employeeappreciation“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”- Margaret Cousins

Sometimes, a small phrase like “Thank you” can make a big difference.
Sincere thanks, coupled with praise or a suitable gesture, has a tangible effect on the workforce. Productivity, employee satisfaction, and office morale tend to improve in corporate cultures where recognition is encouraged.

In today’s economy, employees are working longer hours, often for less pay and fewer perks. Letting them know that they’re valued can affect their level of engagement, as well as the loyalty they feel toward your organization long after the recession passes.

It’s human nature to respond well when treated well, a fact that can contribute to maintaining a positive – and productive – work environment every day. Loyal, happy employees are those who feel appreciated on a daily basis rather than just once in a while.

What employees want
Bob Nelson, author of the best-selling book “1001 Ways to Reward Employees,” conducted a survey of 750 employees from various industries to assess corporate recognition practices. The top-ranking results were support, involvement, and praise.

Tapping into human nature makes good business sense. People are an organization’s most valuable resource, and letting them know they’re appreciated doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It should, however, be personal and genuine.

Suggestions for meaningful thanks
Saying “Thank you” matters and knowing how to express gratitude can be a challenge. Here are some simple ways:

  • Say it: “Thank you” becomes more than just an automatic response when you take the time to simply say it. Tell employees what they’re doing well by using specific examples.
  • Write a note: A handwritten card or letter means a lot, especially in the age of instant communication. Even if it is by e-mail, the recipient will be glad to get your message.
  • Share it: Find the good and praise it in public. Open or close a staff meeting with recognition of a co-worker’s special effort or outstanding project.
  • Bring chocolate: Positive effects on brain chemistry make chocolate a good choice, but offering practically any treat shows goodwill. Share with the group or just refill your co-worker’s candy dish while thanking him or her for a job well done.
  • Leave a surprise: A latté and a sticky note left on someone’s desk to praise a specific result can be a great way to start the morning.

Worth the time
Taking the time to let your employees know that their work is outstanding helps reinforce a standard of excellence. It also rewards exemplary performance in a way that shows genuine consideration for the employee as a person. Everyone likes praise, and it’s in your best interest as an employer to give credit where it’s due in a way that motivates future success.

How do you recognize your employees?
Do you have proven recognition methods that work for your organization? Share in the comments section.

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