As your company comes together to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day whether it be by putting out donuts or setting up a sundae bar - know that while these things matter and it’s a great day to celebrate, it's not what makes your employees feel appreciated.
Appreciation is much deeper than that. It’s not something that is felt with one day of effort, it’s ongoing. It’s about being consistent with your appreciation and understanding of what truly matters to employees and the members of your team. It goes beyond offering parties, free lunches, and even swag. If employees don't believe the intention behind it all, none of that will matter.
Studies have shown that the number one reason employees leave a company is due to not feeling appreciated. We hear it often in interviews and learn a lot from those conversations on what truly makes an impact on employees.
It’s about going beyond Appreciation day…
Clear career path
Understanding an employee's goals and career path is super important. You can’t act tone-deaf to this otherwise you will miss out on the hints of them potentially bailing. If an employee wants to hit a certain metric or title, it's your job as a manager to guide and coach them on how to get there, while still keeping in mind the company's goals. If there is not a clear path to these goals due to the current company growth or plans, then it's not far to string an employee along simply because they are good at their job and you don’t want to put in the work to hire someone else. Employees will quickly catch on to this and feel under-appreciated. We have seen candidates tell us stories of false hopes companies have given employees to keep them to stay.
Instead, keep clear company goals and provide the opportunities that are available if certain metrics are hit. They will appreciate the transparency and know what options are available if they stay with the company.
Keeping open and honest communication with your team is a true way to show appreciation beyond appreciation day. People like to know where they stand and feel like their opinions are heard as decisions are made. To encourage open communication by starting the lead. It starts with the leaders of the company showing this practice and encouraging it. At SwagUp, we offer open financials to everyone in the company and openly communicate our goals and plans for growth. It allows for everyone to feel a part of the company and that everyone taking a seat with us has value and impact. It also helps build a relationship of trust. Employees want to know they can trust their boss with decisions and know that they will steer them in the right direction.
Another way to encourage transparency is by holding one on ones with your employees. These are valuable as it allows employees to openly discuss how they feel about the company and its goals. Employees appreciate the transparency and having the opportunity to know the direction the company is looking to go. Everyone that takes a seat in your company makes a difference and it’s important that they know and feel that.
Be kind, be human
A simple thank you, goes a long way. Are you thanking employees when they do behaviors that are not measured in numbers? While yes congratulating your team when they hit goals is important, it's even more important to acknowledge and thank them for the actions that got them there. Saying thank you or good job, sounds so simple, yet a lot of bosses forget to do this. The simple gesture is appreciated. No one ever wants to feel like just a number or another body to fill the room. Being human to your staff goes a long way. Do you tell them to take breaks if they are overworking? Do you encourage them to take a personal day if needed? A good boss is one that treats their team like human beings. Employees that feel appreciated will work harder for you.
Employee Appreciation should go beyond just one day. How consistent are you with talking about goals, being transparent and saying thank you? If you can’t remember the last time you did any of these things, you may want to reevaluate your management. If employees get the sense that they stopped caring, they will too. As managers, we set the cadence. The appreciation starts from the top. If you consistently show you care, in turn, you will have an employee who feels appreciated.
As we continue to celebrate our team members today, just remember to continue that appreciation every day. Give clear goals, be transparent, say thank you and be consistent with your actions. Your team will appreciate a boss that understands what it takes to build a healthy office culture. Companies that value growth over culture don't always win in the long run. For a company to see continuous growth, it requires a healthy team from within. If your employees don't care, it will reflect on your customers and ripple on. Appreciation starts from within and will radiant on out.