If you asked all your employees, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy do you feel at work?” where would the majority fall? We already know that happiness in the workplace increases engagement, employee retention, and growth in business. And by the way, it’s just good practice, right? But where does happiness start?
Appreciation of an employee’s value.
Many people think that a paycheck should be appreciation enough. Maybe for some people the paycheck subtly says, “Thanks for the work we hired you to do.” However, it’s the bare minimum and we know employees do more than the bare minimum to impact the company.
Now the question becomes, how do I effectively show appreciation?
We looked to employee appreciation and engagement experts for guidance.
Here are some of the key takeaways from them about meaningful employee appreciation with long-term impact.
Employee appreciation will have a lasting impact by incorporating a few best practices:
- Lead by example and create a culture of contagious appreciation. It can’t happen once. It needs to be ongoing.
- Cash bonuses may not have the same long-term impact as rewarding with relevant and meaningful “employee-requested” experiences.
- Recognize in ways linked to goals or projects. Make it count.
- Get creative in how you recognize and reward employees. Sometimes a thoughtful note makes all the difference. Celebrate appreciation in public.
- Consider the power and science behind the positive emotions from both giving and receiving thoughtful recognition.
Debra Condren, Business Psychologist, from Building a Culture of Employee Appreciation by Nadine Heintz via Inc.
Create a culture of appreciation. Lead by example – appreciation is contagious. Be original and go beyond employee of the month. Connect with what employees actually feel is appreciation, not just what managers think they want. Workers value face-to-face recognition of kind words. Show basic human appreciation on a regular basis. Have management team take the time to discuss exemplary work in weekly meetings. Simply write a note or post it showing appreciation.
Meghan M. Biro
, Talent Strategy Leader and Founder of TalentCulture from 5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition
In-the-moment positive feedback and celebration of employees. “Be specific, descriptive, and measured.” Relate feedback to the common goal of the company, or project, so that it’s not random or automatic. Make the recognition count; only point out authentic or note-worthy accomplishments, whatever feels true. In this way, you “Lead the revolution” of happiness at work.
Autumn Manning of Kazoo from 10 Ways to Give Recognition
There’s a science behind giving meaningful recognition. Reference to work done by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson and the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at University of North Carolina. Multiple types of ways to say thanks, connect with someone and recognize including: Connecting, Appreciating, Celebrating, Amusing, and more.
Kevin Kruse, Leadership and Employee Engagement Expert, from 25 Low-Cost Ways to Reward Employees
Tight budget? Be Eccentric. Arrange to have their car washed, home cleaned, let them bring their pet to work, send a thank-you note to their spouse, have the team give them a surprise standing ovation at the start of the next meeting.
Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, from Motivating Employees With Cash or Gifts?
Experiences. Offering a cash bonus is great, but what about offering an experience? “Would a [cash bonus] improve in any way the employer-employee relationship? Would it increase your happiness with your work, your loyalty? Would it make me a better employee?” Perhaps it would be more effective to reward instead with relevant and meaningful “employee-requested” experiences.
Thanks for reading and sharing with others! Please check out our other blogs about happiness at work and employee engagement.