Four things that should be at the heart of your employee appreciation
With Employee Appreciation Day falling on 1st March, reward and recognition is going to be ramped up for businesses everywhere. Now, here at Perkbox, we believe appreciation should be done all year round — but there’s no harm in using this day to show your people that little bit of extra love!
But when we talk about rewarding and recognising, it’s important to think about how you’re doing this. What worked a few years ago isn’t necessarily the case now — and this is backed up by various bits of research we’ve just looked at.
For example, last year we surveyed over 17,000 employees across the globe, and 87% said it was important they could choose their own rewards, as opposed to their employer choosing for them.
This is one of the major developments in employee wants and needs — the value of choice. In our general lives, we can pick, choose and customise in all sorts of ways — whether it’s the way we set up our smartphones, the way we receive our shopping, or the toppings on our burgers!
When it comes to rewarding, it’s time to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone has their own idea of what’s meaningful to them. So having a single reward for good work — such as a shopping voucher or a bottle of champagne — just won’t cut it. What if the recipient doesn’t shop at that store? What if they don’t drink? Even if you have another reward in mind, what are the chances of it being meaningful to every employee?
But by letting employees pick their reward, you can guarantee that they’ll like what they receive! Plus, it gives them a feeling of empowerment, which is great for morale (and therefore retention!).
At the end of the day, businesses spend time and energy trying to attract diverse individuals. Why would you then assume that these individuals all want to be rewarded in the same way? Choice makes people feel appreciated — not only for what they do, but for who they are.
Enabling the moments that matter
There’s also a common perception that rewarding your employee means giving them something monetary. And yes, we all love a bit of extra cash. But that’s not the only option available, and relying purely on financial rewards won’t drive the loyalty you’re looking for. After all, chances are that reward will get swallowed up by bills — it won’t create a memory that they can link to you.
Now, you might think that during tough economic times, rewarding has to be financial. But when we separately surveyed over 2,000 employees, we found that being unable to enjoy the moments that matter is having an impact on people’s mental health. Things which we might class as “nice-to-haves” such as going to the pub or cinema are being reduced, and these are more valuable than you might think, with over a third of people saying they missed these.
Meanwhile, over a quarter (28%) said their mental health had worsened as a result of cutting back on experiences, with a similar number (24%) taking fewer moments for themselves outside of the working day.
This is where you can step in, as an employer that cares about them beyond the paycheck. By rewarding people with social or leisure activities, you can help them enjoy moments that matter — and link it directly to you.
Rewarding is only one side of showing your appreciation. The other side is the recognition itself.
Now, it’s easy to think that the only thing which should be recognised is good performance. But in our experience, the best results actually come by recognising people who live up to your values, or do things that are aligned with you who are as a company.
This has a dual benefit — not only does it make the people being recognised feel good, but it shows others exactly what behaviours you expect from them. This makes it more likely that they’ll replicate it going forward.
Whatever your recognition tactics are — Employee of the Month awards, end of week shoutouts, annual awards — link these with your values. By doing it consistently, you’ll hammer home the message with each act of appreciation.
This is a super important part of any successful culture. Recognition shouldn’t just come from senior leaders. Yes, we all want to know that our efforts are appreciated by people at the top. But by encouraging employees to recognise each other consistently, you create relationships between them that can only help. It improves morale, increases collaboration and puts more smiles on more faces!
It also creates a better visibility of everybody’s work. It can be hard to know what other departments are doing if you don’t work with them closely. But by seeing someone being recognised company-wide for completing a project, or going the extra mile, you find out that little bit more.
Peer-to-peer recognition has become even more important at a time when workforces are so dispersed. The days of everybody being in the same office or location are fast disappearing. Nowadays, people are working from different locations and time zones. It’s a lot harder to build connections from the other side of a screen — but when people are able to appreciate each other, those connections can blossom more naturally.
The key takeaway
As a business, Employee Appreciation Day is about more than what you do on the day. It’s a great time to look at your overall reward and recognition, so you can accelerate your appreciation efforts throughout the year.