An organization’s people are its most valuable assets.
And in today’s job competitive market, companies finding and retaining top talent need to go beyond “benefits” like ping-pong tables and yoga classes. These tangible perks look great, but on their own they won’t foster employee loyalty and motivate productivity.
A key to a corporate culture that inspires and motivates employees is ongoing appreciation—showing gratitude each and every day. Providing emotional benefits (e.g., feeling appreciated and valued) is one of the most important things a company can do for its employees—in addition to providing functional benefits (e.g., free lunches).
But identifying what employees truly value and what makes them feel appreciated can be challenging. It requires a thoughtful approach to understanding human behavior and acknowledging our intrinsic desire to be recognized, celebrated, and appreciated every day.
At CMB, we found that our employees feel more appreciated by intangible, personal gestures like:
- Receiving an email of appreciation from a client
- Finding a “thank you” post-it from a colleague stuck to the desk
- Getting a handwritten thank you note in your company mailbox
- Seeing an email of acknowledgement to a manager about an employee’s unique contribution
These small acts of kindness and appreciation can speak louder than a free lunch or Summer Fridays. They are thoughtful, meaningful, and make employees truly feel valued for the work they do.
Springing for a midafternoon ice cream party is a lot easier than encouraging busy colleagues to take the time to write personal notes. But, I challenge leadership teams to foster workplace environments that practice ongoing appreciation. As Stephen R. Covey once said, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
Heather Magaw is VP, Client Services at CMB. She challenges each reader to write 5 emails or notes of appreciation on Friday, March 2, Employee Appreciation Day.