8 Ways to Make Employees Feel Valued At Work

Apr 8, 2024 | Retaining Employees

Josh Rust

Marketing Manager

No one wants to feel like “just another face” at work. 

However, many employees today share this feeling. According to Nectar HR, 83.6% of employees feel that recognition affects their motivation to succeed. 

When people don’t feel valued, their drive to work hard can start to fade. This can lead to less work getting done and less enjoyment of their jobs.

But why should this matter to you? 

When employees aren’t happy, they might start thinking about leaving for a new job.

It’s like a cycle that keeps going—without happy employees, your workplace can become a place no one enjoys being in.

Here’s the good news: this doesn’t have to be the case. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about some smart ways companies can show their employees they really matter. 

We’re not just going to talk about quick fixes but real steps to make the workplace a happier and more supportive place.

Understanding the Importance of Employee Recognition

Remember the last time someone genuinely said “great job!” to you? It feels good, right? 

Now, look at your employees’ perspective. They have the same feelings as you—they also feel good when they get recognized. 

That’s because being recognized at work touches our hearts and minds in a special way. It makes us feel like we’re an important part of the team. When we know our hard work is seen and valued, we’re more likely to feel happy and stick with our jobs.

Studies back this up, too. Research shows that when companies recognize their employees’ hard work, those employees are more likely to be happy at their jobs. 

For example, a survey found that companies with strong recognition programs had a 31% lower turnover rate.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Now, let’s talk about motivation. There are two main types: intrinsic and extrinsic. 

Intrinsic motivation comes from inside you. It’s about doing something because it feels rewarding or you really enjoy it. 

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from outside rewards, like money or praise.

When it comes to employee recognition, both types matter. 

A “thank you” or a small reward can boost extrinsic motivation. But for the long term, making employees feel genuinely valued helps with intrinsic motivation. 

It’s about more than just rewards; it’s about creating a work environment where everyone feels like their contribution matters. That’s the key to a happy and dedicated team.

But how can you implement that in your workplace?

Stay tuned—because that’s what we’ll talk about it the next section.

How to Make Employees Feel Appreciated: Innovative Recognition Strategies

Making your team feel valued doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. 

Let’s dive into some fresh and creative ways to show appreciation to your employees.

Say the Magic Word…”Hello”

Believe it or not, something as simple as saying hello can make a big difference. 

When you take the time to greet your employees, you create a connection. This small act can prevent your team members from feeling overlooked. 

So, next time you walk by, make sure to say hello and compliment them if you see something good about them or their work. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.

Balance Your Feedback

Everyone likes to know how they’re doing. 

But here’s the thing—it’s all about balance. Mix positive comments with tips for improvement. However, avoid hiding criticism between praises. It just confuses people. It also makes your criticism sound passive-aggressive.

When you’re commenting on work, it’s easy to just talk about what’s wrong. But also call out things that are good. Just a few positive comments can completely change someone’s motivation and how they feel about their work.

People like authentic recognition. So, be honest. Separate your positive feedback from the constructive. This way, your team knows exactly where they stand and how they can grow.

Provide them With Growth Opportunities

Speaking of growth, it’s crucial to talk about future opportunities. 

Let your team know how they can climb the ladder. It’s not just about the job they’re doing now but where they could go next. This shows you see their potential and value their development.

Give them Flexibility

Offering flexible work options tells your team you trust and respect them. 

Whether it’s flexible hours, unlimited PTO, or the chance to work from home, these options can make a huge difference in how valued your team feels.

Recognition Should Be a Routine

Why not make appreciation part of your daily routine? Write a thank-you note or start meetings with shout-outs for a job well done. The options are endless. 

From gift cards to personal visits—the key is to make it feel natural. Remember, it’s not about ticking a box but genuinely showing your gratitude.

Perks That Make a Difference

Great perks can also show appreciation. It shows that you value your employees’ needs and wants.

If you want to know more about perks that make a difference check out Abenity’s offer. We offer some fantastic options that can really make your team feel special. It’s worth a look!

Use Tech To Your Advantage

Technology offers new ways to appreciate your employees in real time. Social recognition platforms can spotlight achievements as they happen. 

Platforms like:

  • Bonusly: Bonusly is a fun and easy-to-use platform that allows employees to give each other small bonuses for a job well done. These points can be accumulated and exchanged for rewards. The platform integrates well with other tools like Slack, making it accessible within daily work flow.
  • Workstars: Workstars provides a scalable social recognition platform from small businesses to large enterprises. It emphasizes the power of social recognition in improving employee engagement and offers detailed analytics to track the impact of recognition initiatives.
  • Kudos: Kudos is an employee recognition and corporate social network that enables companies to boost employee engagement and team communication. It allows employees to give kudos to each other, which can then be redeemed for rewards.

This instant feedback can boost morale and keep your team motivated.

Learn from the Best

Lastly, learn from companies that are nailing employee recognition—especially from companies in your field. 

Many have found unique ways to celebrate their teams. Whether it’s through innovative reward systems or empowering company culture, there’s much to learn from their success.

In short, making your employees feel appreciated doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Often, it’s the little things that count. So, try out these strategies and watch your team’s motivation and satisfaction soar.

Mistakes Companies Make That Cause Employees to Feel Undervalued

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, companies can slip up in ways that make their employees feel less than appreciated. 

Let’s take a look at some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Communication

Employees can feel left out of the loop when there’s a communication gap. This can lead to uncertainty and a feeling of not being part of the team.

What to do instead: Make sure to keep all lines of communication open. Regular updates, meetings, and feedback sessions can help everyone feel included and informed.

2. Not Recognizing Achievements

It’s disheartening when hard work goes unnoticed. Failing to acknowledge employees’ successes can make them feel their efforts are in vain.

