Employee appreciation. Does it really matter? My colleague Ruth Kimani and I were seated in a hotel the other day discussing the importance of organizational purpose, aligning employees to the purpose, making them own it up, and the role it plays in influencing customer and employee experience. Then Ruth narrated a story of how she had inspired employees at another company to feel appreciated and recognized for being partners in the purpose of their company, simply because she introduced them to the public.

The problem was in a subsequent event she was moderating, she forgot to introduce them, and while she didn’t even notice that it had made an impact, one of the team members actually asked how she had forgotten to do the introduction on that day.

In the aftermath of the Great Resignation, many businesses are looking for ways to show their employees how much they are valued. While health insurance benefits continue to be the most appealing to candidates during the recruitment process, incentives and recognition can help current employees stay with the company. Research shows that actions which exemplify appreciation and affirmation in the workplace can boost employee engagement and performance. 

Companies demonstrate employee appreciation in two main ways; rewards and recognitions. Rewards are tangible benefits, whereas recognition is a verbal and nonverbal communication that acknowledges an employee’s accomplishments. Bonuses are not the same as salaries or benefits, but an addition to them. According to an Indeed survey, 30% of people who left a job within the first six months said that being recognized more for their unique contributions would have encouraged them to stay longer. Speaking of which, did you know that the world employee appreciation day is held on the first Friday of March every year, and has been observed in the U.S. since 1995?

What are Examples of Rewards in employee appreciation?

Rewards can be fixed or flexible, meaning that employers can make it possible for employees to know what to expect when being appreciated, or not know exactly what to expect. Some of the examples of rewards include;

  1. Monetary rewards which include financial incentives such as gift cards to use on fuel and shopping.
  2. Non-monetary rewards which do not involve the company giving direct cash, but can include snacks in the office, catered lunches, a trip, paid vacation, or company banquets among others. 

What are Examples of Recognition in employee appreciation?

Recognition is frequently given, is less costly, and is less formal. Here are some examples of recognition:

  1. Employee of the month where employees who have delivered exemplary results are recognized at the end of every month.
  2. Years of service recognition where employees who have served for a number of years get appreciated, such as those who have served for 20, 40 or even 50 years.
  3. Wall of fame where employees who achieve exemplary results are written down or their photos posted.
  4. Surprise celebrations: which is a celebration to appreciate an employee who has achieved great results.

Benefits of employee rewards and recognition.

  • Encourages engagement because employees feel that their contribution is valued, and so they are motivated to keep working in and for the company.
  • Attracts new talent to the company. As mentioned earlier, every employee wants to work in a place where their effort is valued, and so, when looking for a suitable employer, one of the key factors to consider is whether or not such an employer has a culture of appreciating their employees.
  • Retention rates are improved, mainly because employees feel valued, and they are confident their input contributes to the growth of the company. Under normal circumstances, such an employee has no reason to want to leave.
  • Enhances performance as it makes employees work harder or smarter to achieve results, thus meeting the threshold for appreciation. Truth be told, no one doesn’t feel good when they are recognized in public for exemplary performance.
  • Improves the company’s culture, as it makes a close-knit community of employees who work to the benefit of the company.

Rather than being a one-time event, companies that are keen on being part of the trailblazers of the future of work should make employee recognition a regular or integral part of the management style. The more employees are acknowledged and appreciated, the higher the likelihood of them feeling valued. Whenever it is possible, employers should try to recognize employees on a weekly basis, or at the very least once a month. It could be something as simple as thanking them for their efforts on a specific project or assisting a team member with a problem.

Start building your employee appreciation program today. Reach out to our consulting team

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