When a raise is not possible, here are eight ways to show your employees that you really do appreciate them. Your show of appreciation will go a long way to improving employee moral as well as increasing employee retention.
1. Career Growth, Learning, and Development. In this constantly changing world, learning and growing are more important than ever. Provide your team with these enrichment opportunities that will allow them to grow, learn and develop:
- Career conversations. Most employees want conversations with their manager to talk about their abilities, choices, and ideas. Listening is a great way to show commitment to their career development.
- Rotate assignments. New responsibilities can help employees feel challenged and valued while they acquire new skills.
- Increase feedback. In addition to annual reviews, you can implement peer review and client review opportunities. Continual feedback allows employees to be their own quality control agents.
- Involve employees in decisions. Employees are empowered and motivated when they take part in decisions that have an impact on their work. Involvement allows employees to see the big picture and enables them to make meaningful contributions.
- Nurture creativity. Ask for creative ideas and give employees the freedom and resources to create.
- Ask employees to teach. Teaching another person is motivational for many. If an employee has a specialty and enjoys sharing this knowledge, everybody wins.
2. Recognition for Work Well Done. Let your employee choose their reward from the following list: an award or plaque, a written thank-you note, a day off, a lunch with senior management, a change in title, some flexibility in schedule, more freedom or autonomy, a seminar or training class.
3. Flexible Work Environment. Consider implementing some cost-efficient ways to make the work environment more flexible such as giving your employees a floating day off each year to be used for a special occasion and allowing employees to go home early on their birthdays or anniversaries.
4. Job Security and Stability. You can give your employees a greater feeling of security by demonstrating consistent honesty and transparency. Some transparency practices include:
- Share bad news. Consistent transparency around bad news will help your employees feel more stable and secure because they won’t wonder if the company is hiding anything. When you have bad news, give it face-to-face and as soon as possible.
- Share negative feedback. Be up-front with all feedback so employees can focus their energy on improving instead of worrying about consequences.
- Share insider information. We want to work for people who are in the loop, and we all want to be looped in ourselves. Your employees will feel like they count when you share important information.
- Share strategic industry trends. With this information, your team members will learn to look broadly at their profession, industry, and organization. They should also feel empowered to make decisions regarding career development.
5. Purpose. It is important for employees to draw purpose from the organization’s mission. Have frequent discussions about the history of the company, its founders, its reason for being, the important needs it meets and what customers say about the company. Also, to connect with a higher sense of purpose, involve your employees in community service. Promoting a cause gives employees a sense of pride, promotes teamwork, fosters a bond among employees, and provides skill development.
6. Fun Work Environment. A fun-filled workplace generates enthusiasm which leads to increased productivity, better customer service, a positive attitude about the company, and employee retention. Some suggestions for helping your employees connect with each other and have fun:
- After-work trips to a local pizza place.
- Go out to a local park for a ball game during lunch or after work.
- Use your company intranet to help boost team collaboration, find organizational resources, and acknowledge and celebrate successes.
- Reinstate lunch and encourage people to enjoy it together.
- Encourage teams, task forces, and employee resource groups, where people form new links and new friendships.
- Host a picnic in a park where employees can bring their families and pets.
7. Respect. It is critical that you recognize each person’s unique qualities and then demonstrate your respect in consistent, undeniable ways. Appreciate individual strengths, styles, and talents. When you value people’s unique traits, they feel respected.
8. Support and Empowerment. Empowered employees will contribute great ideas and perspectives. Some ways to support and empower:
- Be a resource to your employees. Brainstorm with them when they are stumped and give them guidance and feedback.
- Work side by side. See employees as colleagues, not just subordinates. Show it by occasionally doing work that may seem “beneath you.” Working side by side with your employees will strengthen your relationships and increase their respect for you.
- Listen to your employees and use their ideas.
- Give the spotlight away. When celebrating your own successes, share the stage and the applause with your employees.
Make employee appreciation an ongoing part of your leadership style.
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