Over the last 18 months, all of us have gone through seasons of immense disruption. For many of us, this period has been marked by stress and uncertainty, both in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. Naturally, this has led to a significant increase of stress, burnout, and fatigue.
The question is, what can team leaders do to combat these ill effects, and to keep their employees motivated and engaged? One of the simplest and most effective ways to prioritize engagement is simply to make sure employees know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
The Best Strategies for Employee Appreciation
There are a few guidelines for team leaders to keep in mind as they seek to develop a culture of appreciation. Consider these tips and strategies:
There’s nothing at all wrong with saying “thanks for all your hard work” as employees leave for the weekend. However, if that’s all you ever say, it may eventually become rote. When possible, look for ways to delve into specific shows of appreciation. If you see an employee overcoming a significant obstacle, or developing a solution to a big problem, address it directly and specifically.
We live in a world where it seems like bad news is ever present. Your employees may naturally be discouraged, simply due to what they see in the headlines or in their social media feeds. Fight back against discouragement by providing regular occasions to celebrate. Publicly laud team members for successes, both individual and collective in nature. If you see metrics showing you’ve had an especially productive week, month, or quarter, that’s reason enough to throw a party, or at least to express enthusiasm in your next team meeting.
Look for Practical Expressions of Gratitude
Employee appreciation can go beyond mere words. For example, if you have team members who are truly exceling, you might reward them by inviting them to participate in continuing education or team-building exercises, allowing them to further hone their skills. Remember, this should never come across like you’re “rewarding” employees with more work. Instead, let them know that you think they’re ready for some further professional development opportunities, allowing them to shine brighter still.
Deliver Gifts to Remote Employees
One reason why it’s increasingly hard to show employee appreciation is that so many teams are geographically dispersed. If you have a remote employee who really deserves to be honored, look for local businesses, such as bakeries, that can deliver a gift straight to that employee’s door.
Don’t Overlook the Little Things
Some of these recommendations will require some effort, but remember: The little things matter, too! If nothing else, you can develop a habit of saying thank you to your employees, as often as necessary. It’s not everything, but it’s also not insignificant!
Develop Strategies for Employee Engagement
Appreciation is just one aspect of employee engagement. To discover some additional ways to boost employee engagement, we invite you to contact WhiteWater Consulting. We’d love to learn more about you, your company and how we can help you take care of your greatest asset: your people.