Employee Appreciation Day (3rd March 2023) is the perfect opportunity to lead from the front and show your team that you care.
The last 12 months were supposed to be our first year of complete freedom since the pandemic hit us hard, but instead we are battling a cost-of-living crisis and studies show that moderate-high levels of stress among adults has grown a huge 13% this year. So how can you show your team how much you appreciate all their hard work and resilience? And how can you do it in a meaningful way while so many people are now working remotely permanently?
Firstly, it’s so important to carry this gratitude into the months ahead not just in the days after Employee Appreciation Day. Studies have shown that when employees feel recognised in their work they’re less likely to look for a new job and are likely to be more productive. But when employees don’t feel the love, they’re far more likely to leave, which is a challenge no small business needs – especially during the current financial crisis.
Add working from home into the mix and this creates an employee recognition disaster – in fact, studies have shown that over 50% of remote workers haven’t felt as much gratitude from their bosses since they began opening Slack instead of the office door. Not good.
But with everything going on most of us have been firefighting. So, if you think that you haven’t shown your employees the full appreciation they deserve this past year, don’t worry.
Here are five easy ways to show your employees that you care without breaking the budget.
1 – Say thank you
Let’s start off small. It’s easy to get caught up in the go-go-go of small business life, but when was the last time you took a second to say thank you?
It might sound silly, but giving verbal affirmations is an essential leadership tool. And it’s one that we’re missing when working remotely.
When you’re in the office it’s second nature to say a quick thank you, give some nice feedback and smile.
When your day is filled with so many back-to-back meetings that you haven’t gotten around to answering Slack messages in days, your employees might be feeling under-appreciated.
But saying thank you doesn’t have to be as simple as typing it out on Slack. You can take a moment at the beginning of every meeting to share the love, write an e-card for your employees, share big achievements in company-wide message channels and take some time to celebrate at the end of a long week.
Get creative with your thank you’s! And don’t forget to say thank you to individuals so they know that you mean them, as well as sending thank you’s to the wider team.
2 – Schedule in some social time
A few social video calls throughout the week can do absolute wonders for you and your team. They break up the monotony, allow you to actually speak to another human being and form friendships.
They’re also a great opportunity to show some appreciation! As the chat inevitably becomes work-related, I’d recommend making the most of it and saying positive things.
But social time can also be a thank-you in itself. Some teams go all-out with their breaks, ordering everyone a pizza, playing games and getting the drinks out on a Friday afternoon. Or perhaps you can organise a face-to-face event for your team and head out for lunch or after-work drinks?
This is a great way to let your boss persona drop and get to know your employees.
3 – Send a gift
Speaking of ordering pizza, why don’t we do that more often? Gifts shouldn’t be reserved for Christmas time and birthdays, especially when we’re all working remotely.
Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to start sending your team some goodies. Whether you stick with food, send over some flowers or simply order them a card, it will make a big difference.
A physical gift will remind them that they’re appreciated whenever they see it and they’ll be lots of fun to pick out. It’s also a great way to support some of your favourite small businesses.
4 – Think long term
It is tempting in this economic climate to be cautious when it comes to financially rewarding employees. So if you’re considering postponing that pay rise, keeping an unpaid intern or holding off on that promotion, please reconsider if you can!
When your employees feel like they’re appreciated and valued when it comes to their pay, they will undoubtedly put more effort and care into their work. So it’s a win-win!
But we appreciate that isn’t always possible, so we took a look at how you can help your employees through the cost-of-living crisis in a recent blog.
5 – Take your appreciation into the year
And returning back to our original point, please take this energy into the year with you! It’s so easy to get lost in hitting targets, acquiring your dream client and ticking off your to-do’s.
Let’s put appreciation on our to-do lists. Let’s say thank you and appreciate our employees more.
It is also worth encouraging employees to show their appreciation for each other and share positive news.
A great way to take gratitude into the following months is to invest in your employee’s professional development. It might be investing in a course, if you can afford to at the moment, or if you can’t even just a chat about their development wish list is an amazing way to show your team that you care about them.
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