“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
A company is only as good as its people. So when our people feel under-appreciated and under-valued, it can have a crippling effect on all aspects of our business. It’s amazing what simple acts of gratitude can do for employee morale, retention, productivity and overall performance. Despite this, employers often struggle to show their thanks for each employee and their contributions.
Here are 10 simple ways to show your thanks to your most valuable asset – your people.
Shout-out on Social Media
Social media is one of the most important and impactful communication channels for businesses to not only connect with customers, but employees as well. Companies of all sizes, from start-ups to large-scale businesses make their presence and brand known by using social media platforms.
Social media can be a great tool to recognize employees. It’s a highly visible, real-time and low-cost option to show your gratitude.
- Tag employees in your posts so that the recognition can spread beyond the company
- Incorporate photos
- Create a hashtag for employee recognition posts
- Get approval from the employee prior to posting on social media
- We have to remember that each employee is different – while some may appreciate being openly recognized, others may not.
It’s amazing what a simple thank you message on a post-it can do! I’ve been both on the giving and receiving end. When an employee gets to their workstation/desk/office and sees a post-it with a short thank you message, this simple gesture can have a profound impact on morale and engagement. It shows that someone took the time to not only notice the job well done but went one step further to capture it through words of appreciation.
Kudos at Team Meeting
Why not dedicate 5 minutes per team meeting as a platform to recognize employees? It allows for peers to recognize one another and creates a strong team environment. As an employee, I was a part of a team who did this on a weekly basis. It was called “Kudos”. It was the last 5 minutes of our weekly team meeting. Our Manager would open the floor for team members to recognize their peers for a job well done. It was a powerful way to conclude our weekly meeting.
Choosing one day per week to communicate thankfulness for employee performance allows for more regular feedback. It acts as a constant reminder to show gratitude to those on your team. I’ve found that while employers have good intentions and do recognize great work, they tend to get bogged down with the day-to-day operations, resulting in opportunities to formally or informally thank employees falling by the wayside.
Thank You Card or Note
Call me old-fashioned but I think that hand-written thank you cards and notes are incredibly effective at relaying a simple thank you. As a Manager my way of showing appreciation was to take the time to personally write a thank you to my team members. This was then placed on their desk for the next morning. It was a simple yet welcomed gesture, showing that you noticed, you care and you value them as integral members of the team and company.
Making a concerted effort to pencil in a team appreciation lunch every quarter is important. These lunches are perfect opportunities to not only show your employees that you appreciate their hard work but is also an opportunity for your team to continue to build team synergy and cohesiveness. It’s these get-togethers that help to build camaraderie and foster deeper work relationships, both of which are critical factors in employee engagement and retention.
Wall of Gratitude
I’ve seen walls of gratitude done in various ways and each have been a valuable tool in recognizing employees. Typically, you would dedicate a section of the office (i.e. a whiteboard, a workstation wall, etc.) as the ‘Wall of Gratitude’. Depending on the size of the team, this wall can contain a picture of each employee. Employees are then encouraged to take a post-it and write a message of gratitude to a fellow teammate and place it on the wall for others to see. If the team is too large, it can simply be a collection of notes written by teammates recognizing a peer. The note captures:
- Who is being recognized?
- Why they are being recognized?
- Encourage employees to add to the wall weekly
- Share some of the messages during team meetings
- Take photos of the wall for future team recognition meetings/events
Celebrating an employee’s personal achievements or milestones is a great way to show they are a valued member of the team and company. Celebrate their work anniversary, birthday, birth of child, completion of a marathon, graduating from a course etc. The list is limitless!
In Gallup’s Q12 survey involving the 12 important questions to measure the most important elements of employee engagement, one of the questions includes:
“Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?”
Celebrating an employee’s personal milestones will demonstrate that you DO care about the employee as a person!
Encourage recognition peer-to-peer. Creating a peer-to-peer recognition system or program is tricky but the results are effective in promoting a culture of feedback, teamwork and recognition. Many companies have internal messaging systems and these can be a simple way to communicate thanks. Other companies I’ve worked for have had complex employee rewards programs with points that can be redeemed for gifts. Incorporating peer-to-peer recognition doesn’t have to be complicated, but leaders do need to encourage peer feedback to foster a culture of open recognition.
Pass it On
When you receive stellar feedback about one of your employees/team members, SHARE it! Providing social praise and communicating the positive impact the employee has had on other employees, departments and business overall is always welcomed. We like to hear that we’re making an impact! It’s a strong affirmation that what you do matters and is making a difference.
- Forward emails to respective employee sharing the praise/positive feedback
- Print out the email, share it with the employee and place in employee file
- Encourage the giver of positive feedback to personally relay their praise to the respective employee
The possibilities are endless – get creative and start embedding employee appreciation into your culture. Remember that employees who feel valued and appreciated are more productive, loyal and happier. A simple “thank you” or “good job” goes a long way. Choose to live by this motto:
“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
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