What to do instead: Celebrate the wins, big or small. Recognition programs or even a simple “thank you” can make a world of difference.

3. Overlooking Personal Growth

Employees want to grow, not just do their jobs and go home. Ignoring their career development can make them feel stuck and undervalued.

What to do instead: Offer training, workshops, and opportunities for advancement. Showing an interest in their career growth shows you value their potential.

4. Inflexible Work Policies

Rigid work schedules and policies can make employees feel like they’re just a number. This one-size-fits-all approach can be particularly demoralizing.

What to do instead: Where possible, offer flexible working options. Tailoring work conditions to individual needs shows empathy and respect.

5. Neglecting Employee Feedback

If you’re not listening, you’re telling your employees their opinions don’t matter. This can lead to a feeling of voicelessness and disconnection.

What to do instead: Encourage and act on feedback. Let your team know their thoughts can lead to real changes.

6. Focusing Solely on Negatives

Constant criticism without recognition of strengths can be crushing. It can create a toxic environment where employees feel they can’t do anything right.

What to do instead: Balance constructive criticism with positive reinforcement. Highlight what’s going well, not just what needs improvement.

By being aware of these common pitfalls and actively working to avoid them, companies can foster a culture where every employee feels truly valued and appreciated.

How to Build a Culture of Appreciation Where Employees Thrive

Creating a culture of appreciation within a company is about more than just the occasional “thank you.” 

It’s about making appreciation a fundamental part of the company’s daily operations. Here’s how you can make that happen.

Appreciation as a Core Value

First, it’s crucial to include appreciation in your company’s core values. This means making it clear that recognizing and valuing each other’s contributions is not just encouraged but expected.

So, as a leader, here are things you need to start:

  • Lead by Example: Leaders should be the first to show appreciation. Your actions set the tone for the entire organization.
  • Public Recognition: Recognize achievements in a public setting. This not only makes the employee feel good but also shows others that hard work is noticed.
  • Personal Touch: Tailor your appreciation to the individual. What makes one person feel valued might not work for another.

Integrating Appreciation into Daily Operations

Making appreciation part of the every day means integrating it into your company’s operations and interactions.

  • Start Meetings with Wins: Begin team meetings by highlighting recent successes, big or small.
  • Feedback Loops: Incorporate regular feedback sessions that focus on positive achievements as well as areas for improvement.
  • Appreciation Channels: Create channels on internal communication platforms dedicated to celebrating team and individual wins.

Building Connections Between Team Members

A culture of appreciation is all about fostering connections among all team members.

According to Khris Digital, 52% of U.S. employees rate teamwork as very important.

So, here are steps you can take to achieve that:

  • Peer Recognition Programs: Encourage employees to recognize each other. This can be through a formal program or informal shout-outs.
  • Team Building Activities: Organize activities that help build relationships and show appreciation for each other’s roles and contributions.
  • Open Forums: Provide spaces where employees can express gratitude and share stories of how their colleagues have supported them.

Continuous Improvement

Finally, building a culture of appreciation means always looking for ways to do it better.

  • Solicit Feedback: Ask your team what makes them feel appreciated and how the company can improve in showing gratitude.
  • Adapt and Evolve: Be open to changing your approaches based on feedback and the changing needs of your workforce.

By making appreciation a core part of your company culture, you create an environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and connected to their work and each other.

Measuring the Impact of Recognition Programs

To ensure your recognition programs are hitting the mark, measuring their impact is essential. 

Here’s how to track and refine your initiatives to keep them effective and meaningful.

Tracking Effectiveness

  • Employee Feedback Surveys: Regular surveys can provide direct insights into how valued your employees feel. Ask specific questions about the recognition they’ve received and how it has impacted their job satisfaction and engagement.
  • Retention Rates: High retention rates can be a strong indicator of a positive workplace culture and effective HR practices. Keep an eye on trends in turnover, especially after implementing new recognition strategies.
  • Engagement Scores: Use engagement surveys to measure the overall health of your workplace. High engagement scores often correlate with a strong culture of appreciation.

The Importance of Adaptability

Recognition programs shouldn’t be set in stone. They need to evolve based on feedback and changing workplace dynamics.

  • Use Feedback to Refine: Treat employee feedback as a goldmine of information. Use it to tweak and improve your recognition efforts continually.
  • Stay Flexible: Be ready to pivot your strategies based on what’s working and what’s not. This might mean introducing new types of recognition or retiring ones that aren’t resonating.

Setting Realistic Goals and Benchmarks

Setting achievable goals is crucial to drive the success of your recognition initiatives.

  • Start with Clear Objectives: Define what you want to achieve with your recognition program. This could be improving employee morale, reducing turnover, or boosting productivity.
  • Establish Benchmarks: Use your current engagement and retention rates as a baseline. This will help you measure the impact of your recognition efforts over time.
  • Review and Adjust Regularly: Set regular check-ins to review your program’s progress against your goals. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed to keep your program aligned with your objectives.

By carefully measuring the impact of your recognition programs and being willing to adapt based on feedback, you can ensure that your efforts to make employees feel valued are genuinely effective.

Boost Workplace Productivity With Simple Recognitions

Making sure employees feel appreciated is really important for any successful business. Small things like saying hello or big things like giving awards all help make a good workplace where people want to stay and do their best.

But if you want to go above and beyond to appreciate your employees, our perks program is a great tool to help with this. 

It gives lots of different benefits that can make employees feel special and valued.

And if you want to learn more about effective perks, be sure to check out our perks report. It’s a side-by-side comparison of the savings provided by our industry’s top discount providers.

Remember, the most important part of a recognition program is that it’s real and that it can change when needed. 

Keep asking your employees what they think, keep an eye on how things are going, and be ready to make changes. 

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