Employees who feel appreciated feel valued. And when people feel valued, they're more likely to go above and beyond for the organisation. They're quicker to hold themselves accountable for their part of a project. Most importantly, they're happier in their roles, which means they're less likely to leave.
When leaders neglect to find opportunities to connect with their team and show employees their appreciation, they lose a secret weapon in building a dedicated team.
Here are nine great ways to show your employees some appreciation:
1. The little things make a big difference.
Appreciation doesn't require big extravagant gestures. Send a handwritten note of appreciation, write a quick email, make a call of encouragement. Even the smallest gestures can make a big impression.
2. Create new opportunities.
One of the best ways to value them is to give them as many opportunities as you possibly can. Let them take on big challenges like a highly visible project or a new leadership role or recommend them for a workshop or conference.
3. Make it personal and specific.
Be specific about your expressions of appreciation and recognition. Don't just say "good job"; give a bit of detail about what really impressed you. Here’s an example, "Thanks for having the courage to speak up in the meeting. It made a big difference in breaking the ice when everyone else was too nervous to bring it up."
4. Show you trust them.
When you can show your employees that you trust them, it sends a very important message. What you’re doing is telling them their work is good enough that they don't need you looking over their shoulder.
5. Make internal improvements.
Make sure your team has the tools they need to do their job - up-to-date technology, good lighting and HVAC, and comfortable, ergonomic fixtures. Consider taking suggestions and adding extras like a break room or lounge if possible.
6. Make time to connect.
Leaders have a lot of responsibilities, and it's easy to get caught up in your own work, without paying much attention to your team. But one of the best ways to show your employees you appreciate them is making the time to connect with them. Find out how they're doing--including their lives outside work.
7. Make mentorship part of the culture.
In almost any organisation, there will be newer employees who could benefit from being paired with an old hand. Whether you establish a formal mentorship program or a more casual buddy system, there's no better way to transmit helpful information and give newbies a support system right from the get-go.
8. Give them ownership.
A sure-fire way to motivate people to bring their best is to hand them the keys to a project close to their expertise and interest. If possible, let the project be based on the employee's own ideas. Not only will the employee be empowered to grow and succeed, but other employees will be inspired by seeing their colleague's creativity rewarded.
9. Be honest and transparent.
Honesty should be a given, but sometimes it’s not always that easy. Many people believe you shouldn't talk about the bad news, but those conversations--difficult as they may be--prove you care enough to deliver even hard truths. Truthful and transparent feedback will gain you respect and garner the best possible results.
The bottom line: Once you your employees know how much you value them, there's nothing they won't work to accomplish for you and the team.