Learning & Development, Recruiting

How to Show Next-Level Appreciation for Your Employees

Industries around the globe are experiencing a labor shortage, and with the rise of remote working, retaining talented employees has become more difficult than ever.

As someone working in HR, knowing that your peers are looking for other work opportunities can be a little stressful. However, you can turn the tide of the “Great Resignation” in your workplace by investing in employee appreciation.

But what if you already engage in traditional employee appreciation? What else can you do to show employees they’re appreciated for who they are and what they bring to your company? Here are a few strategies to consider.

Upskilling

Employees today are less interested in office pool tables and popcorn machines and more concerned about working for employers that can add value to their career. This means you have to rethink your budget and consider spending more on things like college scholarships or professional development opportunities.

Investing in professional development is also a great way to retain your top talent. Your best employees are seldom satisfied by completing the same tasks over and over and are usually driven individuals who look for opportunities to grow. You can match this desire by investing in an upskilling program.

According to the Harvard Business Review, you can start to build an upskilling program by sitting down with your top employees and putting them in the driver’s seat. Let them tell you about their goals and ideas for the future, then see how you can best serve them. This might involve a financial investment in education or perhaps an agreed-upon flexible work schedule that allows them to take college classes.

Work-Life Balance

Flexible working is a hot trend in HR right now. Remote working has allowed many firms to create greater flexibility in their workday, and employees are finally able to schedule work around their lives. This is deeply rewarding for employees, as they are able to find a healthier work/life balance.

Flexible working also improves employee health. Many workers today develop chronic conditions like hip misalignments, eyestrains, and reduced muscle mass due to an overbearing work schedule that prevents them from engaging in things like yoga classes or running. As an HR professional, poor employee health should set off alarm bells, as unhealthy employees who see the link between their work and their poor health are likely to seek other opportunities.

Creating a flexible work environment can be daunting at first, and you need to plan flexible hours thoroughly before you set your employees free. Some employees might be able to choose their own hours entirely, but others, like IT or management, may need to be tethered to a particular range of working hours. Whatever you decide upon, just be sure to communicate your decisions clearly so folks feel appreciated and affirmed in their roles.

Be Proactive with Affirmation

Affirmations sound easy. But just complimenting an employee without any real substance behind your affirmation will quickly lose its luster. Instead, try to be thoughtful about the praise you give, and speak to meaningful examples of when an employee has excelled.

You can also bolster your appreciation by providing surprise rewards and bonuses to employees who are performing well (or perhaps need a little more recognition to reignite their interest in work). These rewards don’t necessarily have to be monetary—the best gifts often have a personal touch, like tickets to their favorite band or sports team.

You should also listen to the language used in your workplace. Do the leaders around you readily offer praise? Do they affirm employees and listen to them when they’re struggling? If not, consider scheduling some leadership training to help leaders in your workplace improve the quality and quantity of their affirmations to employees.   

Better Perks

Employees may be over office ice cream machines, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon your workplace perks altogether. If anything, you should make a deeper commitment to the benefits your workplace provides.

You can improve your benefits program by checking in with employees and asking them directly about the perks they’d like to see put in place, but be clear that you may not be able to implement all their suggestions. This shows employees that their thoughts are valued and can actually help you discover the hottest trends in recruitment right now.

Office perks might not be as popular as they used to be, but you should strive to improve the basics like complimentary coffee. Plenty of workplaces offer things like complimentary coffee, but could you go a step further and provide an entire coffee station to make the office coffee taste good? Coffee is an antioxidant, and drinking the bitter brown liquid carries a range of health benefits, like reduced risk of heart diseases, as well as increased focus and energy throughout the workday.

Additionally, just because many offices have switched to a hybrid or remote model doesn’t mean you can’t still show your appreciation. Traditional office wellness hacks like booking the team for yoga together or offering a stipend for stand-up desks can keep your employees happy and let them know they’re more than just a cog in the machine.

Conclusion

A healthy workplace is filled with confident employees who feel appreciated. You can show next-level appreciation to your employees by improving the standard perks like coffee machines and by investing in leadership training that teaches managers how to give meaningful and productive affirmations.

Katie Brenneman is a Guest Contributor at the HR Daily Advisor.