There are many ways to show your employees that you like the work they do, especially after a job well done.

We write a lot here at Happy Team Check about how it’s extremely important to show your employees that you like the work they do. But have you seriously considered taking a deep look at how you show appreciation towards your employees?

It doesn’t take much to show your employees how much you appreciate the work they do, but at the same time, showing genuine appreciation involves giving them various incentives. Like exercise, if you don’t shake things up a bit and add some variety to how you show appreciation, in time your employees will plateau and they won’t like it as much as they did back in the day.

Bear in mind though that your employees are people too, and just showing appreciation isn’t enough. Here are a couple of tips to really making employee appreciation more effective at your workplace:

  • Complement appreciation with care. A great employer doesn’t just appreciate his employees’ work. Rather, his appreciation also extends to caring for the well-being of his employees. Many employers often value their employees only for their immediate work output, and not for the long-term benefits they bring to their teams and, ultimately, their companies. That shouldn’t be the case. Appreciation for your employees is always better when paired with providing them not only what they need to get the job done, but a reassurance that you’re there to fight for them.
  • Ideate, deploy and pivot. Employee appreciation best works like a startup: you think of something, you try it out, and if it doesn’t work, you pivot and try again. Showing appreciation isn’t a definite science — it takes a lot of work to actually get it right, and employees respond differently to different incentives. Don’t be afraid to try new ways of showing appreciation, even if it fails.

Let’s look at a couple of ideas.

There are companies out there who show what we call “employee love”, an undying compassion for one’s work and one’s worth as an employee. A great company that cares for its people and complements appreciation with care is GE, one of the biggest companies in the world. As a top company, GE only attracts top talent, and provides ample amounts of incentive for its employees to stay with them. But did you know that the company’s famed former CEO, Jack Welch, wrote personal letters to each and every one of his top employees? If employees knew just how close they were to their CEO, wouldn’t they be proud of working for him?

Another approach could be the opposite: the bottom meeting the top. Look at DHL Express, for example. There, every employee has a stake in the very way the company is run, and there is a strong incentive for employees to be as driven and as determined as any entrepreneur, making you more invested in its success. The fact that top management supports this idea and actively fosters it shows that success need not only come from the top, but can just as well come from you when given the right environment to grow.

At the same time, let’s look at how much the wheel that is employee appreciation can be reinvented. One major factor that needs to be looked at is as a company grows and becomes more established, certain employee incentive practices become more entrenched. As such, it becomes more difficult to offer specific kinds of incentives for good work because people are more likely to not accept the new changes. That said, change is a good thing, and it would be wise to bring in change gradually. Instead of radically reinventing incentives or ways of showing appreciation, why not phase in new ideas while using tried-and-tested ones as well? Good data is important to keep track of this, and like engagement as a whole, this should be tied against specific metrics (like happiness and morale).

Employee appreciation is a tough call, in that many employers often don’t know what they should do to effectively show their employees that they’ve done a great job. Giving an incentive doesn’t always work. A question that often isn’t asked in employee satisfaction or employee engagement surveys is how employees want to be appreciated by their employers. Asking that question in your next survey might help make things clearer.

At the same time, don’t be afraid with experimenting. Employee appreciation isn’t a definite science, and it takes time for organizations to find the right ways to show it. But whatever you do, so long as you’re doing it in recognition of a job well done, your employees will be grateful.