Unconventional Thoughts | Mar 2022

Employee Appreciation Leads to Happier Workforce (duh) and 18x Higher Productivity

By: Amalie Zinsser | community director

Happy employees in an office

This Employee Appreciation Day, observed Friday, March 4th, will be the first since what’s been termed as “The Great Resignation,” referring to the roughly 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. Though we love to celebrate a day highlighted for employees, we also want to appreciate them throughout the year. Plus, we want to appreciate employees as human beings and not exclusively as part of a workforce.

While we can all agree that showing appreciation is the right thing to do, there are other measurable benefits, including a company’s bottom line. Research from O.C Tanner, an institute focused on corporate culture and employee experience, has found that the probability of great work increases by an incredible 18x when employees are recognized.

  • With all the obvious benefits, what’s the best way to make employee appreciation a regular practice? Recognition needs to be integrated into the company’s culture. Here are a few practices employers can implement:
    Establish policies for leaders to recognize team members every week or biweekly – via Slack, email, presentation or a forum natural to the company
  • Budget for bonuses
  • Send digital gift cards for coffee or their favorite shop
  • Set up an email account that encourages all employees to send messages recognizing their peers’ tremendous and small efforts that goes to all leadership
  • Offer extra time off. Most have endured a higher level of stress these last few years; all of us have changed the way we live, work and interact. Giving an extra day that doesn’t tap into their PTO showcases that you care about their mental health and want them to think of themselves first.
  • Find time to connect outside of work meetings. Do a virtual game with peers or, when possible, meet in person for an activity like an escape room. During working hours, set up a coworking Zoom call to banter while you work. It shows that you want to connect outside of simply deliverables.

The biggest takeaway: Understand what each employee wants, what they value and what makes them feel seen and heard. Every person is different and wants to be appreciated in different way. The only way we can make sure people feel seen is if we find the time to connect with them on a human level. Each one of us is more than just our work.