Here’s a question for you: when it comes to expressing appreciation to the folks who spend somewhere between, say, 50% to 75% of their waking hours helping you build your business (i.e., your employees), what kind of employer, manager, or supervisor are you?
As you undoubtedly know, there is no shortage in the number of articles you can read to learn about the costs associated with unhappy employees. But, let’s be honest, you don’t need to have a bunch of statistics shoved down your throat to realize that, when it comes to understanding that your employees are the backbone of your business, you either get it or you don’t. There is no middle ground, either; your employees know exactly which side of the fence you’re on, and they spend the majority of their on-the-clock time performing accordingly.
You see, we humans are actually pretty simple creatures when it comes to work. In a nutshell, we want to:
- be compensated fairly for the time we spend away from our families, friends, and the other aspects of our lives that give us pleasure outside of work.
- feel like our efforts are truly valued and that we are contributing to something that matters.
- have a little fun along the way.
It’s not rocket science, people. If you employ anyone, a significant part of your job should – no, must – revolve around making sure those in your employ understand how much you appreciate what they do for you. And, although you should be taking action on that front all year long, there is no better time to do so than on special days or during the holidays.
It’s Valentine’s Day? Why not surprise your employees with some unexpected (workplace-appropriate, of course) affection in the form of a small token of your appreciation? For example, give folks the option to knock off a few hours early to go get ready for a special evening with a loved one. Who wouldn’t dig something like that? Nobody, that’s who.
Say it’s the end of the year holiday season. Perhaps a little extra appreciation is in order to celebrate a successful year, so you decide to really splurge on the holiday party. Or, maybe you go a different route by telling your employees how much you plan to spend on the party, and you let them decide what to do with the money. Still want to have a party? Great! Want awesome new office chairs instead? Done! Want to make charitable contributions to deserving organizations? Fantastic!
Simple things like time off, free food, public recognition, and cold hard cash can obviously go a long way when it comes to showing your employees how much you value their efforts. One more approach you should certainly consider, though, is adding a personalized touch.
Think about it; most employers refer to their employees as members of their families. Well, if you truly view them that way, then you must know at least a bit about what makes them tick on a personal level, right? For example, you know that Mary in Finance is an avid golfer because you vividly remember the time she beat the pants off of you at a company outing. So, why not show Mary how much you appreciate her being a part of your family by giving her a super rad golf umbrella that has been custom printed with the picture they snapped of you openly weeping into your beer after that outing? Okay, that might be a bit much, but you get the point. You will also get Mary’s attention with such a personalized show of your appreciation, and she’ll thank you for it by continuing to do amazing work.