Feeling appreciated in the workplace is one of the top drivers of employee engagement. Essentially, employees who feel invested in and valued by their employers perform better at their jobs than those who don’t. This means that recognizing employees should always be a priority, even on a small budget.
Throughout their careers, managers are likely to face times when they’re unable to provide employees with the financial incentives or rewards that they want because of budget restrictions. In those cases, it’s necessary for managers to think creatively and find other ways to keep employees happy, engaged and — most importantly — feeling appreciated.
Benefits of employee appreciation
Appreciating your employees may or may not come naturally to you as a manager or supervisor, but it’s an important part of running a business/managing people. Put yourself in their shoes — if you don’t feel appreciated or valued for the work you do, are you really going to work very hard? The same goes for your employees — the less appreciated they feel, the less they’ll strive to do their best. In the long run, the company is likely to suffer.
Appreciating your employees doesn’t just keep people happy in their jobs, it benefits the company in countless other ways, including:
Reducing negativity and fostering a more community-based workplace
Improving employee retention/decreasing turnover
Boosting loyalty toward the company
Minimizing stress and absenteeism caused by burnout and frustration
Increasing levels of productivity
If a focus is put on employee appreciation, both the employees and the company will greatly benefit over time.
Inexpensive ideas for employee appreciation
There are countless ideas for employee appreciation, from inexpensive gifts like 10-dollar gift cards to their favorite lunch spot, to incentives given to those who work hard and perform well during a set period of time. And even if it’s not in the budget to gift monetarily, consider these other inexpensive employee appreciation ideas.
Offering a sincere word of thanks
“Thank you” is often an overused phrase in the workplace, but going out of your way to offer a genuine thanks to an employee who went above and beyond can still have an impact. A handwritten note, a “coffee on me” or an extended lunch break can turn a simple “thank you” into something that helps an employee truly feel seen and appreciated.
Sharing public recognition
Public recognition can be shared in a number of ways, but one truly effective method is by including higher-ups within your organization when emailing your praises to a deserving employee. You might CC your own manager, directors or other leaders who have an interest in the project. This simple action shows that you have the employee’s career development in mind and want to give them positive exposure to powerful people in your organization.
Other forms of public recognition, like posting to an intranet, can also boost employee morale by giving their colleagues the chance to reach out and offer congratulations.
Offering mentorship opportunities
Establishing a mentor program within your organization can help employees expand their workplace network and hone their communication skills. Not only does it help the mentees by providing them with guidance and insight as they move along their career path, but it gives mentors a chance to develop their leadership skills. A mentorship program can also help employees see that growth and success are possible within the organization.
Supporting your employees’ mental health
It’s becoming less and less taboo to recognize the impact that workplace stress can have on an individual’s health, even when they work a job they enjoy. Recognizing this and encouraging employees to take steps to improve their mental health can boost morale and provide other long-term benefits, like decreased employee turnover.
Additional time off for “mental health days” is a great way to show that you care about your employees’ stress levels. Consider setting up a small quiet area in your workplace where employees can go to relax and mentally recharge. Encourage staff to take short breaks if they’re dealing with stressful projects or meetings. If you feel an employee is chronically struggling with their mental health, refer them to your EAP for additional help.
Promoting a healthy work-life balance
It may seem counterintuitive, but encouraging employees to have strong boundaries between work and personal life can actually make them happier in their jobs. A healthy work-life balance, where employees feel empowered to “leave work at work,” can help employees feel well-rested, rejuvenated and more creative overall. Encourage them to not check their email once they leave the office and to avoid calling or texting coworkers about work-related matters once the work day/week has concluded.
Of course, there are times when an employee can expect to be on-call, but providing your staff with regular time away from the stressors of the work environment is extremely beneficial to their focus and creativity.
Appreciating your staff on a budget
Appreciated employees are engaged and happy employees. With limited financial resources, it isn’t always easy to come up with ways to show your staff how much you appreciate them. But it’s possible to think outside the box and implement cost-effective employee incentives and rewards in your workplace.
For more assistance in supporting your staff, or to learn about the benefits of installing an EAP in your company, reach out to Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP today by calling us at (800) 543-5080.