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Employee appreciation: 5 ideas for giving thanks and retaining talent
  • 24 November 2015
  • Eric Michaels

Employee appreciation: 5 ideas for giving thanks and retaining talent

Have you showed your employees how much they are valued? When you consider the issues brought about by under-appreciated employees, like high employee turnover, it’s easy to see why regular expressions of thanks would be wise. Remembering Employee Appreciation Day, held each March, is a good start, but it takes more than a yearly salute or a box of donuts to show your gratefulness. Here are five ideas for showing your employees you value their contribution and appreciate them:

1. Have a sit-down.
A passing thank you in the course of a day's work can be meaningful, but setting aside time for an extended conversation lingers in an employee's memory. Schedule time to meet with each team member so you can explain in detail the value they bring to the business. In a busy office where conversations like these are difficult to hold, a private session like this can do wonders for morale. More than anything, employees want respect and one-on-one communication allows you to express these sentiments.

2. Offer flexible scheduling.
Employees tend to resent rules they consider pointless or arbitrary, and for many, rigid schedules prove inconvenient. Unless set hours are an absolute necessity, as with an investment firm, consider offering your team the option to work an alternate schedule. This allowance may give them the flexibility to take family members to school or doctor appointments, and proves to them that their lives outside of work are important to you. If it doesn’t make sense to permit flexible hours all the time, make it a gift for the holidays. Employees will appreciate the gesture and wind up more likely stay with your company.

3. Compensation.
Because finding great employees can be difficult, professional achievement needs to be rewarded with monetary compensation. Employee appreciation will skyrocket when team members believe their contributions are reflected in their bank accounts, so ensure your top talent is appropriately paid. This may not be easy, so if cash reserves are low, consider alternatives like equity in the company, expense accounts, or use of a company car.

4. Weekly get-togethers.
Weekly staff outings where you pick up the check are nice reminders that you value your team's hard work. To get the most out of these excursions, tailor them to your employees' interests. A team of foodies might enjoy lunch at newly opened restaurants, while an outdoorsy crew may enjoy a hike on an abbreviated Friday workday. In other cases, a traditional happy hour may suffice. Wherever you choose to take your staff, make sure you plan these outings regularly and demonstrate that you took the time to properly plan.

5. Continuing education.
Ambitious employees are looking for opportunities to grow professionally. To show you care about their growth, offer to subsidize or fully sponsor their continued education in relevant fields. Having your employee improve their knowledge and skillset while keeping them on your team benefits both of you, and workers who know you’re contributing to their development are more likely to stay with your company for the long haul. Additionally, there’s a direct correlation between higher-ranking positions and higher levels of education, so consider the appropriate promotion for employees that have made a commitment to improvement.

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