APU Business Original

Employee Appreciation Day and Recognizing Your Workers

Today is Employee Appreciation Day according to Halo, and it traditionally falls on the first Friday in March each year. Employee appreciation is crucial because it raises employee morale and increases workplace productivity.

How to Show Employee Appreciation

Recognizing the hard work of your staff can be done individually or as a group. There are different ways that employers can show employee appreciation, including:

  • Taking staff to a sporting event
  • Offering a special catered lunch
  • Holding an office party
  • Sponsoring a “bring your child to work” day

Ideally, employee appreciation and recognition should occur throughout the year. For instance, company leaders could have employee recognition programs on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Also, employers could provide service awards, bonuses, and small gifts such as gift cards to employees who exceed company standards and set an example for other workers. To be effective, these employee recognition programs should be publicly seen throughout the workplace, and there should be a process in place to ensure that all hard-working employees are recognized over time.

Related link: Leaders Must Provide Employee Recognition and Appreciation

Improving Employee Productivity

There are additional strategies that employers can use to improve productivity in the workplace during the year. One strategy is to praise employees in public and provide constructive criticism privately.

When employees receive awards or incentives for hard work, this recognition should be observed by everyone to inspire other workers to model that same behavior. However, counseling or discipline should be done without the presence of other employees.

A second strategy to motivate employees to perform at their best is to create employee buy-in. This buy-in occurs when subordinates are part of the decision-making process.

When subordinates are involved in decision making, that makes them feel important and they often have ideas that can strengthen business operations. From my experience in leadership during team meetings, I commonly ask the most junior person in the room how we can improve our operations or meet a work-related goal.

This tactic empowers junior employees and strengthens the team. Enabling employees to have a voice in decisions such as work schedules, workplace goals and problem solving can often reduce employee attrition.

A third strategy in increasing productivity is creating autonomy in the workplace. For instance, subordinates can be given the freedom to make their own decisions in how to accomplish tasks and how those tasks should be done.

Providing autonomy in the workplace is the opposite of micromanagement, which destroys employee morale. When subordinates have autonomy in the workplace, they enjoy their jobs more. They have control over the pace of completing tasks, more control over those tasks and more power over their work lives.

In addition, employers should offer career and leadership development opportunities. The military is particularly talented at creating development opportunities. They provide junior enlisted members with responsibilities that require them to form teams and manage the team to complete a given task.

Showing Servant Leadership

Adopting a servant leadership mentality and being willing to partner with subordinates to get necessary tasks done inspires others. As servant leaders, supervisors may be sometimes required to do tasks below their pay grade. When a subordinate struggles to complete a task, a servant leader can step in and tactfully show the employee how to finish the task properly.

Related link: The Legacy of Colin Powell: 13 Important Leadership Rules

Employee Appreciation Day Is a Time to Reflect on How to Improve Employee Performance

Supervisors definitely have a crucial role in providing a workplace where employees want to come to work. Events like Employee Appreciation Day are an ideal time for organizational leaders to reflect on the strategies they can use to create a workplace environment with productive, satisfied employees.

Jarrod Sadulski

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski is an associate professor in the School of Security and Global Studies and has over two decades in the field of criminal justice. His expertise includes training on countering human trafficking, maritime security, effective stress management in policing and narcotics trafficking trends in Latin America. Jarrod frequently conducts in-country research and consultant work in Central and South America on human trafficking and current trends in narcotics trafficking. He also has a background in business development. Jarrod can be reached through his website at www.Sadulski.com for more information.

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