NJM Blog

5 Easy Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

5 Easy Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of more than 400 companies including Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines, has said, “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”

As a small business owner, you never want to lose your best employees. In 1995, Employee Appreciation Day was created to help strengthen the bond between employers and employees, and is celebrated on the first Friday of March. This year, it falls on March 1st.

Appreciation is important because it creates a better work environment, one that will not only help retain current employees, but also attract prospective ones. In one study, employees were asked to choose the most important aspect of a new job. The No. 1 answer was “appreciation for my work.”

As a small business owner, there are ways to show your employees how much you appreciate them and create a more positive work environment. It should be deserved recognition, highlighting an achievement or behavior. It can be done at a team or individual level. Here are just a few ways to achieve your desired result.

  1. Say It: Taking time to give an employee a pat on the back and say, “Great job!” is as effective as any small gift, especially if other employees see it.

  2. Write It: Email may have killed letter writing, but a short, sincere thank you note is more personal than something that appears in an inbox.

  3. Celebrate It: If an employee is going to leave, it’s usually within the first year on the job. Celebrate that first year work anniversary and other notable employee milestones (5, 10, 15, 20 years, etc.).

  4. Personalize It: Know your employees. Two movie passes or tickets to a local sporting event might please some employees, while an online shopping or coffee shop gift card would be preferable for others.

  5. Surprise, Surprise: Do something unexpected. Whether it’s allowing employees to leave work early before a holiday, bringing in pizza, or setting up an ice cream bar, it creates a fun atmosphere.

A CNBC story earlier this year indicated U.S. workers are quitting jobs at the fastest rate since 2000.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “quit rates” in 2019 were 2.4%. However, two reasons employees most frequently cite for leaving is better pay and career advancement opportunities.

There are a number of studies that measure the economic impact on employers dealing with employee turnover. According to Deloitte, the accounting and professional services company, some of the real costs are:

  • Cost of hiring a new employee (advertising, interviewing, training)

  • Lost productivity (time it takes the new hire to get up to full capability of departed employee)

  • Lost engagement (employee morale due to high turnover)

  • Customer service (higher probability of errors)

  • Training (can cost up to 10-20% of employee salary)

Employee appreciation is more than just gifts. It’s creating a culture of mutual respect and the ability to recognize employees who are making a difference for your company and thanking them.