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How to create a culture of appreciation

In today’s evolving workplace landscape, expressing appreciation has never been more crucial. Discover the distinction between recognition and appreciation and learn how to cultivate a culture of appreciation that resonates with employees. Explore insights from leading experts and data from CardSnacks, offering practical tips for celebrating Employee Appreciation Day and maintaining motivation year-round.

While making fun of company pizza parties has become the meme du jour in Gen Z circles, the concept of motivating employees with food has become impractical anyway in today’s workplace where the majority of companies have maintained the Covid era workplace model of remote work and flexible schedules.

A recent HBR article highlights that employees need both recognition and appreciation in order to feel motivated in the workplace; noting that there is a big difference between the two often interchangeably used nouns. While recognition is used to praise a person’s achievements and is often linked to financial incentive, appreciation is the act of recognizing someone’s inherent value, which is fostered through the acts of connection and support. In honor of Employee Appreciation Day (March 1, 2024), data from the leading AI-powered ecard and gifting app, CardSnacks, provides insights for companies on the best practices for expressing appreciation and maintaining motivation long term:

1) Give the same denomination to all employees – Since this holiday is about appreciation rather than recognition, it is important to send a message of solidarity and equal appreciation for everyone’s contributions. It is preferable to avoid giving different denominations to individuals based on title, years of work or other factors. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to break the bank! While 23% of employers who send gift cards for Employee Appreciation Day send gift cards valued at $25 or greater, employees still reported feeling appreciated by the gesture with a smaller budget. In fact, the most popular denomination used for Employee Appreciation gift cards in 2023 was just $10 per person!

2) Make it personal – while it may take a bit of extra time, adding a personalized message and/or gift goes a long way towards making employees feel seen, heard and valued as an individual. It shows that you are genuinely listening to them and care about what they have to say.

3) Be Specific about their unique contributions – Telling someone what you value about them can have a dramatic effect on their self esteem and performance, especially when the messaging is coming from a senior team member or someone who regularly reviews their performance.

4) The Thought Counts (even if it’s last minute) – we live in an era where almost everything is just a click away so it is never too late to make an effort. In fact, last year, 71% of Employee Appreciation Day campaigns created on the CardSnack’s platform were created within 2 days of Employee Appreciation Day! The biggest misstep a company can make is doing nothing at all.

If individual personalization isn’t practical due to the size of the organization, CardSnacks for Business offers some personalization tips for groups that will ensure the intended sentiment still feels meaningful:

5) Add a video message – If the organization is too large to manage individual messages, they might consider other personalized touches like including a video of the CEO delivering a heartfelt message to everyone as a group.

6) Get all of senior management involved – Creating a multi-page card can allow for the inclusion of multiple messages from leadership. Large organizations can create a group greeting card where each senior manager may add their own personal message as a separate page within the card. This way key company values can be reinforced by multiple voices at the company.

7) Include their name – At the very least, it’s important to address the recipients by their name rather than simply providing a generic “To our valued employees”-type message. Services like CardSnacks for Business provide mail merge functions so that each card includes the employee’s name in the message, which goes a long way towards making them feel individually appreciated.

As a final thought, while holidays like Employee Appreciation Day provide us with a tangible and widely recognized day to celebrate one another, it must be noted that it takes more than a single day of appreciation to foster connection. Connecting with others on a personal level, offering support during difficult times, recognizing each other’s personal achievements, providing recognition when it is due, giving feedback and appreciating people for their unique gifts on a regular, ongoing basis is the best way to create a true culture of appreciation and foster motivation in the workplace.

Guide provided by CardSnacks

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