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How to keep employees engaged with a little appreciation

Understanding the importance of appreciation is pivotal for companies striving to create a culture that truly values their employees. Research consistently shows that appreciation leads to higher levels of engagement, ultimately driving productivity and success – for all.

Keep Employees Engaged with a Little Appreciation

In today’s competitive workforce, where attracting and retaining top talent is essential, employers must acknowledge the profound impact of genuine appreciation when fostering employee engagement and organizational success. It’s not merely about recognizing performance-based achievements; it’s about acknowledging the value each employee brings to the table – to the work and the workplace.

However, appreciation isn’t confined to top-down gestures; it thrives on employees receiving and participating in acts of appreciation, fostering a culture of mutual acknowledgment, support and appreciation. It is up to human resource leaders to embed appreciation as a pervasive ethos within their company culture.

Appreciation Leads to Engagement

As employers, understanding the importance of employee appreciation – and how it differs from employee recognition – will allow your company to stand apart from others. Employers who focus their efforts on recognition will praise their employees for their performance-based accomplishments. However, effective appreciation knows no limitations or conditions and acknowledges the value an employee brings to a company. By limiting themselves to performance-based praises in the workplace, employers miss out on opportunities to connect with, support and celebrate their employees – in other words, to truly appreciate their employees.

It comes as no surprise that employee appreciation and employee engagement go hand in hand. As evidenced by research*, employees receiving optimal appreciation are inclined to excel in their company and become top performers. While it’s evident that appreciation fosters productivity, the key question remains: what forms of appreciation do employees truly value and seek? What will resonate most with your employees and effectively drive their engagement?

Robust Incentives for Meaningful Appreciation

There are countless ways for employers to show their employees appreciation. However, in a 2023 InComm InCentives report, monetary-based incentive programs ranked as the most meaningful among surveyed employees. Some organizations may balk at the logistical hurdles of arranging monetary rewards, but there are options available to make the arrangement efficient and cost-effective. One example is partnering with a gift card supplier to place bulk orders for prepaid card brands that employees appreciate. Dispersing monetary rewards via gift cards enables employees to have their choice of how to spend rewards, which can serve as a strong foundation for an engaged workplace.

Here are additional notable findings from the report:

  • When ranking ways to be acknowledged in the workplace, employees ranked bonuses, physical gift cards and digital gift cards above written notes and certificates.
  • Only 14% of employees reported receiving monetary items (bonuses, gifts, gift cards, etc.) as forms of employee appreciation; 17% reported receiving no acknowledgement from their employer.
  • When employees were asked about incentives that aided in creating company culture, their answers included: rewarding employees (cash, gift cards, bonuses), investments in employees (education, training, promotions from within) and wellness campaigns (team workouts, free gym memberships).

Giving and Receiving

Appreciation isn’t a one-way street. It goes beyond an employer’s appreciation of their employees. InComm InCentives research found that employees appreciate not only receiving acts of appreciation, but also participating in it by appreciating their managers and peers. An incentive program that enables employees to send meaningful appreciation to peers can help teams feel more involved and engaged in the workplace.

As human resource leaders, how can appreciation become a key part of a company culture? How can employers and employees maintain acts of recognition year-round?

Incorporating them into a company culture is crucial for fostering a positive work environment, boosting morale and cultivating loyalty among team members – a key component of many retention strategies. By recognizing and acknowledging the valuable contributions of employees, companies not only enhance employee satisfaction but also promote higher levels of motivation and commitment, leading to increased productivity and overall success – for the company and its people.

Implementing Appreciation

Understanding the importance of appreciation is pivotal for companies striving to create a culture that truly values their employees. Research consistently shows that appreciation leads to higher levels of engagement, ultimately driving productivity and success – for all. As employers, it is essential to identify and implement meaningful forms of appreciation that resonate with your employees, whether through monetary incentives, employee investments, wellness campaigns or other gestures of gratitude.

By incorporating employee appreciation into the fabric of company culture, it lays the foundation for sustained growth and success. Implementing this appreciation approach doesn’t have to be difficult. Working with incentives partners can allow you to tailor a program that meets the needs of your business and your employees – resulting in improved culture and happier employees.

*from Gallup and Workhuman

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