Four ways to show appreciation for your staff
Not just on Employee Appreciation Day, but every day.
Why You Should Care
Today is Employee Appreciation Day.
WTW's Gaby Joyner shares how to better reward and recognize your workers.
Remember, it is important to take these actions not just today, but every day.
Employees are the beating heart of all companies, and their expertise and actions are what keeps the cogs of a company turning day to day.
While the focus is often on business objectives and revenue outcomes, without the dedication and efforts of employees, these frameworks would likely fall apart.
While a positive employee experience should be a key component of a company’s strategy all year round, Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March each year, as a way to celebrate and recognize employees’ achievements and contributions.
Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to thrive in their work environment.
The balance of having a good employee experience, the tools to succeed and the right benefits and rewards is key to employee happiness and productivity.
So, how can employers, and particularly HR teams, ensure their staff feel appreciated and engaged all year round?
1. Recognition is important, and not just financial recognition
Recognition is a core part of employee engagement, and not just financial recognition. It’s also essential to provide recognition and incentives to employees for taking on new challenges, putting themselves out there and trying something new.
Increasingly, organizations have recognition platforms in place, which can be really successful for facilitating peer-to-peer recognition.
These enable employers to share things like e-cards, vouchers, spot bonuses, peer-to-peer high fives, automated birthday or work anniversary messages. In addition, giving someone some extra time-off in recognition of extra effort or great work can be really meaningful.
But for me it can be very simple, just a thank you from a manager or leader or a brief call out in a meeting or team email can be just as effective.
And particularly powerful is when a peer acknowledges the great work that a team member has done.
2. Provide the opportunities and skills to succeed
Recognition through development or through the redistribution of talent and roles should be undertaken purposefully and with preparation, ensuring that staff are not thrown into the deep end without support, or with high demands they are not equipped to meet.
New or ‘stretch’ roles can be a great way of recognizing employees, but businesses should ensure that they focus on providing staff with the tools – and the time – to succeed in their new assignments and should offer the right support and encouragement when staff are learning new skills.
While it’s really important to support the progression of employees, (particularly those in stretch roles) with human interaction from managers, to enable employees to talk about any challenges and be provided with constructive and positive feedback, EX platforms can also help track things like efficiency and productivity as well as employee satisfaction and wellbeing.
All of these can have an impact on their ability to succeed in their work endeavors.
Additionally, having access to relevant soft-skill training like leadership or management skills, presentation skills, critical thinking and negotiation can further support employees to advance into a new role more comfortably as well as demonstrating the value that the organization places on them.
3. Listen to what employees want
Listening to employees’ needs is critical, more so than ever in the current climate and is a key to ensuring that employees feel respected and heard.
In fact, half of employees surveyed in WTW’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey said they would leave for a 5% pay increase elsewhere if the benefits package does not meet their needs.
As a result, understanding what employees want and need within their total reward package is pretty crucial to employees feeling appreciated and appropriately rewarded.
Incorporating a suite of agile, digital listening tools such as pulse surveys and virtual focus groups into the way you work as an organization is critical.
According to our latest Global Benefit Attitudes Survey:
- 37% of employees want their employers to prioritize benefits for low wage earners, compared with only 10% of employers that say it’s a priority.
- Two in five employees think that financial apps should be a core part of benefits.
- 42% of employees want savings and investment options where they can save directly from their pay.
4. Communicate ways you’re able to support employees
There is a clear link between financial wellbeing and mental wellbeing, and 81% of employers cited stress, burnout and mental health issues as their main concern for their workforce. Plus, a quarter of employees say they are struggling financially, with four in ten admitting they’re living payday to payday.
So, ensure employees fully understand the value of the benefits available to them, and are well versed in using existing, traditional benefits, like employee discount programmes, employee assistance programs, private medical, cycle to work and health cash plans as well as newer benefits such as saving and investment options assistance.
Deploying an engaging, intuitive, employee experience platform can guide and enable a seamless journey for employees to the support, rewards and benefits that they need, when they need them can.
It will not only increase employee satisfaction and appreciation for what a company offers, but can also save business costs through increased productivity by facilitating speed to information.
Having a stellar employee experience strategy is the best way an organization can make their staff feel appreciated, supported and equipped to succeed in their role.
While Employee Appreciation Day is a fantastic way to formally mark staff achievements, a consistent, year-round approach is key.
Ensuring that employee wellbeing is prioritized and maintained, giving staff the right tools to succeed, listening to what they need and acknowledging achievements are the cornerstones of maintaining a positive work environment every day of the year.
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Head of Employee Experience, Europe
Gaby leads WTW’s Employee Experience line of business across Europe.