Wisdom//

How to Show Your Employees That You Recognize and Value Them

When it comes to optimizing the workplace and improving company culture, small moments of appreciation are key.

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Shutterstock

In today’s evolving workforce, organizations and leaders are constantly looking for strategies to attract and retain their top performers while increasing growth and employee productivity, from offering new perks and benefits to designing flexible workplaces.

But a Gallup workplace survey finds that in their search for new ideas and approaches, organizations often miss one of the most easily executed strategies: employee recognition. Feeling valued at work can provide people with a sense of accomplishment, and make them more motivated and driven. These moments can often be small — like a simple thank you note or a congratulatory email from a manager after hitting a goal. 

For inspiration, we asked members of the Thrive community to share moments where they’ve felt seen in their workplaces. Their tips will urge you to do the same for your employees.

Make showing appreciation easy

“Our team created a set of four beautiful postcards that were given out so we could write quick notes of appreciation to leave on a co-worker’s desk. Later in the month, a list of the sentiments are published in our newsletter for the larger group to enjoy, and celebrate the ways we help and support each other. I keep the collection I’ve received in a drawer to look at when I need a boost.”

— Kate C., Assistant to the VP of Advancement at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ

Support goals outside of the office

“I started running a couple years ago, and it means so much to me when my boss asks me how it’s going. I once mentioned that I wanted to buy a device to track my runs, and my boss bought me one as a thank you gift. I appreciate that she supports my goals outside of work.” 

—Becky C., office manager, Huntsville TX

Give a meaningful compliment

“In one of my first jobs, my boss said to me, ‘If I could clone you, I would.’ It felt like the highest compliment, and I’ve never forgotten it.” 

—Sandrine Talbot Lagloire, COO, Montreal, Canada

Celebrate employees’ work anniversaries 

“Our company celebrates employees’ anniversaries each month at our all-hands company meetings. For my five-year anniversary, my boss honored me with a presentation of my work and personal achievements. It made me feel recognized in the moment, when our day-to-day can get so busy.” 

—Isabelle Bart, marketing director, Irvine, CA

Value people’s unique past experiences

“I went to work in a new industry after 25 years in tech. In my new role, my manager often asks for my opinion and input on a variety of matters and decisions. She appreciates my years of experience and perspective coming from another company and industry, which makes me feel valued even though I am a novice in my current role. It makes me realize how important it is to ask people what they’ve learned in their former jobs.”

—Karrie Bota, experience designer, Albuquerque, NM

Make employees feel seen and supported

“I was feeling insecure about getting a promotion a few years back, and my boss looked me in the eyes and said, ‘I believe in you.’  Her words stuck with me, and made me feel in my core that I could handle the new role. The CHRO of the company also sent me a handwritten note for each of the five promotions I had during my time with the company. Those small pep talks are unexpected ways to boost your confidence.”

—Luisa Molano, transformation and leadership coach/consultant, Denver, CO 

Offer a stipend for “frugal wowing”

“My company encourages team members to show appreciation to one another through a practice we call ‘Frugal Wowing.’ Each person has a budget each year to buy gifts for co-workers as tokens of appreciation. Colleagues have given me handwritten notes, my favorite candy, and other small presents that always make my day — and the giving part can be more fun than receiving!”

—Tricia Sciortino, COO, Charlotte, NC

Encourage time off to recharge

“I started as an email marketer for an international e-commerce company earlier this year, and one day, my manager invited me for a quick call. To my surprise, he wanted to thank me for the performance of our sales, which surpassed the previous months combined, and he sent me additional funds because he wanted me to take my family on a weekend vacation. As a freelancer, that was the first time that I experienced such thoughtfulness from a client.” 

—Fred Mosquida, email marketer, Manila, Philippines

Celebrate the reaching of goals

“I was once working on a challenging project, which had far-reaching implications for the organization I was working for. After a number of stressful weeks, which required me to step outside my comfort zone and learn a lot in a short space of time, we reached our goal. Soon after, I received a handwritten letter from my boss’ boss, thanking me for a job well done. I think those kinds of genuine personal touches can make all the difference to making someone feel valued.”

—Nick Bloy, well-being coach and former lawyer, London, U.K.  

Schedule regular one-on-ones

“My manager always has a lot on his plate, but when it comes to our one-on-one check-ins, whether it’s about a small minor work issue or a big personal issue, he is understanding. We meet regularly, and he supports me both professionally and personally. He pays attention to each team member, and at times he even buys lunch or grabs us a coffee to show us how grateful he is for our hard work.” 

—Tiffany Hoxie, writer, New York, NY

If you have suggestions or anecdotes to add, please share them in the comments!

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