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Friday is “Employee Appreciation Day” and while I know that you don’t need a “holiday” or day on the calendar to tell you to say “Thank You” to your employees — you’re talking to a gal who LOVES holidays and has a love language (or in work terms, language of appreciation) of gifts. So I’m ALL about it!
Showing that you appreciate your employees can go a long way to build team trust, camaraderie, and increase engagement. Sure, people like raises, bonuses, and promotions, but if that’s the only way that you’re people may be a little bit appreciation-starved…. and you don’t want that! Well.. you know that, but maybe having trouble convincing some of your managers?
Engagement? Trust? Why, that’s touchy-feely HR talk. How about giving them some of these facts: employees who are feel appreciated are more likely to have increased productivity, have a greater sense of purpose, are happier with their work environments and have a decreased chance for turnover. These metrics are relatively easy to track in your organization and you can tie them to real numbers and dollars to tell a compelling story. If you aren’t tracking these types of measures… start (and consider doing a 1-3 year look back to establish a trend benchmark). If you are having trouble making tying the number together, try working with a data strategist within your organization or consider using an outside consultant for a few hours of work to help give you some guidance and templates.
Now that you’ve got everyone on board, put programs in place to continue to drive the momentum forward. What better way than with a day like “employee appreciation day” to get everything started? Making a habit of sincere “thank yous” is a great start, but its okay to step it up every now and then. You don’t have to break the bank to show your appreciate, but a bit of planning can go a long way.
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And speaking of the bank, first things first set a budget for employee recognition and appreciation. Your organization has likely already done this, so your next responsibility is to SPEND IT. Monitor it on a regular basis and ensure that your managers are using this budget. Give them freedom to do what works for them and their teams, but also make it easy to use. Have some guidelines in place, but if you put too much red-tape on the program, managers won’t use it — and that hurts all the metrics that we’re tracking and trying to continue to improve. Regular reviews of the budget not only tell you how your organization is doing in regards to recognition spend, but also which managers are spending their allotments and which are not. Encourage those are lagging behind and recognize and applaud those who are leading and displaying the right behaviors. Spending all your money in the budget but your metrics are trending the wrong direction? You’ve got some investigating to do… but that’s why its important to track the metrics and key indicators.
Next, help get the party started, have a few events that everyone can participate in or that has a call to action for your managers (like Employee Recognition Day 🙂 ) to prime the pump. This doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even the most well-meaning manager might struggle with this, so help them out. This is a great opportunity for HR to lead the way and partner with the business. Now, this might be a little bit of work for the HR team to help establish this routine and some best practices — and to train people on them. But it will be well worth it, since we know the key measures and the payoffs. Once you’ve got everything in place and good programs established, consider passing those off to a group of managers to keep it going — that’s teaching people how to fish and letting managers hold themselves accountable to recognition and employee appreciation initiatives.
Finally, have some ideas to share — you’ll find lots of great resource and articles (many right here on blogging4jobs) that can help you get started. However, don’t forget to engage the managers who are doing this well and naturally — they will have great ideas to share (you may even get more buy-in from managers with ideas from their peers than just that of HR). Also, part of having ideas to share is helping to come up with some cost effective solutions for your organization. This might mean putting partnerships in place to buy items in bulk or at a discount, partnering with a rewards and recognition provider, or even creating a portfolio of logoed items to support your program. You want teams to have flexibility, but remember, you want to keep costs in mind, so this is where some planning and forethought can be beneficial. Also, don’t forget other tools to recognize and show appreciation — note cards, internal social media, staff meetings, newsletters. All very effective and many of those, cost next to nothing. Find the right partners and make it easy (and timely) for people to use.
So regardless of what you think of “employee appreciation day,” showing appreciation and giving thanks to your employees is nothing to dismiss. Track the metrics, share them, and get the rest of your organization on board — and then let the fun begin!
Do you or your organization have plans for employee appreciation day? What are some of your suggestions of showing your employees that you appreciate them?