In the early days of the working world, almost every organization promoted fierce, sometimes cutthroat competition. Capitalism works through competition, the thinking goes, so if we promote competition in the workplace, we'll get better work. This led countless organizations to foster a working environment that looked more like a battleground than a successful business.
That might make sense on paper, but there's one problem: employees in a fiercely competitive environment whose work is never praised or rewarded are far more likely to develop negative feelings about and in the workplace, and studies have shown that a positive, happy brain state actually improves productivity by 31%. Creating a working environment where employees feel appreciated, valued, and happy is in your best interest both as a human being and as a businessperson. To that end, here are a few simple ways to help make your employees feel appreciated in the workplace.
Verbally Reward Them Frequently & Genuinely
When it comes to helping an employee feel appreciated, few things are as effective and easy to implement as genuine verbal praise. Taking the time to thank and congratulate an employee on great work is incredibly easy, but if the praise is genuine, it can go a long way. This doesn't mean you need to lavish your employees with undue, hyperbolic statements – they'll see right through that. Instead, think critically about their work and pay them a genuine, specific compliment on what they did well. This will not only lift their spirits, but also help them take feedback productively: if they know you value their work when it's good, they won't feel the need to defend themselves from constructive criticism.
Include Enjoyable Challenges
Every job has boring, tedious chores and tasks. That's just a part of life. But for happy, engaged employees, it's important to add exciting, positive challenges to the mix as well. If your employees have been grinding away on a boring project for a while, follow it up with something you know they'll enjoy – or better yet, let them choose their next assignment. Even just giving them a few hours a day a brief period to work on something new like a proposal for a workplace improvement or a new strategic idea will help them feel appreciated, improve their productivity, and quite possibly produce some great work and new ideas.
Give Them the Power to Reward
When it comes to positive feedback, you don't have to do the work alone. An even better idea is to give employees the power to reward one another for great work. Try implementing a system that lets employees reward each other with small, simple things for a job well done. This will not only boost the morale of the recipient of the reward, but will also create a tighter, more cohesive team overall – and that's a recipe for stellar work.
Just Get Started
While these are all great ways to help employees feel appreciated, there's really no "right" way – and far more important than getting it "right" is just getting started. When you go into work tomorrow, hold the intention to genuinely and specifically praise some of your employees. At Heartland Dental, we make employee appreciation a priority – so I've seen the power of praise and rewards time and time again. Creating a happier workplace leads to better work, healthier employees, and faster, more productive growth for the business. And once you get started, it only tends to snowball from there!
How do you make employees feel appreciated at your organization? Have you tried these ideas, or do you have your own special methods that work time and again?