Tomorrow is Employee Appreciation Day in the U.S., and many companies will be taking the opportunity to thank their hard-working staff. If your organization is not one of them, maybe this is the year to re-consider your strategy. Research and statistics abound on the strong link between employee recognition and better business performance. There’s a great infographic which sums up the stats, including Gallup’s finding that higher employee engagement leads to 50% higher productivity, and the SHRM/Globoforce survey, which found when companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.
However, maybe you’ve see these numbers and haven’t been moved to give a big thank you to your employees. Let me propose another good reason to participate: resilience. Employee recognition leads to engagement, which leads to stronger corporate culture, which leads to your workforce’s ability to handle bumps in the road and continue with forward progress. Resilience, or lack of it, has a lot to do with your company’s response to negative situations. It could be losing a major client or a RFP, or a market downturn. I won’t dwell on the negative, but hopefully you see my point that a strong culture built and reinforced by genuine appreciation for employees can better position everyone for the risks of business.
How We Do “Fun” at Montage
One of the best reasons to be part of the team here at Montage is just that – we’re all part of the team that's building market leadership in the video interviewing space. We do a lot of little things to show everyone that while work is hard and serious, we’re in this together and we might as well have some fun too. These are some of my favorite ways we show our appreciation:
- At our kick-off meeting every January, we recognize people who went above and beyond during the year to win business, service clients and support each other.
- We celebrate “Pie Day” on March 14th (3.14) with lots of baked goodness around the office.
- Bouquets of daffodils brighten everyone’s desks on the first day of spring - much needed and anticipated after a long Wisconsin winter.
- Before the holidays, we took the afternoon to work together for a good cause, creating a mountain of hand-tied fleece blankets for a local assisted living facility.
You can’t underestimate the power of people feeling good about what they’ve accomplished together!
It’s Not Too Late to Start
Like any kind of resilience, organizational resilience takes time to build up. It diminishes too, if it’s not cultivated in an ongoing way. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Get into a frequent habit of thanking employees for the work they do, and encourage everyone to do the same.
- Consider formal employee recognition awards given by managers and also peer-to-peer.
- Treat your department or business line to a breakfast or lunch catered in. Or, organize potlucks where everybody can share their favorite foods and a meal together.
- Show appreciation by giving employees a “leave early" pass or an afternoon off of work. I still remember getting an email about 2pm on a warm, sunny July afternoon from the president of my previous employer with these simple words: "It's gorgeous outside. Everybody go enjoy this amazing day."
- Host a company social outing at the local ballpark, zoo, park or new museum, and invite employees to bring their families.
- Have an office/cube decorating contest around a holiday or a theme like the Star Wars movie. Allow participants to work in teams or as individuals, with participation voluntary.
- Let employees spend an afternoon or workday volunteering for their favorite charity. Or, organize a group volunteer activity at a local food pantry, Habitat for Humanity or an employee-chosen nonprofit.
- Never underestimate the personal touch. In my treasure box of work-related items, I still have handwritten thank you notes from my past bosses. One, in fact, from the president of my previous company who took the time to write me a personal note when my first child was born.
One final idea is to ask your employees for their input. They’re likely to have ideas you haven’t even considered. If you can make these ideas happen, it will add even more meaning to your employee recognition efforts and strengthen your company culture.
Michele Ellner is the Director of Marketing for Montage and has worked closely with recruiters and talent acquisition professionals throughout her career. She markets for the most mature video interviewing solution available, purpose-built to transform the hiring experience one smile at a time. Michele has focused her career on talent acquisition technology, staffing, HR services and outsourcing for over 20 years. Reach Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @ellnerellner.