4 strategies for effectively communicating appreciation to your workforce

By in Appreciation
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How strongly your employees feel appreciated can make or break your workplace culture. When people feel appreciated, the entire atmosphere of their workplace can change dramatically. In fact, you can create an upward spiral: when employees feel recognized for their work, they are motivated to perform better, which leads to greater achievement and more reasons to recognize and appreciate. Take a step back and look for the great work that your employees do: you may be surprised!

Here are four methods and strategies that you can use to make sure your employees know that you appreciate them.

1. Be a good listener. 

Good listening is crucial to creating actual relationships with people and showing that you care about them. Nobody wants to experience conversations as if you are checking a box that says “Boost employee morale through small talk.” When you talk to your employees, show that you value who they are by paying attention as they speak.

So what can you do?

How many managers do you know who have said they don’t have an open-door policy? Some employees are treated to the opposite of an open door. They come to the office to talk about something and get turned away or yelled at. If you say you have an open door but don’t make good on it, then it’s time to face the facts: your door is closed. So if you can’t meet with someone at the moment, schedule an appointment and make the person feel welcome to come talk to you. Practice what you preach.

2. Be positive. 

Don’t just look for negative behaviors or attitudes in your employees; search out the good things they do. Often, getting an invite to a meeting with your manager feels ominous and many people instinctively think they could be in trouble. There are of course times to temper your praise with constructive feedback, but it can be important to wait to express that criticism.

So what can you do?

Take time to express your appreciation. Try scheduling meetings to check in with employees about their personal well-being. Separate your appreciation and your feedback into different meetings. If you create an environment where praise is called out distinctively, your employees won’t feel doom and gloom when they walk into your office.

3. Be genuine, personal, and specific.

Don’t make people cringe with overblown compliments over the smallest achievement. Overuse of praise can be just as bad as no praise, so make recognitions reflective of the accomplishment. Your employees want something real and genuine, not just a participant ribbon.

So what can you do?

Don’t use vague praise that makes everyone roll their eyes at yet another attempt to contrive good feelings. Instead, acknowledge great work specifically. “Good job” is feedback that doesn’t really say anything—avoid it! Before you commend your employee, make sure you have something concrete to talk about. Tell the employee what they did well and why their work is important. If you reward employees for great work, be creative! You don’t have to give a huge bonus or make up an award, but a personalized gesture can be a great way to show your appreciation.

4. Be consistent.

If you treat a small accomplishment and a large one the same way, employees won’t take recognition seriously. Make your praise consistent with the person’s accomplishment. On the flip side, don’t forget to acknowledge smaller contributions. After all, while huge moments don’t happen all the time, great work can be found in every day actions.

So what can you do?

Avoid using some mysterious selection process for employee appreciation and recognition. If everyone is aware of the process, they won’t feel cheated or uninformed. Make your appreciation known on a regular basis. If you only praise the top performer, other employees may feel resentful and overlooked. They will see that they must be the best in order to be appreciated or they may feel as if their contributions simply don’t matter. And if you publicly praise high performers, publicly praise others.

When you create goals for recognition, with clear definition paths to get there, you can grow a workplace culture that respects the achievements of all your employees. A healthy workplace keeps hold of great talent and attracts new people. Appreciation enables motivation and helps to create a less stressful culture and office environment.

By blake beus
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