue than their competitors with low engagement levels. Source: Hay Group Study
The science of recognition – Hormones Play A Role
Oxytocin is the well-known “love hormone.” Our bodies create Oxytocin when we feel loved or appreciated. Even a hand shake can cause the secretion of oxytocin. Recent research shows that people who work under the influence of Oxytocin perform better and are more trustworthy at work. Appreciation has a physiological impact on performance.
36% of workers would give up $5K a year of their salary to be happier at work.
28% of workers would rather have a better boss than a $5K raise.
Our employees want to be happy. We want our employees to be happy, right? Yet 39% of employees feel their bosses don’t encourage them to take time off. 38% feel if they skip taking time off they will look more favorable to their boss. And 36% admit to cancelling vacation plans because of work obligations.
We should empower and encourage our employees to take time off. They need to unplug, relax and recharge. When they return from vacation they will be happier, more productive and engaged.
Employee appreciation should be year round, not just at the holidays or on the employee’s anniversary. We have daily opportunities to show appreciation and if we make an effort the rewards are huge. Employee rewards don’t have to be boring, standard, or expensive. Diversity in the workplace means diversity in what employees view as rewarding, so we need to get creative with the rewards we offer. Tangible rewards and cash bonuses work for some, but experiences and opportunities to give back work better for others. Here are a few simple things we can do each week to show our staff how much we appreciate them:
- Say Thank You. When someone on your team does something good, thank them publicly and verbally. Encourage peer to peer appreciation. Being thanked by a co-worker is just as important as top-down recognition. Belonging to a group and being appreciated by that group are 2 of the most valuable psychological needs we have as human beings. These needs are met through peer-to-peer thanks and recognition.
- Surprise them. Bring in donuts or bagels and tell them how much you appreciate what they do. Buy lunch and have it delivered to the office. Whatever little thing you do, make sure they know why you are doing it. Express your appreciation in any sincere way you can.
- Let them know you care. Ask about their weekend or the evening and keep up with important parts of their lives. Send a card or flowers in sad times and let them know you think about them.
- Celebrate Birthdays. At Allogram your birthday is an automatic paid day off. It doesn’t count against vacation but is a day in addition to any accrued vacation. Some companies celebrate birthdays monthly. They bring a cake in and sing happy birthday to all employees celebrating that month. However you want to do it – recognize every employees birthday.
- Award them. Reward them. Wine them, dine them at least once a year. This a great opportunity for a formal recognition presentation in front of the entire company. You can host this at your house or book a venue out. The awards are inexpensive. The party to present the awards will cost more but the return is immediate and measurable. Public recognition will increase engagement. The award presented will serve to remind the employee of those wonderful feelings and that fun filled evening. Employees want to have fun. We want them to remember how much fun and how much they enjoy working for us.
- Share the praise. If you hear a co-worker praising someone, share it. Tell them you heard about the great job they did on the project.
- Publish a “kudos” column in your employee newsletter.Ask employees to submit kudos for their peers.
- Express interest in your employees’ professional development. Even if you cannot fund the employees’ professional development at this time, your employees will appreciate your interest and guidance on achieving their dreams.
- Send thank you notes to employees who work long hours.This method may be even more effective if you send thank you notes to employees’ home addresses. This acknowledges that you understand how much home-time the employee sacrificed to complete that complicated project.
- Recognize your employees’ personal accomplishments.Did Joanne just finish running a marathon? Or has Nancy donated gallons of blood to the Red Cross? They will appreciate your recognition of their personal accomplishments, even if all you do is acknowledge them at the beginning of your next staff meeting.
- Establish a Rock Solid Award to recognize employees who consistently do their job well.Too often, employees are only recognized for one instance of going above and beyond company expectations. And yet many employees work very hard to accomplish the regular duties of their job. Encourage consistency by recognizing employees for doing their job well—after all, it’s not easy to find good employees.
- Give them a Standing Ovation. Bring everyone into the same room. Then bring in the employee being recognized and announce what they did and give them a standing ovation.
- Give them a magazine subscription to any magazine of their choosing. This gift shows up monthly (or weekly) all year round, reminding them of your appreciation.
- A New Chair. Many employees sit for at least eight hours a day. Reward their exceptional effort with a new comfortable, supportive chair.
- Create a Brag Board where anyone in the company can post a “brag” about their accomplishments or that of a co-worker.
- Give the gift of your time and attention. Offer to mentor or coach employees you truly appreciate.
There are so many ways to show employees appreciation. It is that little extra something that shows them you took notice of what they did, how they contributed or how they improved something. It doesn’t have to cost anything – it just takes a fraction of your time to take notice and share it with them. Harness the Power of Recognition. Recognition is Rewarding!