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How to Make Employee Appreciation Meaningful

We’ve previously written how employee appreciation is crucial to employee engagement, and recognition programs are one of the most common ways employers try to engage their people. But how do you make sure your employee appreciation efforts actually make employees feel appreciated?

Genuinely care about your people.

It helps if your appreciation program is rooted in an authentic desire to create a great workplace. Globoforce’s 2016 The ROI of Recognition in Building a More Human Workplace Report found that the perception of workplace caring greatly influences employee happiness. When workers feel that their employers actually do care, an astounding 96% of them will say they are happy at work. Globoforce suggests that a caring workplace is one focused on the company’s underlying mission and core values, where employees are treated like their voices matter.

Globoforce says cultivating such a workplace environment has massive, widespread impacts: “When they agreed that leaders cared about a human workplace, their numbers went up on nearly every other question we asked. When they disagreed, the numbers fell far lower than the baseline.”

Recognize employees regularly.

The recency of employee recognition makes a big difference: “When employees were recognized within the last six months, they are more than twice as likely to believe leaders cared than those who had never been recognized.”

In fact, drop off is steep even after just a few months (falling from 84% to 58%). In other words, it doesn’t take long for employees to start feeling as though they’re being taken for granted. This begs a few questions, though. If recognition is so important, how do you handle it for workers who may not deserve it? It’s not uncommon for top performers to get all the recognition all the time, and that can cause resentment.

Check out our comprehensive series about managing employee performanceat all levels (including how to manage managers) for help. Some tips include thinking in terms of potential, not just achievement; and providing regular, recurring feedback to all workers that always includes at least some positive comments.

Make sure your managers are on the same page.

Front-line management staff – those who actually directly oversee workers – play a tremendous role here. However, there appears to be a disconnect between executives and managers, as fewer managers than executives deem engagement as very important. Is employee engagement as important to the managers in your organization as it is to you? Make sure your mid-level and front-line managers emphasize it just as much you do.

Need more information about employee engagement? CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR best practices, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our integrated HR outsourcing solution, contact us today.