5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement with Gratitude and Recognition

5 Tips to Build a Culture of Appreciation

Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any upcoming holidays, November and December are busy for everybody. There are end-of-the-year reports, budget meetings, more budget meetings, employee evaluations, grant applications, and work piled on work piled on work.

Add more traffic, more congestion, jammed supermarkets and parking lots and malls, family visits, school plays, winter festivals, ugly sweater contests, non-stop Jingle Bells and the Secret Holiday Gift exchange somebody signed you up for, and the holidays can feel a lot more bah-humbug than Deck the Halls.

Gratitude, recognition, and appreciation are three key values that can keep your employees engaged and connected to their work and the organization’s mission during the holidays. This week may be a bad week for turkeys, but it can be a great week for your company to uplift employee spirits with meaningful acts of recognition and gratitude.

Here are 5 tips to build a culture of gratitude and recognition.

1. Pay your employees fairly for their work. This should go without saying. We’re saying it anyway.
Strategy: Offer good pay, healthcare and wellness benefits, vacation and holiday leave, transportation reimbursements, and more. Make compensation transparent across the organization and departments. Take the mystery out of what others make and how each employee can improve their salary. Gratitude begins with the basics by valuing your employees’ work and providing them with access to good healthcare and fair compensation.

2. Real-time recognition is powerful. When employees feel like their work matters (and it does), they are more connected to their jobs, develop a stronger sense of accountability, and improve performance.
Strategy: Say it when you see it and say it loudly. Be specific about what’s going right. Recognize behaviors that have positively impacted a process, a customer experience, even the day-to-day life of the team and organization. Connect the behavior to the organization’s mission, goals, and values.

3. Ask for feedback. Multi-directional communication is a tenet of employee engagement and a healthy organization culture. Employees appreciate that their opinions and points-of-view matter.
Strategy: Keep communication open about the employee engagement survey and resulting action plans. Check in with teams to see what needs to adjust to continue to build toward a healthier company culture. This can be more informally, with one-on-one meetings, group meetings, even in conversation around the office or more formally with pulse surveys. Try our online suggestion box to get meaningful feedback. Find ways to give your employees a voice.

4. Listen to your employees. You’ve asked, now listen. When employees feel heard, they feel valued. This, then, improves trust and problem solving in your organization.
Strategy: Put away your smart phone. Close your computer. Set aside face-to-face encounters. Practice active listening.

5. Say, “thank you.” Senior leaders and managers need to model gratitude.
Strategy: Take pause. It’s so easy to get caught up in the bustle of a busy day, we often fail to pause to appreciate the work people are doing to keep things running – everything from the cleaning crew to the tech team, the ones who have to deal with customer complaints to the employees who are always quick to make everyone smile. Pay attention. Much like real-time recognition, saying “Thank you,” and meaning it, are great habits. Take the time to write a note to someone about how their work, their words, their behaviors positively impacted you and how they made you feel and improved your workday.

Gratitude, appreciation, and recognition are values that improve organization culture, build community, improve employee performance, and increase engagement.

At CustomInsight we are grateful for the people who work to make this organization thrive and our thousands of clients that trust us to help them engage, develop, and succeed. We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

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