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6 Strategic Ways to Give Employee Appreciation Every Day

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Hey, workplace leaders. By now, you’re familiar with our content on employee recognition and appreciation. Today, we’re taking it to the next level and challenging you to think a little differently.

We’ll show you 6 ways to give employee appreciation year-round using employee experience fundamentals that already are —or should be — built into your process.

(Pro tip: If you’re looking for more general employee appreciation tips, like simple ways to say thank you, check out our article, 25 Heartfelt Employee Appreciation Ideas.)

Ready? Let’s dive in!


No time to read? Watch our video:


Strategic employee appreciation tip #1: Provide clear opportunities for growth

Show your employees you appreciate them by investing in them. Growth opportunities are key to employee satisfaction — and nothing says “I appreciate you” like demonstrating that you want someone to stick around and fulfill their full potential.

Strategic value

Top-performing employees strive to become the best version of themselves. They’re looking for a workplace that will help them achieve their full potential. By offering plenty of growth opportunities, you communicate that you want to meet your employees’ needs, and that you care about their future. And the payoff is huge

Consider this

  • 60% of employees agree that if given a choice between similar jobs, the option with stronger professional development wins – even against higher pay.
  • 45% percent of employees report that more training would make them more willing to remain in their current roles. 
  • When companies have strong  internal mobility, their employees stay 2X longer.

Ways to show employee appreciation via growth opportunities:

  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Increased access to high-level leaders
  • Posting internal opportunities for advancement
  • Funding for conferences
  • Skill-building trainings
  • Invitations to lunch & learns

💡 When in doubt, do a quick survey to find out what your employees are most interested in. 


Strategic employee appreciation tip #2: Have regular 1-on-1 conversations

Make sure your managers are having regular 1-on-1s with their employees — weekly if not more. Why is this key to employee appreciation? Regular manager-employee conversations are key for building trust. Plus, when employees know their managers see and appreciate them as people, they’re 3x as motivated and engaged — so everybody wins.

Strategic value

Regular manager-employee conversations form the basis of a trusting relationship. They provide a way for managers to establish great communication, stay in the loop on morale, assess challenges, remove roadblocks, and keep current on an employee’s interests and aspirations.

Great managers serve both as advocates and coaches — and that helps employees recognize that they’re truly appreciated.

Consider this

According to Gallup, workers who have weekly performance chats with their managers are:

  • 5.2x more likely to strongly agree that they receive meaningful feedback
  • 3.2x more likely to strongly agree they are motivated to do outstanding work
  • 2.7x more likely to be engaged at work

How to show employee appreciation via 1-on-1s

  • Create the expectation of weekly 1-on-1s on your team, if not in your whole company
  • Give managers the tools to successfully run effective 1-on-1s. Check out our guide for more.

Set managers up for success. Read:
The Ultimate Guide to Effective 1-on-1s for Managers

Article image for the Ultimate Guide to Effective 1-on-1s for Managers -- two speech bubbles on a purple background


Strategic employee appreciation tip #3: Use surveys to listen, and respond

Want to show you appreciate someone? Listen to their ideas, and take them seriously. Show your employees you appreciate their voices by doing regular pulse or engagement surveys. And always take action on the result.

Strategic value

Employee listening builds rapport, communicates respect, and offers a sense of ownership to workers.

Consider this

Establishing a regular rhythm can set your company apart. That’s why…

  • 46% of organizations conduct engagement surveys only once a year
  • Only 21% perform engagement surveys 3x per year or more. 
  • So, it’s no surprise that 58% of respondents said they wish that their companies surveyed more often.

How to appreciate employees via listening

  • Administer regular pulse surveys to keep tabs on employee sentiment
  • Make survey responses anonymous to encourage honesty
  • Invite dialogue with open-ended survey responses and a platform that allows for anonymous follow-ups
  • Share engagement study results at company all-hands, including actions you intend to take to address issues
  • Fulfill your promises, and communicate the status clearly

Strategic employee appreciation tip #4: Make recognition part of every day

It’s Employee Appreciation 101 — recognize your team members regularly, and make it easy for them to say thanks to each other via peer-to-peer recognition.

Strategic value

How to create employee appreciation with recognition

  • Make recognition part of your culture
  • Having trouble? Set calendar reminders to give recognition to a peer or report at least once a week
  • Use HR tools that make it easy to share recognition companywide
  • Train employees and managers to give praise that’s timely, specific, and tied to impact, as we explain in the video below

Watch now: The 4 Secrets of Giving Great Recognition


Strategic employee appreciation tip #5: Engage in fearless feedback

This one can be hard, but it’s a piece of super-charged strategy. One way to show someone that you respect them is by being honest with them. Clarity is kindness, and offering gentle, direct, specific critique can be a way of expressing care. The goal isn’t to tear down, but to improve the work while building up the worker. 

Strategic value

When feedback is an expected part of everyday work life, it becomes less scary. Strive to create a culture in which radically candid feedback is truly appreciated and goes both ways: from manager to report, and from report to manager.

Consider this

  • Employees are 3.6X more likely to be “strongly motivated” to do outstanding work when they get daily feedback from a manager.
  • There’s a huge opportunity to set your company apart in the minds of younger generations of workers– only 17% of Millennials “strongly agree” that they receive meaningful feedback at work. A company that gets feedback right will get ahead.

How to drive employee appreciation with feedback

Take the fear out of feedback


Strategic employee appreciation tip #6: Offer culture-based incentives

Finally, show your employees that you appreciate their engagement with your culture by offering incentives that support it. Let your employees earn rewards or points for participating in trainings, leading events, staying healthy, and more.

Strategic value

This light form of gamification allows employees to pick out the rewards they find the most meaningful, all while reinforcing your culture.

Consider this

According to recent research on the psychology of points-based systems:

  • 83% of employees report feeling that it’s a “treat” to get points at work
  • 75% say that receiving points is a memorable experience
  • Best of all: points rewards programs typically reach nearly 100% of the employees in an organization. That’s impressive effectiveness! 

How to drive employee appreciation with incentives

  • Offer an employee recognition program with a points-based rewards system (learn more about points-based rewards systems here)
  • Offer a diverse employee rewards catalog, not just gift cards and certificates. Not sure what to include? Survey your workforce for input!
  • Offer rewards points for activities that reflect your culture. Learn more about Incentives

Keep the appreciation flowing with Kazoo

We hope this guide helped you understand how the elements of a winning employee experience generate employee appreciation year-round. And if you like what you read, let’s talk.

Because at Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings performance management and recognition and rewards — including Goals, Feedback, Conversations, Recognition, Incentives, and more — into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

Learn more