Appreciating the benefits of appreciation
According to the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, positive behaviours such as showing employee appreciation and demonstrating respect are important to wellbeing. However, the report card on the behaviour of UK businesses towards their employees is very much ‘could do better’. According to a large European research project on employee voice undertaken by Deloitte, UK companies are not performing as well as their European competitors in relation to staff engagement and motivation.
The report highlights that the UK employees surveyed said that being trusted is an important motivator. In addition, the top issue affecting productivity in the UK is the level of opportunity for staff to give and receive feedback. Put simply, it’s all about relationships.
The challenges of winning employee engagement are, of course, universal. #EmployeeAppreciationDay, which is an awareness day held on the first Friday of March each year, has its roots in the USA and Canada, but is gaining traction across the world. Companies are using it as an opportunity to show appreciation, give praise and increase the trust between employee and employer.
Understand what motivates your employees
When staff are asked about what motivates them, they don’t just talk about salaries and benefits. It’s well established that employees also respond well to what is sometimes termed ‘the power of praise’. But even good managers can get caught up in the day to day stresses of work and fail to show appreciation towards their teams.
Using Employee Appreciation Day can help businesses to start thinking about the importance of engaging with staff. A simple celebration such as one of the following can start the conversation:
- Say thank you to each and every staff member for what they bring to their work, whether it’s their sense of humour, willingness to go the extra mile or attention to detail.
- Arrange some buffet lunches or cake selections. Tie these in with messages of appreciation and celebration.
- Give staff the opportunity to provide meaningful but informal feedback through the setting up a special email account for the day or allowing staff to drop by senior management offices for a chat. (In the future, surveys can be used to make feedback more formal and detailed.)
- Show some flexibility. Encourage staff to dress casually, bring in their pets or set their own hours (if possible).
- Arrange ‘de-stress’ sessions through hand massages, mediation and manicures.
Clever companies will tie their event, no matter what it is, to their values. This means that there will be a ‘double whammy’ of conversations about appreciation and the values that are important to staff.
Embed employee appreciation into your company culture
Naturally, a one-off event won’t shift mindsets, and more cynical employees make even think of the day as a token gesture. A powerful move, though, is to use Employee Appreciation Day as a springboard to talk to staff more, praise them when they do a good job and embed a wider culture of staff engagement.
The most important element in a successful employee engagement programme is staff input. Once Employee Appreciation Day is over, use it as a reason to ask for opinions from staff. Our Resource Hub has useful ebooks on, employee voice and staff retention which you can download to create a company culture that embraces appreciation, respect and higher productivity. Employee appreciation is all about redefining how to connect, engage, and communicate with your employees.
Visit WorkInConfidence and find out how we are enabling organisations to flourish through giving their people a voice.