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Do’s and don’ts of employee appreciation

May 1, 2017

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Employee appreciation is a key element to achieving high levels of employee engagement and retention.  Employees that feel appreciated have increased productivity and tend to feel better about their work.  But if approached the wrong way, it could backfire.

66% percent of workers said they’d likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated according to a recent OfficeTeam survey. In addition, 54% of senior managers believe it’s common for staff to quit due to lack of recognition.  The survey also asked participants to list some of the weirdest ways management has “tried” to show appreciation.  Let’s call these the “Don’ts” list:

  • A loaf of bread
  • A CD written and performed by a coworker
  • A custom statue of the employee
  • A large carving of a polar bear
  • An expired gift certificate (this is an obvious re-gift)
  • A golden key to an executive bathroom – that doesn’t exist
  • Socks
  • A misspelled plaque
  • A plush toy
  • Fresh meat from a hunting trip
  • A foam tombstone
  • Grocery coupons
  • $.03 raise

Is it the thought that counts?  Maybe in home life, but not at work.  Consider instead some of these tokens of appreciation that survey respondents classified as the best they’ve ever received:

  • A hand written thank you card from the COO
  • A new car
  • Being named employee of the year
  • An all-expense paid trip to Jamaica
  • A donation to a nonprofit in the employee’s name
  • A message sent to all employees acknowledging an employee’s work
  • Baseball playoff tickets behind home plate
  • A day off
  • A fancy watch
  • Being flown to corporate headquarters and receiving a plaque
  • An awards show-style event
  • A large bonus
  • Lunch at a private club

While some of these seem rather extravagant, there are also some very low cost, but effective ideas in this list.  Employees thrive on recognition and unfortunately most of them are not getting it on a regular basis.  Employees are the heart and soul of any organization. Engaged employees pass on their enthusiasm to co-workers as well as customers.   On the other hand, unhappy employees can spread negativity which will reduce employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.  

According to TinyPulse, 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.  Click here for a list of 50 low- or no-cost ways to show employee recognition from Michigan’s Office of Great Workplace Development.

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