Every Day is Employee Appreciation Day

Today is employee appreciation day, so what better time to share some insights on keeping your team motivated and happy. It can be hard on both employees and leaders in a fast-paced work environment where expectations are high. Here are 10 simple ways to show appreciation and keep employees motivated that I have learned as an employer over the last 20 years.

1. Supportive Leadership
Leadership is a key factor in employee motivation. Supportive leaders work closely with employees, keeping senior team members focused and developing new talent.
Great leaders influence how individuals see themselves, they can empower employees for greatness.

2. Celebrate Milestones

It is essential that employees feel appreciated from day one and throughout the year or they’ll feel detached and possibly resentful. It is important that you don’t just put the employee in a desk and let them fend for themselves on their first day. First days are significant and face time is needed with management. On work anniversaries and birthdays, employees should feel special and celebrated. Our practice has always been to get hand-signed cards from all team members, and the employees choice of lunch brought in for the entire team.

3. Positive Work Environment
Since many of us spend the majority of our waking hours at the office, it should be a comfortable place for employees while simultaneously encouraging productivity. Encourage employees to share information and knowledge and always lend a helping hand when needed. What goes around, comes around. You must have a team that feels like they are all in this together and should feel comfortable to share ideas or goals without fear of humiliation.

4. Teamwork = Dreamwork
From a young age, we are encouraged to be a part a of team – from the soccer field to the debate podium, nothing is better at keeping employees motivated than belonging a team. Through teamwork, employees learn to trust each other and to look beyond themselves. And healthy competition in a team setting, can increase creativity as well as productivity.

5. Recognize & reward
Recognition and reward on a regular basis remind employees that they are appreciated, and help them to balance short- and long-term goals. I am a firm believer in the carrot over the stick theory. It doesn’t take much for an employee to feel recognized and rewarded. Some possibilities could be: an employee of the month program, a monetary award, free lunch from their favorite restaurant, or gift card to their favorite coffee shop. A small token of appreciation can go a long way.

6. Listen to Feedback
A huge part of any executive or manager’s job is listening. Listening sparks some of the best ideas, helps identify workplace problems early and builds a more connected and collaborative workplace. This can be implemented easily enough when you set up an in-person weekly or monthly check in.

7. Personal Goals
A great workplace will want employees to thrive, not only for the company’s objectives but also so that individuals can accomplish their own goals. It’s important that team leaders are familiar with employees personal and professional goals. Helping employees grow personally and professionally will help keep your employees stay motivated. Also, have a policy of promoting from within, and make sure staff members know their a path to growth in your organization.

8. Work-life Balance
A culture that prioritizes work-life balance, yields increased productivity and overall happiness in the workplace. Encourage employees to not check email if possible outside of office hours and ensure that they take their holidays and days off. If you see an employee frequently working late, or they seem over-burdened make sure you have a chat with them about their workload. They could be finding something challenging, doing something that may be unnecessary to work goals or even picking up the slack for other team members.

9. Let Them Lead
Motivating employees is not just about fun perks and time off, it’s about showing them that they make a difference and are valued. Encourage employees to speak up, have a voice and take the lead on a project, or presentation. Taking ownership is very powerful, not only do they share their opinions and speak up, but they are motivated to turn their words and ideas into action. Another way to develop leaders is to recognize an employee’s skills by asking them to mentor others.

10. Open-door Policy
It’s amazing how simple changes can impact employees. Creating an open-door policy makes approaching leaders and managers less daunting, it also makes employees feel that their opinion matters. This boosts confidence, morale and productivity. It also helps with transparency among companies of all sizes.