They’ll always enjoy the bagels you bring in for Friday meetings, and they’ll accept the paper certificate celebrating their employment anniversaries — but these kinds of displays of appreciation are trite. In fact, employees have come to expect these shows as the bare minimum of behavior from average employers.
However, if you want to be better than average — if you want to land your company on a list of “best places to work” — you need to step up your efforts of showing gratitude and care. Here are a few better ways to demonstrate your appreciation for employee toils.
Create a Corporate Points System
You enjoy earning points at your favorite retailers, which you can cash in to gain extra products or discounts. You should consider creating a similar program for your employees, whereby you reward their good behavior with points that they can redeem for flex time, PTO, event tickets or other perks. This is the gamification of employee appreciation; many workers will strive to do better every day to earn more points than their peers, and they will have fun competing for rewards in this fashion.
As a business leader, you need to determine what kinds of actions earn what amount of points. Then, you need to create a way for employees to take advantage of the points they accrue. If you already have a loyalty points program for customers, you might be able to convert that platform into a comparable service for workers. Talk to your tech crew, HR and other departments throughout development to ensure the system is fair and usable.
Give the Power of Props to Coworkers
Workers love being acknowledged and appreciated by their bosses, but often business leaders lack the time and energy to recognize every achievement and act on them. However, coworkers typically do have the exposure to each other’s work to see hard work and dedication, so it might behoove you to give the power of appreciation to your workforce.
Props work like this: Whenever one worker values another worker’s effort, they can reward that worker with props. This can take the form of sending an email to the boss, who will then publicly acknowledge the worker’s distinguished behavior, or it can look like the employee standing up during a meeting and thanking the hard worker for their actions. You should encourage coworkers to pay attention to one another’s behavior and show gratitude when it is deserved, and you should also make time to reward the most-propped employees every week especially.
Share Rewards Amongst the Team
If you don’t have much extra budget to devote to a complex rewards program, you might want to consider sharing a team award amongst your employees. You can buy a special something — like anything on this list of employee appreciation gift ideas — and then pass the item around to whichever employee has most recently done something noteworthy. For instance, if employee A lands a sale with a major client, they can keep the item on their desk, but the next week, employee B might identify a supplier with higher quality and lower costs, which could give them “ownership” of the item.
You might also encourage the rest of the workforce to treat the employee with the item in some special way, perhaps showering them with compliments or excusing them from meetings for the week. As your budget increases, you might add a small gift card to the award, so whenever it transfers, employees get a bonus to their motivation and morale.
Leverage Social Media for Gratitude
There are several tiers of appreciation. There’s a private, which consists of a little handshake or email exchanged between the target employee and their boss. There’s a semi-public one, which has that employee thanked in front of their peers at work. Then, there’s the truly public, where a corporation makes it known to everyone how exceptional that employee is. Social media finally allows companies to perform the latter in a graceful and laudable way.
When an employee goes well beyond the ordinary to boost your business, you should craft a social media post about their accomplishments, so clients and customers can also acknowledge the worker’s efforts and praise them in the future. Not only does this make your employees feel special, it proves to the world that you support and applaud your staff. With this brand boost, you can attract the attention of top talent and perhaps earn a spot on a list of “greatest places to work.”