Do you appreciate your employees? 10 ways to show it!

Today's post comes from G.Neil's HR Library. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sitting down to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete without giving thanks for all the good fortune and happiness of the past year. High on the list are the friends and family who bring us joy and enrich our lives.

Are you extending this same attitude of gratitude to the workplace? It’s been said that “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” This is as true in the workplace as it is in our personal lives. Unless you’re focusing on the things your employees are doing right and rewarding them in immediate, tangible ways, your gratitude is as effective as a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are 10 easy ways to express your appreciation and show employees that you value what they bring to the workplace:

1) Recognize birthdays and anniversaries. Most employees would be pleasantly surprised to receive a greeting card on their birthday or work anniversary. Especially if it’s signed by senior management and includes a personal message, it’s a small gesture with big impact.

2) Say thank you. “Thank you” – two small words with tremendous power. Whether you express it in a handwritten note, pull someone aside in the hallway or call out an accomplishment in a packed meeting, managers and supervisors should look for every possible opportunity to say thank you.

3) Point out performance. No achievement is too small, especially when it propels a bigger project or contributes to the overall success of your business. Give a pair of movie tickets to someone who reached her sales goal or a restaurant gift certificate to an employee who spearheaded a new initiative.

4) Establish an employee recognition program. If you haven’t done so already, kick off an employee-of-the-month program or wall of fame in 2012. These programs are ideal for demonstrating your appreciation on a consistent basis, while acting as an incentive for other staff members to step up their game.

5) Offer free food. It’s amazing what bagels in the morning or a sandwich platter at lunchtime can do to boost employee morale. In addition to enhancing everyday work routines with tasty fare, look for bigger ways to reward through food, like a luncheon for the department with the highest quarterly revenue.
6) Show respect. While this seems obvious, your demeanor with your employees makes a world of difference. No matter how stressed you are, you shouldn’t swear, lose your temper or ignore your employees. The little courtesies add up, so say please and thank you, keep your office door open, watch your body language and give your full, undivided attention when employees come to you with issues.

7) Touch base with employees. Hold meetings with individual employees or groups of employees several times throughout the year to address any lingering questions or concerns. Be open to their feedback and reactions to new company policies or developments, and update them on the steps you’ve taken to solve problems discussed in former meetings.

8) Let them park it. Reserve your best parking spots for employees who’ve gone above and beyond for the company. A prime parking space could be one of the rewards for the winner of your employee-of-the-month program.

9) Flex their hours. Flex time is a perk that most employees appreciate above all others. Explore ways to let employees telecommute, work a compressed workweek or leave early one day a week (assuming they’re meeting their obligations otherwise). Loosening the reins on a rigid work structure is a fantastic way to reward employees who have already earned your trust.

10) Conduct an employee satisfaction survey. Perhaps you don’t know what’s making your workers unhappy – or what they really want. An employee survey is a great way to capture their opinions in a safe, non-threatening manner. Break the survey into sections (such as “working conditions” and “company culture”), set up the survey in a format you can easily administer and discuss the results (and takeaways) among company management.

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