Employee Appreciation: The Priceless Impact on Workplace Reputation

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Feb 4, 2014

As children, many of us are taught that “please” and “thank you” are invaluable words. But as employers, we often forget that remembering to say “thank you” to employees can have an almost priceless impact on the workplace.

For instance, if you struggle to retain top talent, hear this: More than half (53 percent) of employees admit they’d stay longer at their jobs if their bosses showed more appreciation, according to Glassdoor’s recent Employee Appreciation Survey.

And before your employees think about leaving, consider the number of occasions that your company’s workplace reputation could be taking a hit by simply not showing enough appreciation along the way.

Start showing better appreciation for your employees by following these three steps:

1. Understand — and communicate  — employees’ importance

Before management and HR staff can truly appreciate employees, they must understand the value employees bring to the company. Think out the following scenario: If a significant number of star employees left today primarily because they did not feel valued, what impact would it have on company recruiting and the business overall?

For most companies, it would be devastating. Your company’s talent pipeline would be challenged as employee referrals would likely slow down.

Their feedback to others about the work environment and culture would likely not offer a glowing report. Not to mention, it’s likely that each employee has personal relationships with your customers, business partners and vendors.

Think about all those conversations employees have day in and day out – how will their dissatisfaction be perceived and how will that in turn reflect on your company’s reputation?

If necessary, share the scenario above with your managers. Showing their appreciation will be more genuine and come more naturally if they have actually thought about how much they appreciate their employees.

2. Ask employees what matters to them

While your company’s culture and employer brand are important for determining the best ways to design appreciation efforts, the most important factors are your employees’ opinions.

While it may come as no surprise that the majority of employees surveyed in the Glassdoor study say pay raises are the number one way to make them feel appreciated at work, other types of valued forms of appreciation included unexpected treats and rewards, involvement in decision-making, company-wide recognition, telecommuting options, opportunities to do interesting work, and company sponsored social events.

The bottom line is to ask your employees what types of opportunities or perks would do the trick — ask them in person, via social channels or through employee surveys. The best methods of showing appreciation to employees vary depending on each company’s culture and the promise of its employer brand.

3. Track progress and keep records

If you commit to showing employees appreciation, don’t do it blindly. Keep tabs on when appreciation is shown, to whom and how much.

Like any other initiative, properly showing appreciation requires planning, organizing and tracking. But don’t make it too difficult — remember, your goal is to simply say “thank you” and hopefully more than once.

And don’t forget to keep checking in with employees. Is the feedback they’re giving show that they are feeling more appreciated? If so, your reputation will improve and a host of benefits will follow that can be seen and felt from both a recruiting and retention perspective.

Finding creative and cost-effective ways to show appreciation that will resonate with your employees doesn’t take any kind of wizardry or big budgets. For a job well done, a simple “thank you,” either verbally or in a handwritten thank you note, can go a long way in making employees feel appreciated.

But employers who really want to show employees how much they matter – and who truly understand the risks that they will face if they don’t – will get a little more creative and a little more consistent.