Why You May Be Getting Employee Appreciation All Wrong

employee appreciation

How you tell people “thank you for your hard work” matters. Read on to see if you need to rethink your approach to employee appreciation.

Remember back to elementary school, when it was a big deal to get a great grade on a paper followed by that coveted smiley face from your teacher? People don’t outgrow their desire to receive praise from those around them, particularly those familiar with their work.

Are you giving employees and coworkers that smiley face kind of joy or a big letdown? In this latest Heard in the Lunchroom, we offer tips from previous Take Note posts to get you on the right track.

Yes, we’re talking about you!

You may be thinking, “Hey, I rock at showing employee appreciation! No worries here.” Well, think again, because there’s a chance your employees don’t believe that’s true.

Maybe handing out compliments all the time isn't the way to go.

Check out The Surprising Truth About Employee Recognition to learn why.



Avoid these mistakes

A colleague just came through for you in a big way and you want to say thank you for your hard work. Don’t make these gratitude goofs:

Not getting facts straight. Nothing’s more embarrassing than addressing a card to the wrong person or thanking them for something they didn’t even do.
Offering token gestures. The form of recognition should fit the degree of achievement. Giving someone a stapler for his or her five-year anniversary, for example, sends the message the milestone is insignificant.

For additional tips, read The Right – and Wrong – Ways to Give Thanks at Work.

Shake it up

Don't be afraid to get creative when it comes to saying thanks! Here are two simple ways managers can make an impact with employee appreciation:

1. Award them. Nominate staff for external or internal accolades, such as “employee of the month.” Company awards may come with enviable prizes like a reserved parking space.
2. Encourage professional development. Reimburse employees for participation in industry associations and conferences. Give them subscriptions to work-related publications.

For three more useful tips, check out Easy Employee Recognition Ideas That Don’t Involve Flowers or Balloons.

And to see how some companies get it wrong – very wrong – don’t miss our funny Recognition Gone Wrong video series!