March 4 is National Employee Appreciation Day, a day to pause and consider the value and importance of appreciating the people who work with and for us. Marking a day to appreciate employees is a nice sentiment, yet a new soon-to-released survey from Globoforce finds that appreciation and recognition in the workplace isn't happening nearly enough. A staggering 40 percent of employees surveyed say they weren't recognized at all over the past year. Business leaders stand to benefit enormously from appreciating their employees not on one calendar day, but consistently throughout the year. By creating a constant flow of recognition, employers can effectively produce a sense of well-being, trust, optimism, and confidence among employees that will propel company culture forward.
Here are four reasons why employee appreciation matters year-round.
Appreciation makes employees feel human.
It should come as no surprise that employees want to be treated like human beings when they're at work. Feeling recognized and appreciated is a basic human need. People naturally want to be respected by their managers and colleagues, they want to feel valued and proud of their work, and they want to know that they're making a significant contribution to their company. According to the upcoming Globoforce report, of surveyed employees that were recognized in the last month, 84 percent say their company leaders were actively creating a human workplace. Conversely, of employees who had never been recognized, only 40 percent say their leaders cared about a human workplace.
Recognition Tip: Be specific. Don't just say "thanks for all you do." Explain why you're appreciative. This allows for employees to revisit their triumph and makes it clear what types of value-driven behavior fuel recognition.
Appreciation stimulates greater trust toward company leaders.
Having trust in bosses and senior leaders is a critical element of an employee's work experience. This can be a difficult relationship to create, however, particularly in the modern company landscape where an increasing number of employees work remotely, or in global offices, making face-to-face interaction with managers hard to come by. The best way for managers to build trust among their workforce is to show employees they care about their contributions and needs. According to the survey, 86 percent of employees who were recognized in the last month say they trust their boss. This diminished by almost half when employees had never been recognized, as only 48 percent say they trust their boss.
Recognition Tip: Crowdsource it. Tap into the wisdom of a workforce to get a more complete and accurate picture of an employee's performance and influence in a company.
Appreciation increases employee happiness and satisfaction.
Employee happiness has become an important and growing business concern over the past few years, as more and more companies recognize the benefits of having not just satisfied and engaged employees--but also employees who are happy and in good moods. Findings from the new survey show a direct correlation between appreciation and happiness. 86 percent of employees say they feel happier and prouder at work as a result of being recognized, while 85 percent say recognition made them feel more satisfied with their jobs. Additionally, 70 percent of employees say recognition made them feel happier at home. While employee happiness can often be overshadowed by a focus on bottom line gains, senior leaders who put a greater emphasis on happiness as a key company metric will see a direct correlation to profitability.
Recognition Tip: Be Timely. Offer your thanks as close as possible to the event that inspired your appreciation. If you are a supervisor, for example, don't wait to appreciate the great job an employee did months before.
Appreciation improves company culture.
More than ever, culture is a competitive differentiator, and a key part of attracting, engaging and ultimately retaining employees. This ideal culture puts people first and is predicated on all of the metrics listed above: humanity, happiness and trust. Without these characteristics, companies will find themselves at a disadvantage, as culture reminds employees of their worth as individuals and makes them feel more committed to a company. By creating a culture of consistent recognition and appreciation among managers and peers, you'll in turn create a culture that's impossible for employees to leave.
Recognition Tip: Share it. Shared recognition moments provide all employees with a model of performance that they will want to emulate. By making recognition visible throughout an organization, team members can give recognition in a way that amplifies its effect and extends the moment.
Eric Mosley is the CEO of Globoforce, a social recognition firm and the company that created the WorkHuman conference taking place in Orlando, Florida May 9-11, 2016.