With new generations taking over the workforce, employee appreciation and new recognition tactics are on the rise of popularity. Millennials aren't the only ones pushing for engagement and recognition, either; In fact, studies show when employees were asked what leaders could do to improve engagement, 58% said: "give recognition." These two aspects truly go hand-in-hand, and a vast majority of employees want them. So, what can you do?
Below are some simple ideas you can implement to show employees how much you appreciate them, while also engaging and strengthening a relationship.
Employee Appreciation Ideas: A (Growing) List
1. Get Healthy.
Health and wellness are always important, and healthier employees get more done. Studies have found that job performance among those who ate a healthy diet and exercised regularly was 11% higher than their peers who did not. You can get this healthy kick-started by providing healthy snacks, going on team walks, or even offer to help pay for employee gym memberships. Try a handful of these #employee engagement tips to wake up your team’s productivity (Tweet This):
2. Celebrate Accomplishments.
As a manager, you should know and understand the goals of your team. Know someone who just hit their sales goal or landed a new client? Celebrate it! Try giving personal gifts, bringing in a treat for everyone, or even having a small party at the end of a long workday to get everyone involved.
3. Bring In Speakers.
Need to get the team motivated and working together? Bringing in speakers and coaches are a great way to participate in team building exercises and provide employees that extra boost to get the work done. Start with a lunch and learn and go from there!
4. Have A Lunch And Learn.
Get employees excited about the new tools they’re or have them showcase their expertise in a specific subject during a lunch and learn. You could create a signup schedule for employees to select a topic and week to do an informal presentation about something they’ve been working on and what to share with the team. You just need a projector and some food! This gets employees involved in each other’s work as well as creates a productivity break for everyone.
5. Get Employee Feedback.
When engaging a group of people, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. So, go straight to the source and ask your team for ideas and opinions on how you can get them better engaged and feel appreciated. Employee feedback is the best way to know what changes need to be made!
6. Have Lunch.
Taking the team out to lunch is a perfect way to make them feel special and gives you a chance to get to know them outside of the workplace. Plus, everyone loves food!
7. Go Bowling.
Not everyone is a bowler, but the point of this tip is to go out with your team and do something fun together! This can be golf, a day at the beach, or anything that your employees are interested in.
8. Create An Open Workplace.
Be open in both mind and body. Not only should you be listening and communicating with your team, but make an effort to take down any physical walls as well. 39% of surveyed employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough. Creating an open workplace and getting rid of dreaded cubicles is a great start to increase collaboration.
9. Encourage Ongoing Coaching.
From webinars to conferences, showing an interest in the continued education of employees proves you are invested and care about their work and progress. Allow employees to possibly have a yearly budget that they can spend on going to these events to learn, grow, and develop.
10. Hand Out More Tasks.
Nothing shows you appreciate someone more than giving them more responsibility. This expresses trust and respect for the individual, as well as employee and team recognition for their quality of work.
11. Create A Volunteering Program.
With engagement and creating a community inside the workplace comes CSR, and one way to achieve all of this is by implementing an employee volunteer program. Whether once a month, or once a year, this gives your employees the opportunity to give back and feel proud of the company that they work with.
12. Spread Motivation.
We all could use some added pep to our step sometimes. Motivate your team with motivational quotes, videos, or even speakers to help them get moving down the right path and feeling rejuvenated.
13. Have A Food Day.
Dedicate a day once a week where you all sit together at the end of the day, eat delicious food, and talk about what has been going on around the office. It might be a good idea to even throw in some special recognition to each team member while you’re at it!
14. Play Music.
This may not be possible at all times. But, when the office is slow, let the music play! John Hopkins has actually found that music can help in active learning, memorization, attention, and other important aspects. It can not only help your team concentrate but also bring in an element of fun to the workplace.
15. Ban Internal Emails.
You might hear a few gasps when you first bring this idea to the table, but it’s a great way to increase communication and ensure that team members are engaging with each other. Have a question? Get up and go ask! Although, we do recommend keeping this to only one day.
16. Hold Brainstorming Meetings.
Just like breaking down physical walls is important, so is forming an open and free communication process. Meet at least once a week with your team to brainstorm project ideas, new process, and more. And, don’t leave certain departments out just because the topic at hand is not something they are used to dealing with. The best ideas can come from anywhere!
People of all ages love games, and that includes those that happen inside the workplace. This is backed up even further as a recent study found that 55% of Americans say they are interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity. Games are a fun way to encourage participation when it comes to training, communication, and more! So, use them when you can.
18. Name That Coworker.
Help your employees get to know each other better with a quick game. Learning more about their team members can help communication in the workplace and build better relationships. You can play this game by splitting the office up into two teams and reading off hints about an employee then giving points to the team that answers correctly. You can write the hints easier by distributing a survey beforehand to get the answers to different questions like, “Where is your alma mater?” or “If you could be immortal for a day, what would you do?”
19. Give Employees A Voice.
Any workplace can have a bit of fear in its culture but its important employees know they are able to express what’s on their minds, whether it’s a concern or a suggestion. Increase employee engagement by creating a way for employees to voice these opinions. You can do this through surveys, one-on-ones and frequent feedback. Don’t forget the follow-up and accountability so they know their ideas are actually being taken into consideration.
20. Share “Inside” Information.
What do we mean by the “inside” information? Let employees in on what’s going on in the company like the direction it’s headed and the type of challenges leadership might be facing right now. Employees want to know they’re in the circle of trust and sharing this information can help them feel like a valued part of the company.
21. Encourage Work-Life Balance.
Did you know employees who believe that they have good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t? Encourage employees to leave their work at the office and balance out their time spent there and at home. One of the best ways to do this is to lead by example. If employees see their managers practicing good work-life balance techniques, they likely will too.
22. Start A Mentoring Program.
When it comes to turning your employee engagement around, serving as a mentor to your employees can be the best way to get everyone back on track. Make sure no one is left behind by offering your help to someone who may be struggling or just extending the invitation to your team as a whole. It may take more time in the moment to sit next to someone and go through their work, but it will benefit the employee and the team in the long-run.
Bio: Michael Heller
Michael Heller has 20+ years of experience in strategic human resources, talent management and technology consulting. As an HR executive at Washington Consulting, Digital Management and Deltek, Michael led teams to develop innovative human capital management programs and initiatives. Previously, Michael held a variety of positions at American Management Systems and Booz Allen Hamilton where he executed on talent acquisition, total rewards, performance management, strategic HR partnership and philanthropy strategies.