Now, we may be writing this for ‘Employee Appreciation Day’, but you don’t have to wait for a specific day to show your staff how much you value them. It doesn’t even have to be a grand gesture; small tokens and surprises sprinkled throughout the year can really help to make a difference.
Looking for ideas? Let’s dive right in.
1. Say ‘Thank You’
Sound simple? That’s because it is. Now we’re not trying to teach you to suck eggs or anything, but one of the quickest, easiest and simplest ways to show your staff that you value them is to give them a little ‘thank you’ after a job well done. In person is better, but we know they’ll appreciate a little email too.
While we’re on the subject, some ‘pleases’ wouldn’t go amiss every now and then either. We believe a polite and gracious workplace is one of the best kinds.
2. Who Doesn’t Love Food?
They say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but we believe that rings true for all people. Why not take employees out to lunch for their birthday, a special occasion or ‘just because’? Or order pizza (who can say no to pizza) one Friday without warning. Or, just turn up with a box of doughnuts. Let the word spread and watch people sprint to the kitchen. It’s cheap and cheerful and it really does put a smile on people’s faces.
3. Include Staff in Decisions
Ultimately, we understand that any major changes to the company have to come from senior management. But there’s no reason why your staff’s voices can’t be heard either. They do spend upwards of eight hours a day there after all; why shouldn’t they get a say?
Showing staff that you trust their opinion and expertise can be extremely valuable. Never underestimate it.
4. Be Open, Honest and Transparent
When bad news happens within a company – which it inevitably does – senior management can often make the mistake of keeping this to themselves, and we understand why. For example, if you lose a client, you might not want to cause a drop in morale so you keep it quiet until it’s suddenly just common knowledge.
While there are, of course, some things that can’t be discussed, keeping employees informed of what’s really going on in the company can go a long way. It makes people feel involved and helps to create a “we’re all in this together” vibe.
5. Dish Out Praise and Be Specific
We’ve already talked about saying ‘thank you’, but if an employee has done something well don’t be afraid to highlight it and talk about it. But rather than just saying “well done on [insert task here]”, get down to the granular detail of what they did well. Being specific gives your praise more depth and a lot more meaning to the receiver, and inspires the employee to do even better in that particular area.
6. Give Them a Platform
It could be as simple as having an anonymous ‘suggestion box’ in the office that allows people to put forward ideas. They could be as simple as ‘more tea and coffee in the kitchen’ or as big as requesting a team to go a three day conference in London. Pin up a notice board that allows people to put forward suggestions. Or hold a company-wide meeting every six months where everyone gets together and discusses what changes they’d like to see in the business.
7. Get to Know Them as Individuals
We’re sure you know their names and job titles, but how much do you really know about your staff? While getting to know everyone on an individual level may not be realistic for multinational corporation, at the very least you should know a little bit about those on your team.
Ask questions about their family, their hobbies, weekend activities and interests outside of work – yes, those do exist. Be sure to show genuine interest rather than it coming across as fake, nosey or insincere.
8. Have Clear Progression Plans in Place
Anyone who’s serious about their career – and those are the people you want on your team – will want to know they are heading in an upward direction. That they are coming into work every day and working towards a goal. People can start to feel unappreciated when they are grafting everyday but don’t know where their career is going. Pointing them in the right direction and showing the path they need to follow to get there can help show just how much you believe in them.
9. Give Bonuses
Not every company can afford to give out a big splashy cheque to each employee at the end of the year, but a little bonus as a reward for hard work throughout the year will certainly be appreciated. While money shouldn’t necessarily be your go-to move for getting staff on your side, an end-of-year bonus or gift certificate for completing a project can go down very well indeed.
10. Get a Little Silly
The office is a place of work, we understand that, but there’s no reason why you can’t all share a laugh or two. Look up some national “holidays” that take place throughout the year – there are some real crackers like National Doughnut Day and National Cookie Day – so why not celebrate with some food and photos? Get everyone dressed up at Christmas and head out for a Christmas Do, or organise an Easter Egg hunt in the office. Moments of fun really help to bring everyone together.