As an employer, your workers are your lifelines. Each employee is a valuable addition to your team, and it's important they feel that way.
It's easy to say "thank you" or "good job" to recognize exceptional performance or dedication; but there are countless ways to show your support and respect for your employees. Business News Daily asked business owners and experts to share the best ways to make your employees feel more appreciated.
1. Use a corporate gamification system.
"Each staff member could claim tasks of their choosing and would receive the point values associated with the tasks upon completion. These points could be redeemed by staff members at a corporate rewards portal for anything ranging from an extra vacation and work-from-home days to company-paid continuing education. It's one thing to appreciate employees in the way that makes sense to you, but the gamification platform we used allowed people to be appreciated in a way that was most meaningful to each individual." – Josh Braaten, CEO and cofounder of Brandish Insights
2. Let employees give and receive 'props.'
"At Badger Maps, we like to show appreciation on a regular basis and recognize employees for their work. The way we do this is that we all set aside some time at the end of the day every Friday to give props at our 'TGIF meeting.' Anyone on the team can give 'props' to anyone else on the team, which fosters an atmosphere of appreciation, respect and teamwork. It's a time to recognize coworkers for their accomplishments and contributions that week in front of the group and show them respect for working hard and having done something great." – Steven Benson, founder and CEO of Badger Maps
3. Feed them.
"Bring in donuts or have a pizza party at lunch on the company dime. People ... like to be fed. This type of reward will not only bring your office together [and] ... strengthen their interpersonal relationships, but it will also give them all the feeling of being appreciated." – Tyler Butler, founder and principal of 11Eleven Consulting
4. Express your gratitude on social media.
"We recognize our employees on their birthdays and service anniversaries on our social channels. Each post will include a photo and something that highlights that employee's contribution to the organization or an interesting fact that their co-workers and others may not know about them." – Michelle Cardin, marketing director of Shawmut Communications Group
5. Plan company-wide trips.
"After our employees worked hard to reach significant milestones, Study.com employees took a trip together to Las Vegas. Most recently, we planned a company-wide trip to Lake Tahoe. It was a great way to show we appreciated all their efforts and for our employees to have some fun and bond with coworkers." – Adrian Ridner, CEO and co-founder of Study.com
6. Delegate a team award.
"We bought a big teddy bear, which is permanently in our office in NYC. Those people who were affected by some activity or were overloaded by a project or just [great employees] are the owners of the bear for a week. It brings benefits from economic to a social aspect because we all reward the owner of the bears. For instance, we buy them chocolates or sweets and we leave as 'bear food,' although it is obvious those sweets now belong to the owner of the bear." – Sophie Miles, vice president of marketing and co-founder of CalculatorBuddy.com
7. Offer employees a platform.
"When we ... [ask employees to] share their story, tips, methods, etc. with others, it provides validation to them that they do have something of value to offer, and it boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem in the process. This doesn't mean we add a training function to their currently overloaded job, but it could be sharing at a team or organizational event, award ceremony or even in a newsletter." – Sandy Geroux, CEO, WOWplace International
8. Give employees extra time off.
"I think the most valuable way to recognize an employee today is through time — that is, time off, time to do something else besides work. It could be family, a hobby, a charity or a short vacation. I don't think it needs to be routine or regular, and has the most value when it's unexpected." – Mark S. Valenti, president and CEO, The Sextant Group
9. Encourage their feedback.
"We distribute a quarterly pulse survey them allows them to give us [anonymous] feedback about the company at a macro level. We ask a set of 15 questions around teamwork, leadership, career growth, etc. each quarter, to measure movement on any dimension, and then we give them three open text boxes to answer the questions: What are we doing well? What do we need to improve? What else is on your mind? We get our results each month with an average participation rate of about 75 percent, and have more than 225 lines of data from the responses to those three open-ended questions. This allows all employees to feel heard and want to contribute to making our company win." – Mai Ton, vice president of human resources at White Ops
10. Host events for the entire company.
"Company events are usually quite popular when we do team building activities. All employees want to feel part of the team and believe strongly in the company. If we can create a positive, fun and flexible workplace, most employees appreciate the independence of knowing they are trusted to get the work done and feel part of a team." – Patric Palm, CEO of Favro
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.