10 Ways to Make Employees Feel Appreciated
You will learn
- Where you can improve your work environment
- How to use non-financial incentives
- Ways to recognise achievement
Businesses, large and small, are increasingly asking how to make their employees feel appreciated. As a small business owner, you may not have the same resources as bigger organisations, but making your staff feel valued is not always about resources. In fact, it very rarely is. Rather, it is about good people management, but what does good people management look like?
1. Talk to Your Staff
Advising you to "talk to your staff" may appear to be a simple notion, but it can often be overlooked in the busy workplace environment. Research has shown that the key interaction at work is with the employee and their manager. If this key interaction is not there, or not positive, your staff will not feel valued. Make sure that regular 1 to 1’s are held, and feedback is given on what has gone on well, and what may not have. Further, let your employees know what is happening in the business. For example, if a new client is won, celebrate this fact with your employees. If one is lost, seek views as to why.
Talking to your staff is great, but ignoring any feedback they are telling you is not. Take an interest in what is happening to them and what they like and do not like. If they tell you something that they believe is important and it is ignored, it is highly likely that motivation and the feeling of being valued will be diminished.
3. Recognise Achievement
If someone does something good then recognise it. It does not have to be costly; a genuine and heartfelt thank you may be enough. For example, I know a regional retailer who uses a mystery shopper. In their company, anyone who achieves 100 at the mystery shopper assessment will receive a mug with "100" written on it. This mug is one of the most coveted items for staff, and anyone who receives one is, quite rightly, very proud to get one. A mug is not expensive, but the payback on the recognition of a job well done is worth a lot more. Find a way of recognising achievement that works for your business, get it right, and you will reap the benefits.
4. Wellbeing is Important
Placing importance on the health and wellbeing of your staff is key. This can be as simple as supporting people through a particular issue, to providing things like fruit bowls (not expensive), subsiding gym membership, or putting an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) in place to support staff.
Grab your free How's Business guide to Health and Wellbeing here.
5. Work Environment
Do not underestimate the impact of workplace environment on well-being and whether staff feel valued or not. Provide a space where people can meet, have lunch, have informal meetings, etc. It gets people out of their offices, talking and interacting, where otherwise they may not have. Providing a pleasant workplace can be more difficult in, for example, an Engineering workshop, but not impossible. In such places, empower people to take pride in their workplace: keep it tidy, put tools in the right place, take health and safety seriously, for example, follow the principles in 5S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise, Sustain).
6. Make Expectations Clear
There is nothing more de-motivating than having ambiguous objectives and drifting, without really knowing what is expected of you or what your contribution is to the business. People work best and feel valued if it is clear what they are supposed to do, so make it clear what their contribution is to the business. You can do this by having regular meetings to review objectives and progress, praising success and not chastising if mistakes are made (instead, use them for learning).
7. Trust People to do Their Job
After you have employed people to do a certain job, and set out your expectations and objectives, etc., let people get on with the job you are paying them for. Try to resist the temptation to micromanage. If it is your business, this can be difficult, but try. If you do not, people may quickly become disillusioned, and could leave. As we have previously discussed, review progress regularly. In these progress reviews, listen to suggestions, support, recognise and give headroom. If you do this, you will get the right response.
8. Make the Workplace Fun
Making the workplace fun can be a minefield. What is fun for the goose, is not always for the gander. So, ask them and respond: it could be things like Pizza day, Dress Down days, Dress Up days, charity fundraising, or nights out (avoid alcohol if possible).
9. Consider Non-Financial Benefits
We know money is not everything, so consider non-financial benefits like Childcare Vouchers, Ride to Work Scheme, Medical Cash Plans, Gym Membership, Travel Loans, duvet days, etc. They do not have to be expensive benefits, but can be really valued by staff.
10. Flexible Working
Respond positively where you can to requests to work flexibility. Can an employee's job, or part of it, be done from home? Other opportunities of flexibility such as job sharing, 9 day fortnights, term time working and flexible working hours are also available, and should be considered. Keep an open mind, and be creative. Respond to the needs of your staff as they juggle work life balance, and you will get the benefits. Though it can be difficult sometimes, take any requests seriously.