Show gratitude this Thanksgiving with these 5 employee appreciation tips

Thanksgiving is here, and the only thing your employees want more than their annual turkey stuffing combo is some appreciation.

Employee retention is a never-ending battle, and lack of recognition is at the top of reasons why staff is looking for an exit. According to Forbes, 66 percent of employees said they’d quit their job if they felt unappreciated.

Around this time, families and friends gather to give thanks. It’s time to bring the spirit of gratitude to your organization. Don’t let your employees become that one aunt who never comes around for the holidays. Dish out a little recognition if you’d like your employees to stick around.

And when we say recognition, we don’t only mean employee of the month awards (although those are always welcome). Recognition means anything and everything an organization (executives and peers) does to praise and appreciate the achievements of staff members.

shrm employee appreciation survey

Recognition is easy, and the benefits are endless. The key to having employees that love you is to show them the levels of your appreciation. Give, and you shall receive. The six tips below are some easy ways to show your employees just how much they mean to your organization.

Say thanks

We’ll start off easy. In the ways of manners and graciousness, the first thing we learn to do when someone does well is offer up a thank you or congrats. The same rules should apply to the workplace.

There, it is even more critical that the staff knows you recognize their work on a regular basis. Some people may say that these individuals are merely “doing their jobs”. But, what we’re not recognizing is the quality and effort of work these people put toward company goals and initiatives on a daily basis.

Frequently acknowledge great employee work with a verbal “thank you” or “great job”. Most times, simply hearing the words is enough to put an extra pep in the steps of your staff. Shoot them an email saying how well they handled their last meeting. Or maybe congratulate them on landing that big client.

Any way you go about it, the knowledge that hard work is always appreciated encourages a more positive employee experience.

Personal involvement from executives

One of the most significant complaints you hear from your staff is a lack of support from senior management. Naturally, at an executive level, it tends to be more challenging to interact with the ins and outs of an organization. But that’s more reason to try harder.

True appreciation can be shown in many ways. One of those ways happens to be in the form of leadership communication. Nothing says you’re someone important more than a handshake from the CEO of the company.

This presents an opportunity to overcome a challenge many large organizations face — developing a relationship between all levels of employee. Introduce them to management over coffee or in a team lunch. Or possibly have your CEO give them a shout out on the homepage of your intranet.

leadership communication

60% of employees feel their relationship with their employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work (Virgin Pulse). Positivity works both ways. Employees feel genuinely seen by the face of their organization, and upper management gets a good look at the individuals that keep things running. To bring these employees to the forefront as they deserve, senior management must play a more active role.

A greater involvement can encourage them to develop more advancement opportunities for staff. Maybe even be the catalyst needed to promote from within. It’s easier to help your stars shine when you know their faces.

Create a space where anyone can show appreciation

While we all want to be recognized by the people who run our organizations, we also crave the acceptance of our peers. The desire to be “well liked” or “cool” can be traced back all the way to our teenage years. Seeking acceptance never gets old, especially not in the workplace where status is defined more by role than efforts.

Create an opportunity for any employee — not just upper management — to appreciate others. It is important to nurture these relationships between colleagues. Not only is it crucial to the company culture but it is imperative to the happiness of each individual.

Develop a chat room or forum via the intranet where workers can feel comfortable discussing accomplishments while sharing comments and praise. Your intranet is the perfect place to combine professional and social tools in a way that is encouraging and admiring.

Interact rewards

Make it about more than accomplishments

We already mentioned that recognition can come in many forms. One of the most unexpected comes when you focus less on what employees have done for you, and more on what you can do for them.

More often than not, recognizing and addressing what your staff may need allows you to be one step ahead of recognition tactics. The first step can begin with your organization by putting in place steps that recognize and address employee needs and potential concerns.

Organizations can offer a diverse set of programs to help influence culture and improve employee culture. These all start with acknowledging what goes on within and around your staff; before they even begin to feel unappreciated.

Offer volunteering days for staff

Promoting employee wellbeing is a big one, whether it be a volunteer initiative, guidance based program or something as small as a company gym discount. Other types involve investing in their continued education or helping them develop their leadership talents.

Praise, recognition, and thoughtfulness are a combination that lowers stress and raises productivity and retention.

Get up close and personal

Your staff is no stranger to your organization, so don’t treat them like one. This tip urges you to really get to know the people that work for your company.

Showing a real interest in their lives will help solidify your place in theirs. While it may not be as bad as a close friend forgetting a birthday, organizations that ignore the essential life events create a palpable distance between them and their staff.

Life moments are defined as meaningful moments in an employee’s personal life, whether it be a birthday or childbirth.

Birthday cupcakes, anniversary flowers, and funded department celebrations are a great way to show your staff they matter. Even if it’s not your idea, showing support by offering supplies and budgeting creates a culture of care understanding and fun. Who would say no to that?

60% of organizations already choose to help celebrate employee life events. A little gift or acknowledgment can develop relationships, establish trust, and inspire a positive outlook for your organization in the future.

This Thanksgiving, celebrate the ones that give to your organization the most. Those who spend day after day bringing your goals to fruition. Show appreciation plenty and often and you won’t have to worry about employees looking elsewhere.