When it comes to making employees feel appreciated, the little things count more than you might think. Take the time and make the effort to convey your appreciation, and your employees will feel more engaged and be more productive. They’ll also be that much less likely to want to move on.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your employees feel more appreciated. Really connecting with your employees and recognizing their accomplishments can go a long way. Employees want to feel seen, heard, and valued for the individuals they are – they won’t want to be made to feel like replaceable cogs in a corporate machine. They want to hear expressions of gratitude, they want clear and balanced feedback, and they want the opportunity for flexible working hours or work from home opportunities. Here’s what you need to do and say to make your employees feel appreciated and keep them engaged.
Give Them Opportunities for Growth
Don’t assume that your employees have one foot out the door or that they’re coasting along until retirement. Give them opportunities to develop new skills, tackle new projects, and take on new responsibilities. Doing so shows them that you appreciate them as capable, hard-working people. It also helps remove some of the uncertainty employees might feel about their careers, so that they can see there are opportunities for advancement ahead.
Employees want chances for professional development in the form of tuition reimbursement for taking college courses, continuing education classes, or company training opportunities. They also want the chance to take on new responsibilities that help them stretch and grow their skills. Give employees the chance to take on new challenges instead of simply assigning repetitive daily tasks. For example, if an employee is demonstrating strong presentation skills, give him or her the chance to present to important clients. The chance to take on new tasks and develop new skills makes employees feel valued for their contributions to your organizations.
Connect with Them Every Day
You might be surprised at how much a simple “hello” and “good morning” can mean to an employee. Taking time to connect with your employees every day doesn’t sap your productivity. It keeps your employees from feeling unseen and unheard. It’s an absolutely vital part of implementing an employee recognition platform. These little points of connection make space for employees to share what they’re doing and working on with you, which keeps you more in touch with what’s happening in your company. A moment of connection can be as effective as formal recognition when it comes to making employees feel appreciated.
Express Praise and Gratitude Regularly
Don’t be afraid to verbally praise employees for a job well done. It will reassure employees that you’re paying attention to what they’re doing and that you appreciate their hard work. Get specific when you’re recognizing what employees do for the company. Say things like, “Your detail-oriented approach is perfect for this picky new client. That’s why I’m giving you this project,” or, “You have such great public speaking skills that I’m excited to let you handle a monthly client presentation.”
Make sure to express your gratitude when employees do well. A “thank you” can make all the difference for an employee – and saying “thank you” is free. Employees don’t have to give it their all, and they deserve a little gratitude when they do.
Everyone’s busy these days – lots of your employees have families and side hustles. A little flexibility from the nine-to-five is definitely called for – and employees may jump ship for companies that allow hybrid work-from-home flexibility, more paid days off, or the ability to come in late the day after burning the midnight oil. Keep your employees engaged and committed by giving them the flexibility they’ve come to expect in a post-COVID world.
Give Clear and Balanced Feedback
Many managers use the sandwich method for giving feedback – the “meat” of the sandwich is negative feedback, wrapped in two slices of positive feedback. However, the sandwich method may not be effective. High performers will zero in on the negative meat of the feedback sandwich, while low performers will get distracted by the positive bread.
You need to give constructive criticism, and positive feedback is important too, to keep employees from getting discouraged. But don’t try to give them both at once. Be clear and balanced – give your positive feedback first and then give the negative feedback, or vice versa. That way, employees are less likely to get confused.
Employee recognition doesn’t have to harm your bottom line. You just need to connect with them, recognize their worth as individuals, give them praise and recognition, and work with them to give them the flexibility and opportunities they need. Strike the right balance, and you’ll find that your workforce is happier, more productive, and more willing to stick around for the long haul.