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Showing your employees appreciation isn’t just a nice thing to do — it’s key to achieving your business goals. According to Officevibe, the no. 1 reason most Americans leave their job is that they don’t feel appreciated. And with today’s exceptionally low unemployment rate and growing talent gap, losing employees can be detrimental. It’s in your best interest to show your employees that they’re appreciated every day of the year.

Here’s why:

  • Eighty-six percent of managers say employee recognition programs increase employee happiness, Officevibe reports, and happy employees are 12 percent more productive

  • Organizations with effective recognition programs have 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than organizations that have ineffective programs…

  • ...and turnover is expensive. In fact, Forbes reports that “a new hire might cost $4,129 and as many as 42 days in lost or compromised productivity.”  

  • Ninety percent of employees say their recognition program positively impacts engagement, according to Officevibe, and, finally,

  • Sixty-six percent of HR managers say recognition programs help them build a stronger employment brand.

The good news is there are some simple, no- and low-cost ways to demonstrate employee appreciation. Here are five you can implement this year:

1. Call out high-performing employees at meetings and on your company’s social media accounts. 

When an employee goes above and beyond or accomplishes an ambitious goal, make their success known. This takes little time and no money, and goes a long way in making employees feel valuable. 

A Gallup survey revealed that the “most memorable recognition comes most often from:

Gallup

2. Offer your employees some flexibility in managing their schedule. 

Give employees extra time off if they’ve been working particularly long hours. In 2018, when Fairygodboss surveyed 400 men and women on their views on work and home life, we found that both men and women said the top three factors that would improve their work-life balance were: 

Fairygodboss

Burnout is real, but you can easily help alleviate it by trusting that your employees will be most productive if they can better manage work alongside their other commitments. 

3. Plan peer recognition exercises. 

While the aforementioned top-down recognition should be an important part of showing employee appreciation, encouraging employees to elevate each other is also good for your bottom line. According to Officevibe, peer-to-peer recognition is 35 percent more likely to have a positive financial impact than manager-only recognition. 

One easy way to blend these types of recognition? Have managers host team appreciation meetings. Peers can anonymously praise each other by emailing compliments to their manager prior to the gathering to avoid any awkwardness and encourage open praise. 

4. Implement activities and programs that show you’re invested in employees’ personal and professional development. 

Research has found that telling employees they are doing well at work isn’t enough to keep them motivated; performing well and experiencing personal growth is also incredibly important to employee engagement. 

In a recent Gallup poll, employees ranked the most memorable types of recognition. Obtaining a high level of achievement through evaluations, being given more responsibility and feeling personal satisfaction in achievements were three of the top rated types. 

Investing in activities and programs that help employees to become better professionals is a gift that keeps on giving. In addition to becoming better at what they do, employees are also feeling pride in their role and in themselves. 

5. Ask employees how they want to be appreciated in the future. 

Research by Glassdoor found that 40 percent of employees valued when employers showed their appreciation by involving them in decision making. Asking employees for their feedback on past appreciation activities and programs — and involving them in planning for the future — are easy and free ways to boost the effectiveness of your efforts. 

There are several ways to involve employees in your planning. Whether it’s distributing anonymous surveys, appointing a volunteer committee to plan for the holiday or having a roundtable to discuss employee appreciation programs, your team will appreciate your efforts. Just be sure that you actively respond to employee feedback, and broadcast your efforts.

Promoting a recognition-rich environment — where praise comes from every direction — is one of the surest ways to increase employee engagement. Gallup suggests reminding managers that there is no such thing as too much recognition, as long as it is earned. Employees should receive feedback every seven days from both superiors and subordinates, and strengths should be emphasized in all forms of evaluation. 

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