Lift employee self-esteem, motivation, retention
In the workplace, appreciation is a relatively inexpensive and self-sustaining performance and positivity boost. Research reveals that when employees feel appreciated, competent, and connected, they are better able to innovate, iterate, and curate.
Who — and what — you celebrate tells your employees a lot about the kind of culture you have and the kind of culture you want. When frequent and genuine appreciation is modeled every day from the top down, you will create a culture that people want to be a part of and contribute to in every way.
Showing appreciation is a habit. It is important to note that not showing appreciation is a habit, too. The ability to show true appreciation is a lot like developing a muscle. The more you practice and exercise, the stronger you will become.
Here are some employee appreciation ideas:
- Share handwritten notes of appreciation.
- Surprise employees with company swag.
- Give employees an afternoon off to spend with family or to pursue a hobby.
- Offer to donate to an organization in recognition of the good an employee did.
- Virtual happy hours.
- Trivia games.
- Virtual game nights.
- 15-minute tutorials on any subject – such as cooking, IT shortcuts, etc. — offered by employees across the company. (You can also consider sending $25 gift cards to anyone who hosts a tutorial.)
- Order pizza to be delivered to employees’ homes one day at lunch.
- For organizations with frontline workers and volunteers, place “A hero lives here” sign on their lawns.
- Call furloughed employees once a week to check on their well-being and make sure they get the help they need with things such as filing for unemployment.
- Send daily notes with employee assistance program resources, such as mental health phone numbers.
- Assemble and send a daily playlist of uplifting music that the entire organization can share.
- Have the CEO read a favorite story and record it for the employees to share with their children.
Lisa Burke is a workplace improvement expert at Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.