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Looking at Employee Appreciation through a New Lens

The dreaded Recognition Rut. With Employee Appreciation Day (Friday, March 6th) just around the corner, it’s easy to fall prey to the same recognition strategies every year. Appreciating your employees comes in many forms and fashions. While service awards, PTO, and pizza parties are all still great options, your recognition should grow alongside your organization and stay up-to-date with offering the best solutions to your employees. This Employee Appreciation Day, check out some of these ideas to show your team the love all year round. 

Offer Volunteer and Community Enrichment Activities

Caring for our employees goes far beyond merely making sure they have dinner on the table. The society we live, shop, dine, and commute in can be just as vital to the employee’s everyday life, yet is often neglected by larger corporations. Show your team you genuinely care by contributing to community enrichment activities or offering a variety of volunteer opportunities. The impact of corporate responsibility is substantial and can even lead to an increase in hiring. Offering ample volunteer and community enrichment activities reminds your employees their time is valuable, and you believe they can make a difference. 

Trend Alert: Many organizations are choosing to dedicate a certain number of hours per quarter for employees to use paid work time to volunteer in their communities.

Focus on the Positive

Choosing to see the good in everything has incredible effects on neuropsychology. Share positive feedback from customers on your intranet and share out happy news – like a new baby or a much-deserved promotion – in your internal newsletter. Celebrating the wins, no matter how small, help your employees to see the good in their environments and feel grateful to be with your team. Make your organization a happy and optimistic place to work, and watch the benefits extend far past your employees!

Offer Learning & Development Opportunities

With higher voluntary turnover and millennial job-hopping than ever, it’s no wonder that learning and development opportunities are a key component in what new hires are looking for in a prospective company. Showing appreciation to your employees means supporting them as they grow to better themselves, increase their skill set, and become more knowledgeable within their specialty. Support them in this endeavor. It can be as simple as paying for their ticket at a Lunch & Learn to brush up on a new design technique or setting up bi-weekly cross-training in a department they find interesting. Your team will feel so appreciated that you are investing in them and their future! Reward hard work with fun dress up or party days at work

Stay Connected After Hours

Not only will this put your employees in a great mood, but it also offers an opportunity to grow your friendships in the workplace. Recent research indicates that having a close friend at work can play a powerful role in increasing engagement, decreasing safety incidents, and growing your bottom line. Show your employees your appreciation by giving them an enjoyable employee experience while working for you. Try to host at least one after-work activity per quarter, whether it’s bowling night, team building in the laser tag arena, or just a cocktail hour with coworkers. Bonus points if your employees can bring a friend!

Maintain your Traditional Awards Banquets

Our recent blog post researching the Generational Preferences of Employee Recognition had some interesting results – including the fact that the youngest generation (Gen Z) preferred annual banquet recognition at just as high rates as other recognition! These big banquets can be an incredible way to bring your employees together, offers a fun event for socializing, and allows you to recognize your highest performers in a public and memorable setting. While there are lots of buzz around social recognition and the employee experience, don’t forget the impact that a large awards ceremony offers for your company.

Have fun dress-up or party days at work

The idea of “play” is a popular topic in psychology right now. Your employees work hard every day to take care of customers, meet goals, and stay on a deadline. Now let them have some much-deserved free time! Appreciating your employees can be as simple as incorporating “fun” into their day-to-day. Pick a theme and encourage departments to dress up or decorate their areas. You can even incorporate some friendly competition here and best dressed, or best-decocorated department claims an award or a fun prize. 

Offer Solutions to Manage & Decrease Workplace Stress

Showing some love to your employees means taking care of their mental health. In today’s high-stress world, self-care and stress management are imperative to operating at your best. Offering solutions to help with stress reminds your employees that you care about their happiness and comfort, not just their productivity. Depending on your employees’ workplace, try incorporating a few of these ideas to reduce stress:

  • Set aside 5-minute stretch breaks a few times a day
  • Encourage break-rooms to be “work free” zones, taking your mind away from the job
  • Offer weekly free yoga or meditation classes on-site
  • Allow employees to work remotely when available
  • Schedule check-ins with supervisors to discuss workload and key stressors

Employee recognition is so vital to healthy workplace culture, and there are so many ways to show your employees you care. What are some of your favorite ideas for employee appreciation? Please drop us a comment below with your plans this year!

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