In a study of gratitude conducted by the Templeton Foundation, research showed that people are less likely to express gratitude at work than anyplace else. It’s an interesting finding given that the power of gratitude has been found to be a powerful workplace motivator. In fact, a study by the American Psychology Association found that employees who feel appreciated by their employers are 60% more likely to say they feel motivated to put forth their very best at work.
There’s something to be said for the power of appreciation. In an article for the Harvard Business Review, author and CEO of The Energy Project Tony Schwartz put it like this, “Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter—that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.”
Employee appreciation is so important, in fact, that there’s even a special “Employee Appreciation Day” (the first Friday in March) set aside each year to remind employers to take a moment to recognize all the blood, sweat, and tears sacrificed by their people on the front lines helping drive productivity and success. Incidentally, Inc.com recently did a great interview with Employee Appreciation Day creator, Bob Nelson. Check out the full article here.
So, how do you harness the power of appreciation for your workplace? Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Special perks, raises, and bonuses
Probably the most obvious, but nonetheless effective. Rewarding an employee with an extra day of paid time off or a special bonus in their next paycheck is always appreciated and sends a clear message that you think their contribution to the company is valuable. In fact, in a recent poll on Movin’ On Up, Express Employment Professional’s blog for job seekers and those new to the workforce, respondents selected “cash bonuses” and “pay raises” as the number one and two ways respectively to show appreciation for a job well done.
Monetary rewards aren’t the only highly effective way to show gratitude to a hardworking employee. In a world becoming more and more reliant on text and email-based communication, a hand-written note of gratitude can make a huge impact. The extra thought and effort put into a tangible note says just as much as the actual words contained within it. And remember to be specific with your praise. A thank you note will be more meaningful if you can cite specific examples of an employee’s praiseworthy actions rather than a generalized “good job, keep it up” type message.
Whether it’s a presentation during a department meeting or a company-wide event like a holiday party, giving employee accolades a little “trophy value” can be a powerful way to show your appreciation. Even the most modest workers like to revel in their own success from time to time, and knowing their hard work is respected by their peers only helps to build stronger engagement. You can go even more public with your appreciation by giving employees shout outs through your various social media channels, which also helps showcase your employee-focused company culture to others throughout your community.
Build an environment of appreciation
Doling out the kudos doesn’t have to be a leadership-only activity. Companies that put an emphasis on building an environment of appreciation where co-workers are encouraged to reward each other for hard work are employee engagement powerhouses. From building a formal recognition process where co-workers can nominate each other for awards, to simply encouraging participation in the activities listed above, it’s a winning strategy to build a company culture driven by mutual respect for each other’s abilities and contributions.
How do you show appreciation to your employees? What kind of impact does workplace recognition make on your employees’ performance and productivity? Let us know in the comments section below.
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