01 MAR, 2016

5 Ideas for Everyday Employee Appreciation

If you have a good relationship with your significant other where you often do nice things for each other and show the other person how much they mean to you, symbolic holidays like Valentine’s Day aren’t of utmost importance. After the initial honeymoon phase of a relationship, grand gestures like dozens of roses or expensive gifts aren’t as important as the little things like taking out the trash without being asked or buying your partner’s favorite ice cream after he’s had a hard day. Why would you need a specific day to show someone you love how you feel if you do it all the time, as you should?

Employee Appreciation Day (this Friday) is much the same. It’s not that you shouldn’t do something nice for your employees on this day, but if you’ve neglected them throughout the rest of the year, not even the most delicious bagel breakfast or the most expensive company outing will make up for it. (And running to CVS at the last minute for some crappy chocolates is just insulting!) Oh wait, wrong holiday…

In 2016 make a point of showing your employees that you care throughout the year by treating them as the valuable partners they are with some of these ideas:

Give them some personal time: The best thing you can do to make an employee’s day is often giving them the day back to spend with family and friends, or even with their Netflix queue. (Hello, House of Cards is back this week!) If you know an employee has been working extra long hours or just finished up an intensive project, let her know she can take a day off to relax and recharge.

Tell them to relax: Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the stress of our daily responsibilities that we forget how rejuvenating it can be to get away from our work for even 30 minutes. Order lunch for your team and mandate that they eat it away from their desks, or even bring in massage students to give chair massages during stressful times.

Show your appreciation: One of the easiest things to do is to say “thank you” or “great job” to an employee. If you say it in public (whether in person or in a social setting online), you allow others to echo the recognition and it becomes that much more impactful. No one is immune to the great feeling of being appreciated, and it helps keep us motivated to keep going even through challenging times.

Ask them about their feelings: When you’re in upper management it’s easy to forget how intimidating you are to the average employee. It’s also easy to lose touch with some of the day-to-day difficulties they face. Set up one-on-one meetings with employees where you give them an open forum to discuss ways to help them do their jobs better, their own personal goals, and suggestions they have for making the company a better place to work. Ask leading questions to draw out the information you’re looking for rather than putting the employee on the spot.

Help them out: Difficulties from our personal lives often bleed into our time at work, leaving us distracted and less productive. Offer your employees a credit towards Task Rabbit or a similar service where they can have somebody help them out when they really need it, whether it’s as simple as picking up the dry cleaning or as complex as putting together an Ikea bed before their in-laws arrive for the weekend. Or simply offer your employees flexibility in their schedules so that last-minute errands or emergencies don’t become even more stressful for them to deal with.

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