Making Your Employees Feel Appreciated Is Good for Business
David Neagle

Some companies believe bringing in morning donuts, having a catered lunch or celebrating birthdays will make their employees feel appreciated. Yes, these are nice gestures to say “thank you” for your team’s hard work, but it can feel a little bit forced.

Instead, you should work toward establishing a culture of gratitude all day, every day, which science says can boost productivity, employee satisfaction and — down the line — employee retention.

Indeed, a recent Gallup poll showed 85 percent of global employees are not engaged at work, with 18 percent even actively disengaged.  This “norm” costs the global economy approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity per year.

As someone who has mentored thousands of leaders and entrepreneurs, I continually stress the importance of expressing gratitude to employees every single day. It increases morale, output and creates a strong culture, one in which employees want to be engaged with the company’s mission.

So, how can you make employees feel appreciated every day?

Here are a few suggestions:

Be Grateful for Mistakes

We are all human, and humans make mistakes. When an employee messes up, don’t use a fear-based approach in which threats of firing are your go-to strategy. Rather, acknowledge that the initiative didn’t go as planned, and then turn the conversation over to what the employee can do next time to ensure the same issue doesn’t occur. Questions like, “What did we learn from this experience?” and “If we could do the project again, what would we do differently?” provide an opportunity for an employee to reflect and evaluate his mistakes, rather than just being being yelled at for his shortcomings.

Create Win-Win Opportunities

The data shows that happy employees are 20 percent more productive, and happy sales people increase sales by 37 percent. This all impacts your bottom line, while also promoting a healthy culture — a win-win for everyone.

One way to do this is having your employees be part of conversations as their opinions and feedback provide valuable insight into a company’s objectives, including those that may not be known to founders or C-suite executives.

By using collaboration as a tool and creating scenarios that make everyone a winner, you create a more cohesive work environment.

Cultivate A Culture of Gratitude, Not Just A Day Of Gratitude

It’s important to implement “shared celebrations” year-round and include everyone in the company’s wins.

Some simple things you can do include:

Have a team mentality: As the founder, replace the word “I” with “we” when talking about accomplishments. When something amazing happens, remember, it took everyone to achieve it.

Focus on the small things: Incorporate “thank you” into daily conversations. You don’t need a huge event to express your gratitude.

Be specific: While thanking everyone for their hard work is a step in the right direction, your appreciation is more impactful when you highlight a particular moment or call out a specific person’s contributions.

Share the impact: Go beyond just saying thank you. Explain why their work helped the company achieve its goal. Make sure you answer how it specifically helped move the needle.

Define Clear Metrics of Success

To be able to express gratitude in a meaningful way, it is important to define what success means to you and your company. By laying out the business’s objectives, missions and strategies, employees know what their expectations are and what is needed to meet those goals. This provide an opportunity for your employees to succeed, and for you to show your appreciation for their contributions.

Keep in mind, success will be defined differently for each employee based on their job description. You should begin with stating the shared goal of the business and then implement actionable metrics that can be tracked against the main objective.

Make sure employees know the milestones, and when they meet their benchmarks, you recognize the success company-wide.