Your employees provide indispensable services to your organization. Without them, you wouldn’t have company at all! Your employees deserve to be celebrated for their contributions.
Celebrating your employees can take so many forms, from simply saying “thank you” once in a while to celebrating work anniversaries, offering more paid time off (PTO), encouraging work-life balance, and more. Taking the time to make your employees feel appreciated boosts engagement, increases productivity, and lowers turnover. Here’s what you need to do.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Employees work to live, they don’t live to work. And while it’s true that employees need to take the reins to some extent when it comes to their own work-life balance, there is a lot of employers can do to make employees feel supported in achieving that delicate balance between their work and home lives. For example, you can:
- Allow employees to flex their schedules when they need to go to the doctor, pick up kids from school, or get their furnace fixed;
- Encourage employees to take their mandated meal and coffee breaks every day;
- Give employees more PTO;
- Provide better supports for working parents; and
- Regularly review workloads to make sure they’re manageable.
One of the most important things you can do to encourage your employees to prioritize work-life balance is to set a good example. Leadership should be leaving the office on time, taking lunch and coffee breaks every day, and refraining from contacting employees about work matters outside of working hours.
Nor should you be expecting your employees to finish projects on unreasonably tight schedules – especially if it’s not an urgent project.
Celebrate Work Anniversaries and Other Life Milestones
You may not be aware of how long all your employees have been at your company, but they sure are. Employees really appreciate when bosses provide employee anniversary recognition programs – they want to be recognized for their years of service, and in an environment where many people are job-hopping every few years, it’s even more important to recognize those employees who choose to stay with your company long-term.
It’s also important to celebrate employee life milestones. Birthdays, graduations, births, marriages, and deaths should all be, if not actually celebrated, recognized, and acknowledged.
An employee who has lost a loved one will feel supported and cared for if you, for example, make a company donation in the deceased person’s name. Make sure employees have the necessary time off to attend to life changes and celebrate their own milestones with their family and friends.
Nurture Your Relationships with Employees
When you get to know your employees better, you can start to understand not just their strengths but also their weaknesses – and that knowledge can be invaluable when it comes to supporting employee professional development. Knowing your employees’ triggers can help you support them when they inevitably face setbacks and failures in the professional sphere.
And, of course, the better you and your employees know each other, the better you can communicate and the more smoothly you’ll work together. Spend about one-fifth of your time getting to know your employees. Ask about their families, hobbies, and vacations. Take employees out to lunch or dinner once in a while for non-shop talk.
Getting to know your employees fosters respect that flows both ways.
Recognize Employee Achievements
Employees want their successes to be seen and appreciated. Go out of your way to recognize employee contributions. When an employee contributes something truly unique or does well on a project, let them know you’ve seen their efforts. Go out of your way to show that appreciation and gratitude to your employees.
It can be as simple as acknowledging the achievement verbally and expressing your gratitude.
Employees feel more motivated to work harder and be more productive when there’s a tangible reward on the line – and few things can make an employee feel more appreciated than some extra cash. Offer employees incentives for good performance, such as:
- Performance and project bonuses;
- Profit-sharing and gain-sharing plans;
- Spot awards;
- Small group incentives; and
- Retention bonuses.
Put together an annual incentive plan that rewards employees in cash for achieving their yearly performance goals. Identify the expected results at the beginning of the one-year period. Make sure the results are measurable and concrete. These rewards should be separate from any discretionary bonuses you decide to give.
Celebrating your staff is essential if you want them to stay engaged, happy, and productive in their positions. Whether it’s expressing your gratitude for their contributions, taking the time to get to know them better, or rewarding them with cash bonuses, celebrating your employees encourages your entire workforce to make the company thrive.