Any Day of the Year Can Be Employee Appreciation Day
This Friday, March 6th, is Employee Appreciation Day. And while the team at Appreciation at Work certainly applauds the thought, we want to encourage our readers to consider that authentic appreciation is something that can and should be practiced every day of the year, not just on a single, designated holiday.
At the core of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is the knowledge that team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated: regularly, through the language and actions important to the recipient, in a way that is personal and individualized, and in a manner that is perceived as genuine and authentic. ‘Appreciating’ all your employees in the same way on one day very probably will be seen as inauthentic and could have a negative impact on staff morale.
Following are some practical steps to help you integrate and communicate appreciation and encouragement into your workplace culture this Friday and every other day of the year.
Start your staff meetings with reports of examples of appreciation & encouragement being given. Reinforce the importance of appreciation by starting meetings with team members sharing examples of receiving appreciation or observing someone else encouraging a colleague. If you wait until the end of the meeting, you’re at risk of running out of time. At the beginning, share an example yourself or ask a colleague to be prepared to share a story. Then, when you consistently ask for examples, people will realize this isn’t just a passing fad.
Remind team members that “Speed & Specifics” make communicating appreciation work well. Giving quick and timely feedback on actions you’ve observed will create the most impact. Additionally, be sure and provide specifics about the behavior and why that behavior is important – to you, to your team or organization, or to your customer/clientele. Often, employees don’t fully understand how their behavior influences others and impacts the organization.
In long distance work relationships, be “Proactive, Personal & Prioritize.” When team members don’t work in the same physical location, you don’t have those spontaneous interactions that occur in the break room, hallway, parking lot or elevator. As a result, you have to be proactive and plan casual interactions – to call and “check in” with your colleagues. Also, be personal. Don’t always talk about work. Occasionally, set up a time just to chat and see what is going on their life, or with their family. What did they do this past weekend? How are their kids doing? What activities are their kids involved in? The work relationship can be sterile and utilitarian if you only talk about work issues. Finally, many times you have to prioritize if you have a lot of team members who work at a distance. Call, email, text or video conference with those individuals who may be discouraged.
Team leaders are often encouraged to communicate appreciation to colleagues during designated “holidays” like Employee Appreciation Day. But they need to keep in mind that expressing thanks can be received poorly.
Clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that miss the mark. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions can actually wind up being offensive. A large group email with a generic message of thanks is meaningless to people and may actually create resentment.
So make sure that you are being authentic when you show appreciation to your employees. Be genuine, make it personal, and do it regularly, not just on March 6th.Tags: Employee Appreciation Day
Categories 5 Languages of Appreciation, Appreciation, Authenticity, Managing By Appreciation, Remote Employees, Workplace Culture