Whether it's in the form of a raise or a simple thank you, showing gratitude can make all the difference to your employees.
Businesses that proactively use appreciation can attest to its powerful value. As the saying goes, “Next to excellence comes the appreciation of it.” When it becomes part of corporate culture, appreciation can be the secret weapon that propels companies past their competition. When it’s absent, it can cripple performance, productivity and profitability.
Too often, workers are ignored, asked to perform tasks without proper guidance, given little feedback so they can do their jobs well, rarely acknowledged for their good work and only singled out when they make mistakes. This takes its toll on even the most energetic and positive employees. Business owners and managers have to ask themselves how much they value their employees and customers. In many cases, the truthful answer would be “not much.”
More than half of employees admit they would stay longer at their jobs if their bosses showed more appreciation according to a recent survey by Glassdoor. Fortunately, there are many ways that managers can show their appreciation:
Pay raises. The majority of employees in the Glassdoor survey (75 percent) say pay raises are the number one way to make people feel appreciated at work. But the good news for managers in cash-strapped companies is that it’s not the only way …
Treats and rewards. The survey also found that small unexpected treats and rewards, such as snacks, lunches and dinners, made a big difference to employees, as did opportunities for increased involvement in decision making, opportunities to do interesting work, telecommuting options and company-sponsored social events.
Public acknowledgments. Handing out employee of the month awards and other token public acknowledgments can be another way to show gratitude. David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands— which operates more than 40,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants—found that his employees loved receiving floppy chickens and other fun gifts as special recognition awards. He also hangs a photo of himself with each employee in his own office.
Simple thank yous. For a job well done, saying a simple thank you in person or with a note can go a long way toward making employees feel appreciated. While it may be easier to dash off an email, a handwritten note may mean more, since it takes time to sit down and prepare it.
Thanking employees regularly may help them to accept criticism better, as long as the feedback is specific. If you make your employees feel better about what they do and how they contribute, both positive and negative feedback can become a regular part of the conversation. A manager should make an effort to walk around the office each day looking for opportunities to praise the members of his or her team.
Originally published in HR Magazine on SHRM.org.