According to a recent glassdoor.com survey, 81% of employees questioned stated that they gladly work harder when they have a boss that expresses appreciation for the work they perform. By contrast, 38% reported that they work harder because of an overbearing boss who shows little appreciation.
So as we approach this season of Thanksgiving, what might showing appreciation for your employees’ work mean to your bottom line?
Two Case Studies on Employers Who Show Appreciation
The fact is appreciation is one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective ways to increase the productivity of your team and the profits of your business. Two case studies worthy of note include Walt Disney and Sears Roebuck & Co. Walt Disney Resorts established an employee recognition program that resulted in a 15% increase in employee satisfaction with their jobs. These results clearly translated to high guest-satisfaction, which showed a strong intent to return, directly impacting profitability.
Likewise, Sears found for every 5% increase in employee attitude scores, they saw a 1-3% increase in customer satisfaction and a 0.5% increase in revenue.
While Disney and Sears are very large corporations, every indication is that the positive impact of increased employee appreciation and recognition can be realized in businesses of all sizes.
8 Ways Employers Can Demonstrate Employee Appreciation
So are you wondering how you can show appreciation to your employees? Here is a short list, but to start with remember that you have to be genuine and sincere. Consider each employee, their lives, and the work they do for you and discover what they do well. When you find it:
- Take an employee aside and point out specific actions that you found admirable. Not just an “at ‘a boy,” but something specific so they know you mean it.
- Thank your employees for their work. Show your appreciation for their contributions. And, remember to say “please.” Social niceties belong in the workplace too!
- Ask about your employees’ life away from work; their family, their hobbies, their weekend, or a special event they attended. Your genuine interest causes people to feel valued and cared about.
- Learn about your employees’ interests well enough to present a small gift occasionally. You would be amazed at how an appreciated gift, and the gesture of providing it, will light up their day.
- If you can afford to give your organization’s employees small bonuses or other gifts of cash, you will find that this investment will reward you in loyalty and productivity. Times are tough and even $5-$10 means a lot. End of the year bonuses, attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses and gift certificates are a great way to say “thank you.”
- For the most part, everyone appreciates food. Take employees or staff to lunch for a birthday, a special occasion or for no reason at all. Pick a restaurant you know they like or let them pick the place.
- Create fun traditions that are unique to your business or organization. Around the holidays or not, traditions are a great way to give your employees the feeling of belonging.
- Write a handwritten note to express your appreciation. In this age of instant communication, a handwritten letter means a lot.
Tapping into human nature makes good business sense. People are an organization’s most valuable resource, and letting them know they’re appreciated doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It should, however, be personal and heartfelt.
Organization Benefits of Employee Appreciation
The pay off? In addition to the real-world examples of Disney and Sears:
- Increased productivity – recognizing desired behavior increases the repetition of the desired behavior, and therefore productivity.
- Greater employee satisfaction means more time spent focusing on the job and less time complaining.
- Higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers. Happy employees translate to happy customers.
- Teamwork between employees is enhanced. Synergy is an old buzz-word, but it’s as real as it ever was.
- Employee retention increases – lower employee turnover.
- Better safety records and fewer accidents on the job. Happy employees generally care more about doing things right, and that includes safety.
The list could go on, but hopefully the case is made. Appreciating and recognizing your employees is a smart business strategy and it’s also very rewarding.
This Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start making appreciation part of your company culture. The key, though, is staying with it. Making it a onetime thing is probably worse than doing nothing at all. Create a plan for the coming year and frequently measure your progress. The results might just surprise you!