Maybe your employees aren't laying their heads on their desks, reading magazines during work hours, or calling in "cough cough" fake sick every Friday. Even without these obvious signs, they could still be disengaged with their jobs. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 50.8% of U.S. employees were "not engaged" and an additional 17.2% were "actively disengaged" in their current jobs.
A productive, inspired workplace needs employees who feel appreciated and challenged by their job duties. Failing to show appreciation costs employers big, including lost productive work time, increased missed days, and rampant turnover. Even if a business can't offer big cash bonuses to show their appreciation, there are tons of ways smart managers can implement employee appreciation into the working environment.
If it seems your team members are sluggish and not electrified by their jobs, here are six can't fail ways to make employees feel appreciated, and re-engage them in their position.
Use the right language.
The simplest way to show appreciation is to convey it with words. Say please and thank you instead of militantly ordering your team members around. Compliment their contributions to a successful project, and mention their success of handling a difficult client. In addition, talk with and get to know them on a personal level, their children's and spouse's name, their interests, and their hobbies. Investing a bit of time into the employee establishes a strong connection that helps build a foundation of trust and commitment. Positive, praising language shows appreciation. And it's free!
Welcome ideas from the bottom up.
Every person wants their view to be heard. A powerful way of showing appreciation is exhibiting trust in an employee's ideas. Consistently encourage brainstorming of new ways of doing things, fresh perspectives, and innovative processes. Even the lowest level employees should be able to present their thoughts on how to make the workplace more effective and less cumbersome. Make it a priority to implement the best ideas, and your team members will feel appreciated from your effort.
Praise from the top down.
Give the big kahunas a heads up on your team member's exemplary performance. Talk to your superior about the people doing a fantastic job, and make sure your team members know you "pass the good news" on up the ladder. Knowing their above average performance is pointed out to the powers-that-be will maximize the chances of them going the extra mile for the high level recognition.
Provide them tools to improve and advance.
Even if bonuses are off the table, employees appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow. According to the 2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report by The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), "thirty-one percent of employees felt that paid training and tuition reimbursement were “very important” to employee job satisfaction."
By committing to employee training, your team members can learn a new skill set or expand on their current body of knowledge. Investing in interesting training inspires employees to take their performance to the next level, and gives evidence of the company's confidence in their abilities and value.
Whether it's Friday afternoons off, the opportunity of arriving early, or simply taking off for a doctor's appointment, a key perk to show appreciation is workplace flexibility. If possible, offer your team members a few choices in work hours, the freedom of telecommuting a few days a week, and other creatively flexible solutions. Working with each person's individual schedules shows them that you know they are a valuable and contributing member of the company.
Celebrate important milestones.
Company anniversaries, birthdays, and a new certification achievement are all events where managers can show their appreciation. A dozen cupcakes or a "Congratulations" banner are simple ways to make a team member feel acknowledged and appreciated. Keep a calendar of significant events, and schedule periodic celebrations to honor your team members. Doing so creates a culture of recognition and achievement.
These six ways to show your appreciation to a valued employee cost the company practically nothing, but serve up big rewards in terms of improved engagement and maximized performance. Practice a consistent regimen of dolling out appreciation to each employee, and the long range results will be a productive, present, creative crew of happy, fulfilled team members.