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Employee Appreciation- What it is and how to introduce it

Employee appreciation directly impacts employee retention. Learn the benefits of such a concept and how you can implement it in your business.

What is Employee Appreciation?

Employee appreciation is an act by employers or organizations to acknowledge the inherent value of employees. Instead of focusing only on their performance, it celebrates their worth as a member of the business and as human beings. This requires significant attention to detail and creativity when implementing appreciation programs in the workplace. By using employee appreciation strategies, you can increase your overall employee retention and wellness. Without appreciation, employees are likely to become demotivated and lose interest in their jobs. This makes year-long employee appreciation critical.

New research has found that people who were thanked at work in the last month are only half as likely to be looking for a new job. They’re also three times more likely to see a path to grow within the organization. In fact, there is an entire day used to celebrate employees which falls on the first Friday of March named Employee Appreciation Day. 

Benefits of Employee Appreciation

Drives excellence

Employee recognition is the foundation for creating a culture of excellence in an organization. It strengthens relationships and provides a clear purpose aligned to achieve goals. A culture of excellence allows business leaders to drive toward key goals like retention, culture, and employee happiness. This is done by connecting people and culture to shared purpose.

Drives engagement

84% percent of those surveyed in a SHRM/Workhuman Employee Recognition Survey said that social recognition measurably and positively impacted engagement.

Nurtures trust 

Strong organizational trust is a key indicator for profitability. Research has shown that workers who trust senior leaders are nearly twice as likely to be engaged and love their jobs.

Reinforces company values

Employee recognition aligns your people and culture to a shared purpose. Due to employee recognition being designed with rewards that map back specifically to each value, it integrates those ideals into employees’ everyday thoughts and actions.

Steps to Introduce Employee Appreciation

1. Build a brand

It’s important that you base your program around your companies’ culture. Through personalization, you can tailor your appreciation to specific individuals to make the token that much more special. Whether that’s through the colors you use, the eCards or the tiles you design, or the language and tone of voice you use throughout, these elements all come together and can really inject personality into your program.

2. Allow Your Employees To Name The Program

The employee appreciation program name should mean something to your people. A good way of doing this is inviting suggestions on the program. During the design phase of a project, some clients can run a competition and get people to submit their ideas and select the name based on votes or through a project committee.

3. Leverage the power of video

A short introductory video that explains your program and how to use it with employees from different areas of the business explaining what recognition means to them can be a powerful way to spread your core messages and keep people informed. Video doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

4. Get ready for a countdown

Let your people know that a new recognition program is something worth getting excited about. Send out teaser emails, do a countdown or anything that piques people’s interest and gets them wondering what’s to come.

5. Train your leaders

A key part of running a successful program is ensuring that managers are equipped with the knowledge and skill to recognise staff in a meaningful and respectful way. Schedule workshops for leaders that focus on the ‘why’ of recognition and how to deliver strategic recognition. Provide key leaders with early access, long before the program launches and provide opportunities to address questions or walk them through the platform so they’re comfortable with using it.

6. Celebrate and decorate

Generate buzz and excitement on launch day by decorating the office with posters, printouts of eCards and run a competition to encourage employees to sign up and start using the program straight away. As highlighted above, its important to let your employer brand shine and have fun with it.

7. Mark recognition in your diary

While recognition should ideally be timely and immediate, if your company is new to recognition then you might need to remind people before it becomes a habit. If you can, launch your program around a specific recognition focus event such as ‘Employee Appreciation’ Day.

8. Use existing gatherings as recognition opportunities

Instead of treating your employee recognition program launch as a one-off event, treat it like a roll-out. Changing attitudes and behaviour towards recognition takes time, so use every opportunity you can to talk about the program. Place the program in the mind of the employees and strive to create a norm out of this type of event.

In whatever way you want to celebrate employee appreciation, its essential that you do so in the appropriate manner. Employees want to enjoy their work and feel wanted in today’s environment so it’s necessary to carry out these events in order to make them feel so and in doing so, reducing turnover rates.

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