How to Demonstrate Employee Appreciation and Respect

Employee Appreciation

Maintaining a productive work force with consistently high morale and motivation relies on a variety of factors. Unfortunately, too few companies are currently assigning this task a high priority. As of 2010, the Wall Street Journal found that only 50% of all American workers were happy with their jobs, and the same percentage had feelers out for new ones.

Gallup worker polls reveal that workers who tend to show up in body but not in spirit cost our economy $300 billion+ annually. Still not convinced? Accountemps surveys discovered that praise and recognition was the favorite perk in companies that did not give cash bonuses.

Worker acknowledgment and praise by top brass is among the most effective ways to keep employees engaged and producing effective results. Its simple purpose is to reach out to workers in the trenches and say “Your contribution matters to us. Thank you.”

…Regular recognition continually reinforces the message that management cares about its workforce.

There are numerous concrete benefits of this practice.

• Employee recognition doesn’t have to eat up a great deal of money. This article offers many low cost ways to say thanks.

• Increased teamwork and cooperation are side effects of acknowledgement.

• The whole staff, including administrative and clerical workers, benefits from recognition practices.

• You can build themes and corporate messages into appreciation activities that enhance employee interaction and effectiveness. Focus employee attention on core company values and encourage positive behaviors.

Regular recognition continually reinforces the message that management cares about its workforce. When workers are happy, they are more loyal and committed to the company mission. Employee retention feeds your bottom line.

• Some companies provide lunches for their workforce, served up by a professional chef. If this is a little out of your league, why not provide a festive lunch once a month, or goody baskets for each department.

• Send a handwritten note via interdepartmental mail. The message: “Thank you.”

• Flextime is the king of all employee perks. Pretending to be sick or trying to get away to deal with family issues causes worker stress. Flextime solves those problems, and keeps working parents happy. Granting flexible schedules sends a message that you trust employees and expect that they will be mature and not abuse the privilege.

• One innovative idea that fosters communications between different levels of your company is having senior executives push a coffee cart throughout the workspace, doling out beverages, encouragement and coaching as they go. A particularly good time to do this is when employees are working on an important deadline.

• Some CEOs host a monthly birthday breakfast, and throw the floor open for comments and suggestions. Any subject is fair game.

• There are two good ways to set up a Wall of Fame. One is to accentuate the positive by inviting workers to write a positive comment about a colleague, and post it along with their photo. Another is for management to recognize employees, with a description of their ‘claim to fame.’ Why not institute both of these at your workplace?

• Think of fun ways to raise morale. Some companies have a weekly event, like “Whose baby picture is this?” Employees are inspired to chat and mingle, and still get their work done. Productivity has increased by as much as 14% in some companies.

• Participate in worker advancement and career success. Introduce key employees to the department head who might be their next boss, or include them in a customer appreciation lunch.

• Top brass in some companies bring in a bouquet from their own garden to make it special. A chosen employee who has made a significant contribution gets the flowers. This perk will spark friendly but intense competition for the blooms.

• Why not take advantage of endorphins to up your company’s game? Sponsor a companywide walkathon, and give each employee a personal odometer. Award prizes (such as YMCA membership) to the employee who walks to farthest. Ingenious workers will use walk time to discuss and brainstorm current projects.

• Telecommuting is a special privilege, so consider offering it to top producing employees.
The ultimate way to show respect and recognition is by encouraging employees to suggest methods for improving their job function and processes. This strategy is a win-win for middle management and workers who report to them.

Just a few of the benefits of employee empowerment are:

• Number One is increased morale. When workers know that their ideas are relevant to the organization’s success, they become:

– More productive
– Stakeholders instead of wage slaves
– More reliable in their attendance

• Who has a better comprehension of how to do their job more efficiently than the person who has been doing it for years? Taking advice directly from the horse’s mouth builds a better bottom line.

• Employee empowerment builds a bridge of trust and mutual respect between management and workers in one easy step. When managers’ roles change from dictators to advisers and coaches, all strata of the company work effectively in a more harmonious environment.

• As the dynamics shift throughout the company, management’s burden is lightened. When employees can be immediately accountable for their own results, managers are freed for other tasks.

An important component of any employee appreciation scheme is incorporation into the company’s overall mission statement and business plan. For example, if a recognition program’s theme is teamwork, it conveys a consistent message to employees that teamwork is an important company value. This provides essential organizational unification.

The official Employee Appreciation Day is in March, but why wait? Using some of these methods to motivate your workers may be just the ace in the hole you need to edge out your competitors.

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