5 Ways to Express Employee Appreciation Year-Round
Published On: March 3, 2022
The past two years–and counting–have brought drastic changes to employers nationwide. Between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and day-to-day personal challenges, data consistently reveals that employees are becoming more burned out.
In a recent survey from Microsoft, researchers found that 41% of employees considered resigning from their jobs in 2021; what’s more, the data revealed that 46% of employees are planning to make a major pivot or career transition in the next year.
Retaining top talent has, arguably, never been as important. National Employee Appreciation Day is March 4 this year–an HR holiday that many cannot afford to overlook. More important, however, than celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is showing your workforce that your company is grateful for their contributions year-round.
Why Is Employee Appreciation Necessary?
According to the previously mentioned Microsoft survey, productivity has soared in the past year but to the detriment of employees nationwide. Below is a sample of some of the statistics reported:
Time spent in Microsoft Teams meetings have more than doubled (2.5x) and continues to climb.
The average meeting is 10 minutes longer, increasing to 45 minutes.
The average user is sending 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per person after hours.
It's simple: If you want to keep valuable employees for the long-term, companies must find ways to celebrate employee accomplishments and express gratitude. Below are five simple strategies to recognize exceptional employee contributions year-round.
5 Simple Ways to Express Employee Appreciation
1. Express your appreciation on social media.
A great no-cost opportunity to express gratitude is to highlight employees’ accomplishments on social media. One easy win could include crafting a post with the featured employee that highlights their hard work and dedication. Or, if an employee has won an award or earned a recent promotion, celebrate online, and share a fun fact or anecdote about their lives outside of work.
2. Present individual or team rewards.
Employees love to be celebrated and recognized. Either monthly or quarterly, check-in with each team or department and applaud those whose performance meets or even exceeded expectations. Reward them with a catered lunch, a gift card, or even a personal note. If your CEO or department heads send out regular emails to the entire company, be sure to include a special call-out or congratulations there too.
Another idea: Create an employee-of-the-month program. The winning employee can win a lunch of their choice and bragging rights. Remember, small shows of recognition and gratitude can go a long way in driving employee loyalty and company pride.
3. Encourage employees to take time off.
The most powerful way to recognize employees and all their hard work is encouraging them to make use of their employee benefits, including paid leave. Even if the employee just takes a half day, use this opportunity to demonstrate how you value their work ethic and acknowledge the importance of taking a break to recharge.
4. Host company-wide happy hours or other group events.
Since everyone loves free food and drinks, a company happy hour shows employees that you care for and appreciate them while promoting team building. You can take everyone out to a bar, a restaurant, or stock up the office with food and drinks.
Be sure to include non-alcoholic options as well, so everyone feels welcome and comfortable attending. Encourage employees to bring their significant others or friends too. Also consider hosting happy hours toward the end of the workday instead of after hours. This shows employees that you trust them to get their work done while fostering a flexible working environment.
5. Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries.
One of the most powerful motivators for employees is recognition, especially when it highlights one individual rather than a team or the company. Taking a small amount of time to celebrate an employee's birthday or work anniversary can go a long way.