Appreciating Employees: Sweat the Small Stuff

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about rewarding hard word, how to incentivize sales, and even how to plan an awards banquet – but we always seem to focus on large-scale gestures of appreciation of your staff. Well, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t always have to be an engraved plaque or a crystal award (even though we honestly think virtually every achievement warrants some sort of personalized trophy. “Just emptied the dishwasher without being asked? Nice! I’d like to award you with this Cosmo Marble Globe!”).

All joking aside, seemingly effortless gestures between the custom crystal glass awards and appreciation banquets can make all the difference in employee motivation. It all starts with making an effort and being a positive, respectful manager.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.



Personal notes and in-person gratitude

For employees, a vital part of being recognized is that your boss actually took time out of his day to appreciate effort. A quick email reply: thank-you for seemingly meaningless tasks can go a long way. If the task is difficult or time-consuming, an email thank-you can often feel like a slap in the face. Make an effort to thank the person face-to-face or even write a sticky note and attach it to their desk. This shows that you care, at least a little, about their exertion of energy.

Be flexible with time

As trust builds and employees grow, a common benefit is increasing the ‘flex time leash’. This refers to allowing employees time during the regular work week to come in late, work from home, or take a longer lunch with the agreement that they’ll make up the time (or have already worked the extra time) needed to break even. While this isn’t a perfect solution for every work environment, giving a leash to trusted employees usually benefits both the productivity and employee happiness at a company.

Let’s get out of here

“Surprise, we’re going to happy hour down at the corner today.” No words have ever sounded better coming from a manager’s mouth at 4:15 on a Thursday afternoon. Taking a bowling trip or cutting out early may not work with your office –but if you can swing a surprise outing on your staff you won’t regret it.

Reward those sparks

Somebody volunteer a smart idea? Maybe somebody took the initiative on an account? Call them out. Thank them in public, treat them to lunch, or provide other incentives to keep an active dialog between your brilliant staff and the upper management.

We’d love to hear your ideas on providing quick ‘pick-me-ups’ to your staff — or any tactics managers have used in the past that simply didn’t work.

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