Maintaining a productive and engaged workforce requires more than simply providing employees with a regular paycheck. While their pay is certainly critical, as it ensures that workers are appropriately compensated for their efforts, money alone doesn’t always serve as the strongest motivator. That’s particularly true if you want employees to go above and beyond.
For companies, regularly showing employees appreciation is typically crucial if you want them to give their utmost every day. Here’s a closer look at why recognition is critical, as well as several ways you can show your employees appreciation.
Why Employee Appreciation in the Workplace Is Critical
It’s true that an employee’s paycheck does compensate them for their efforts. However, it’s not interpreted as a sign of appreciation. Instead, it’s considered the bare minimum an employer can do to acknowledge the contributions of their workers, and it won’t often serve as a source of motivation to do anything beyond what’s required.
By demonstrating your appreciation in other ways, you can motivate employees to go the extra mile. Plus, showcasing gratitude creates a positive work environment with a strong culture, as workers feel seen and valued. Employee appreciation also has the ability to boost retention, as workers are more inclined to stay at companies that regularly recognize them for their efforts. It can also help you position your company as an employer of choice, which can make recruitment easier.
How to Show Employees Appreciation
Provide Positive Feedback Consistently
Many managers only provide feedback when an issue needs correcting. Even if what they share is constructive, this strategy means that the majority of their contact with employees has a negative connotation. Ultimately, that’s not ideal, as it can cause employees to become anxious about conversations with their manager.
If you want to create a positive environment and show employees appreciation, make sure positive feedback is offered consistently. Managers should take a moment to thank employees who meet or exceed expectations, ideally being specific when they offer praise. Along with being an expression of gratitude, this can lead to beneficial workforce changes. It lets employees know what actions or behaviors are valued by the company. Along with encouraging the praised worker to continue acting in a similar manner, other employees may begin modeling the behavior, leading to a more productive workforce.
For this strategy to be even more effective, make sure the positive feedback is coming from several levels of management. While praise from a direct supervisor is a critical part of the equation, receiving positive feedback from upper-level managers, too, makes it more impactful. It shows employees that their efforts are valued across the organization, ensuring they feel seen.
Develop Pathways for Growth and Advancement
Companies typically want employees to go above and beyond when handling their duties. The issue is that workers are potentially disinclined to go the extra mile if they get nothing in return. In some cases, doing more than what’s expected without receiving a suitable reward can lead to frustration and resentment, and that can put employees on the path toward burnout.
Fortunately, this issue is easy to remedy. Promotions or pay raises are often viewed as signs of appreciation and recognition of the worker honing capabilities the company values. By developing pathways for growth and advancement, you’re showing employees that any extra effort can help them move forward in their careers.
When you create the pathways, use a win-win approach. For example, offering training that helps the company overcome skill gaps boosts the productivity of its workforce. By coupling those learning opportunities with chances to land a higher-level job, you’re also rewarding employees for providing additional value. In turn, workers feel suitably recognized for their efforts, and the company gets a more capable team.
It’s critical to note that making those pay raises and promotions accessible constitutes an essential part of this equation. Without those opportunities to advance or earn more, chances to grow don’t always benefit the employee if they remain with the company. As a result, some workers may decline to participate or might feel they have little choice but to seek out opportunities elsewhere to get fairly compensated for their new capabilities.
Set Up a Mentorship Program
Mentorship programs can be an excellent way to recognize employees and show the company’s appreciation for their efforts. In most cases, mentors are able to provide workers with critical insights that can help them keep their careers on track. Plus, they can become a source of guidance and support during stressful situations, offering tips based on their expertise that make challenges easier to navigate.
When developing a mentorship program, it’s best to select mid to higher-level employees with unique skills and who provide excellent value as mentors. By doing so, mentees effectively get a role model to follow, increasing the odds that they’ll develop into a similar kind of professional. Additionally, choose mentors who hold positions mentees would like to qualify for as they move forward in their careers. That makes the mentor’s experience more relevant in their eyes, increasing the value they get from the arrangement.
Right-Size Your Workforce
While right-sizing your workforce might not seem like a way to show your employees appreciation initially, it can serve that function. When a company is perpetually shorthanded, that places a significant burden on the shoulders of employees. They often have to take on more responsibilities and may be subject to mandatory overtime, both of which lead to greater stress.
When you right-size your workforce, you help ensure that workloads are manageable for your employees. In turn, the environment becomes more positive. Plus, eliminating mandatory overtime helps workers maintain a work-life balance, which is something they’ll appreciate.
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