Over the last several decades, the business world has undergone a great deal of change and evolution, but employee appreciation has lagged behind. Technology has enabled companies to do business anywhere, anytime, turning once-local businesses into national or even global entities. But as technology and the economy have developed and grown by leaps and bounds, business leaders have begun to realize they haven't invested the same amount of time and effort into what is truly their greatest asset: their employees.
So how important is recognizing this key part of your business? According to the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index, 27% of U.S. workers are loyal to their job because they are appreciated at their job, and 26% say recognition is one of their top three motivators at work. Take a look at your team, or your whole business—now imagine one in every four of those workers are gone.
It would have a huge impact on your business.
While recognition and appreciation should be year-round efforts, the end of the year is a nice time to thank your employees for being the driving force behind another year for your business.
It can be simple. Sometimes, saying thank you goes a long way. Giving your employees personalized cards or certificates can be a simple, low-key way to say thanks. Sending a holiday card thanking your employees is great, but consider working with a supplier to design and create cards, plaques or desk awards specifically used throughout the year for recognition. Putting a unique look and feel behind your recognition program gives it its own brand and gives employees something to anticipate.
It can be swag. Every year, Apple makes headlines for gifting employees with branded swag and including a nice, thoughtful letter. The variety of items that can carry your company logo has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and you can appreciate your employees with everything from tote bags to tool kits.
It can be a celebration. Your employees spend a majority of their waking hours together—taking some time to play is the perfect way to show your appreciation. Tailgating parties in the fall or holiday parties later in the year provide an opportunity for your staff to unwind and celebrate a job well done, but they need to be done right—this isn't just about bringing in a cake and setting it down on the table in the break room. This is your one opportunity to decorate for the occasion and to wrap in your other recognition efforts, like logoed items and employee awards. Make it worthwhile and something for your employees to look forward to year after year.
Ideally, employee engagement and recognition should be a year-round effort, but a little extra "oomph" at the end of the year can be a good reminder to your team how much you value them. It never hurts to start planning your next appreciation efforts early, whether you're thinking of a holiday party or a spring fling. Take plenty of time and work with suppliers who can help you brainstorm and execute fun, creative and successful ideas to say thanks to the most important asset in your company.