The first Friday of March is National Employee Appreciation Day. This unofficial holiday is a great reminder to employers to thank employees for their efforts and contributions. Real appreciation is authentic and sincere and, as a regular practice, it motivates employees, increases job satisfaction and improves morale.
Creating a Culture of Appreciation
According to OC Tanner, workplace cultures energize people to innovate, to wow their customers and to outperform their competitors in virtually every aspect of business. Creating a culture of appreciation requires regular and conscious effort. Research from OC Tanner showed that only 57% of employees reported having received a “thank you” from their leader or peers within the past month.
We can do better.
Here are some ways to recognize and appreciate your employees throughout the year:
Create micro-experiences – These interactions happen daily and according to OC Tanner, they can be positive (peak) or negative (valley). The influence of a peak experience lasts four weeks versus the effect of a valley experience, which lasts only two. Peak experiences can be as simple as receiving a gesture of appreciation, having an uplifting conversation with a senior leader or offering genuine praise to a teammate for completing a task or reaching a milestone.
Acknowledge the individual – Each of us is our own person with our own personality, identity and interests. Creating an environment that leverages and celebrates individuality goes a long way. During a visit to Zappos, I saw first-hand how employees were encouraged to showcase their unique personalities by decorating their workspace in ways that were creative, fun and even weird.
Listen – At one time in my career, I worked closely with a colleague on a strategic account project. We met weekly to review the status of the account. On more than one occasion, I felt it was necessary to say, “I need your complete and undivided attention.” He was distracted and not fully engaged and it was impacting the project. By being present, actively listening, and giving our full attention to the person with whom we are interacting, they will feel valued.
Show gratitude for others – Several Advancing Wellness clients have peer recognition programs that are an integral part of a culture of gratitude and appreciation. Employees have the opportunity to publicly recognize their colleagues and share why they appreciate them.
I would argue that every day should be Employee Appreciation Day. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more productive, more likely to be engaged and less likely to leave. Let’s work at showing appreciation every day.