This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Gone are the days of the occasional office shout, the pat on the back as you pass an employee’s desk. These old-fashioned forms of appreciation do not cut it in a new world. Employees are the lifeblood of every organization. Here are seven recognition ideas to offset the stress of a crisis and build a culture of appreciation.
From top-level executives to new graduates, thank them all. The unsung heroes, the on-site achievers, frontline and back-office end, each one of your people has adapted and persevered during the pandemic. Include everyone who has helped the organization survive in your celebrations. Explore personal, meaningful and memorable ways to express gratitude for people’s efforts, tears and sacrifices over this past year.
Employee appreciation makes a positive impact on day-to-day interactions and workplace culture. The 2021 O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report highlighted how employees find experiential gifts, gifts and merchandise, cash or gift cards, and custom or personalized symbols the most meaningful awards for achievement recognition. O.C. Tanner set up a one-time gift experience that allows their employees to select from thousands of the latest gadgets, gear and merchandise so every person can find a gift that means most to him or her.
Being personal means being authentic. In a virtual world of recognition, your expression of appreciation must be specific and unique regardless of platform. Structure your thoughts to reflect your employees’ situations, whether it be a challenging client experience, a conflict with a team member or a process that fell apart. Explore the action taken and what precisely they did to turn the situation around. Were they patient with a colleague who was having a breakdown, did they volunteer to cover a coworker who was ill, or did they conevert a training into a virtual experience? Delve deeper into the impact they had and the difference they made. Lastly, connect what they did back to the values of your team and organization.
In times of crisis, waves of heartbreaking news can impact morale quickly. Resilient organizations purposefully focus on communications that do not sugar-coat or minimize the realities people face; they work hard to soothe the hearts and minds of people with hope and confidence. Companies generate power by embracing opportunities to move forward rather than immersing themselves in victimhood. Focus on where people are succeeding, how metrics can be influenced and celebrate small victories to illuminate a pathway to even more significant gains.
There are many ways to celebrate employees that don’t always involve a gift from a catalogue. Introduce internal or virtual social walls where employees can see and comment on colleagues’ accomplishments or a personalized yearbook with symbolic workplace anniversaries, thoughts and photos. E-cards, giving the gift of learning through self-development workshops or an employee appreciation team-building exercise can positively impact employee satisfaction.
GE Appliances runs a program called Recognise YOU to empower managers to appreciate and interact with their teams and share their campaigns for recognition. ”Thankful Thursdays” encourage employees to send out e-cards and recognize each other.
Many employees have been working remotely for a while and have adapted to make-shift workstations, a spare countertop or dining-room table. Organizations can give value by presenting employees with a sit-stand desk converter that demonstrates concern for their wellbeing. Additionally, using local businesses to deliver small rewards such as gift cards for local restaurants seems more personal and valuable to geographically dispersed remote teams.
Workplace gratitude data from Workhuman shares how saying thank you to employees can impact employee retention and company culture. “Thank you” is a powerful motivator to relieve stress and improve productivity: 66 percent of employees felt more connected to their colleagues, 64 percent felt more motivated to work harder and 61 percent said it helped ease the stress of working remotely. The gift of attention can be the best show of appreciation a human being can provide. Simply having uninterrupted one-on-one time with you lets your people know that they matter.
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