Making your employees feel valued should be an ongoing priority. A third of respondents in our recent survey said they notice plenty of roles being advertised in their sector. So don’t take the risk of workers growing their careers elsewhere. The nine staff appreciation ideas we’ve put together will help you ensure that people are more productive and happier at work.

What drives people to stay in their roles and strive for success? When it comes to money, a quarter of people looking to move roles believe they are unpaid, while 22% haven’t received a pay rise in the past 12 months. However, the financial rewards alone aren’t always enough. In fact, this is just one area that contributes to employee satisfaction. Many employers overlook other crucial elements that keep teams motivated.

In this article, we’ll explore a range of factors that will help you to retain employees and prevent your workforce becoming disillusioned. So if you’re wondering how to show appreciation to employees, consider following the recommendations below.

1. Acknowledge successes

Create an environment that encourages employees to celebrate each other's wins. You can lead the way by sharing news of your team’s recent successes in company communications. You could also organise regular awards, where employees can nominate their colleagues to receive praise or prizes.

Show that you appreciate your employees’ efforts, rather than taking them for granted, even for duties that are within their job description. This is far more effective than waiting for personal development meetings to recognise people’s work, or only praising significant achievements every once in a while. In a recent PageGroup survey, we found that 26% of people looking for a new role in the next six months don’t feel valued by their employer, so it clearly has a negative effect.

2. Treat people with respect

It’s important to treat people how you would wish to be treated. Talk to junior staff members the same way you would speak to a senior colleague. Offer them the guidance and mentorship that people expect of good leaders. Be considerate of people’s time and be willing to make accommodations, or provide extra support, when needed.

Using common courtesy helps people to feel like they matter. For example, saying please and thank you may seem like small gestures, but simple displays of politeness and gratitude can go a long way. Politely asking an employee to carry out a task will get a much better response than demanding it, or expecting things to be done without any discussion. Using pleasantries shows respect and helps people to feel consistently valued day to day.

3. Organise social events

Make time to bond with colleagues outside of workplace settings. This can be highly effective in building strong, trusting relationships. Even if you can’t manage to do this weekly; a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly meetup can leave a lasting impression and improve team morale. You could even plan an annual event that staff can look forward to all year round.

Whether it’s attending a pub quiz, playing team sports, going out to dinner or even just organising a team lunch, there are many ways you can nurture good working relationships and inspire collaboration. Ask your employees for their input on activities they’d like to do.

4. Introduce employee incentives

There are a range of ways you can incentivise staff, depending on what the company can offer. Bonus pay will always be popular, if that’s possible to roll out. With 38% of people in our recent survey stating that their salary leaves them with little or no disposable income, many are definitely feeling the impact of rising living costs. Additional compensation could also be given in other forms, such as extra days of annual leave or financing further training and development.

Find out what other tokens of staff appreciation would be best received. Would they be motivated by being provided with breakfast, Friday afternoon drinks or the occasional free lunch? Perhaps they would prefer other rewards, such as gift cards, discounts on health and wellness memberships, or the opportunity to undertake volunteering with causes they care about. In our survey, 39% of people said that they would like an early finish on Fridays, while 26% appreciated local discounts, 17% wanted free financial advice, and 18% wanted free therapy services.

5. Formulate clear progression plans

People will soon feel unappreciated when their hard work shows no signs of their career progressing. In fact, 30% of employees say having a clear path to progression is an important consideration for a new role. Providing a clear vision for people helps them to move towards future goals. You can help them to plan out what their next steps may look like, with tangible targets that will act as key performance indicators (KPIs).

Schedule regular personal development meetings with employees to review how they are progressing, set the next goals and give them feedback. If promises have been made for where their role could take them, keep in the loop with any opportunities to take on additional responsibilities or apply for new openings when they arise.

7. Give staff extra responsibility

Give employees a chance to prove their abilities by giving them more responsibility, perhaps letting them lead on projects or mentor junior staff members. You may be surprised by how much people’s confidence and performance soar when they feel that their managers trust them and see their potential.

Even if people don’t fully show their capabilities right away, allow them the time to get used to taking on more duties, becoming comfortable moving into different areas. Putting a lot of pressure on people, by giving them one chance to get it right, may be setting them up to fail.

8. Keep lines of communication open

Having an open-door policy will help your employees to confide in you with any issues they may have. Whether people are concerned about job safety, experiencing issues with colleagues or looking for advice on a personal issue that’s impacting their work, being available to talk can make a hugely positive impact.

Practise active listening and let your team members have their say without interruption. Ask them what they would like to receive from your interaction, so that you can provide the exact support they’re looking for. For more information on how to communicate more effectively, take a look through our guide to communication using the DiSC model

9. Help people manage workloads 

Our survey showed that 22% of people looking for a new role cited deteriorated working conditions as a reason. Don’t let your employees get to breaking point, or they may already be on their way to finding other employment before you find out there’s a problem.

Check in with teams regularly to understand how they’re managing their responsibilities. We found that 18% of people want to leave their job as they’re working too many hours, so overworking is a common issue. Work-life balance is important to people and it’s vital to all of our wellbeing. If your team members have too much on their plate, work on finding solutions together.

What’s next?

Incorporate staff appreciation initiatives into your retention strategy, as it’s always worth investing in employees who feel valued. Read more Michael Page articles on development and retention advice.

Download our talent retention eBook for more tips on how to show appreciation to employees, with real-world insights from 5,000 UK professionals.


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