March 2nd is Employee Appreciation Day in the U.S.- but if you aren’t using every day to show your employees how much you value their contributions, you likely don’t have a strong and loyal workforce. Appreciation should be at the foundation of your workplace culture to ensure your staff is as productive and gratified as possible.Want an early start on #EmployeeAppreciationDay? Here's how to add a little #gratitude to your office: Click To Tweet
Recognition of effort inspires employees to perform better. One study found that workers who heard expressions of gratitude accomplished 50% more tasks than those who were given no appreciation. Psychologists believe the emotions triggered by expressions of gratitude facilitate community-building, which helps employees feel more comfortable and competent at work.
All it takes to establish a culture of gratitude in your workplace is a few mindful habits. The following tips should help you and your employees hear and feel more appreciation every day.
1. Be Free and Clear
Transparency is perhaps the most important feature of a workplace culture, especially a positive one based on appreciation. Gossip and rumors do not make people feel welcome and valued. Instead, they spread fear and doubt, which decreases productivity. You should want your team to feel close and secure with one another, which requires you to be open and honest with them regarding the business’s plans. If you are appropriately transparent with your workers, they will trust everything you say – especially your praise.
2. Know Your People
Few people accept positions believing they’ll work that job forever. You should know the short- and long-term goals of your employees soon after they start working with you, so you can put them in positions that are productive for their aspirations and the business. The more you can promote from within, the tighter and happier your workforce can become.
3. Feel the Room
Maybe it’s related to the weather; maybe it has something to do with the current news cycle; sometimes, your staff just isn’t being productive. If you notice the chatter fall to uncomfortable silence or the electricity fade into a dull buzz, your first instinct shouldn’t be to crack the whip or push the next assignment down your workforce’s throats.
Instead, you should show some compassion for your workers who might need a small change in the routine to feel invigorated and engaged. You can offer to buy lunch, take the group on an outdoor walk, or even institute a half-day. The goal is to learn to read the room and offer solutions to your team’s flagging morale.
4. Give More and Give Better
Gift-giving is one of the five love languages, and though you should not love your employees in a romantic sense, you should be willing to give gifts to show you care about their well-being. However, it isn’t enough to offer everyone the same coffee-shop gift card. Birthday and holiday employee gifts should be personal, purchased with individual workers in mind. At the very least, you should make recipients feel special with handwritten notes of appreciation.
5. If You Like Something, Say Something
Unless you tell someone that you appreciate something they did, they won’t know how you feel. Therefore, whenever you see someone doing something you like – assuming, in the workplace, that something you like is professional – you must tell them.
This is a simple concept, but pre-existing notions about authority and image often prevent people from complimenting one another. However, nothing goes without saying, especially at work. Your appreciation doesn’t have to be constant, but it should be authentic, spurred by an event or behavior that is worth reinforcement. Then, hopefully, your staff will begin sharing compliments too, building a constructive, positive workplace.Employee appreciation Rule #5: If you like something, say something. Read more tips now! Click To Tweet
6. Make Time
You should make it a primary goal to get to know those who work for you. Every week, you should carve time from your schedule to sit down with one employee – perhaps over lunch or coffee – and discuss non-work-related topics. Though it might feel natural to steer the conversation back toward their responsibilities and career goals, you should avoid talking shop as much as possible.
These talks will give your workers a necessary break, but they also form a basis for your workplace culture. By having informal conversations with your team members, you show that you see them as humans first and labor second. Then, they’ll see their workplace as a community first and a job second – and they’ll stick close when crisis strikes.
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