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Updated Oct 24, 2023

Why Employee Appreciation Is Key to Low Turnover

Working for a boss who regularly shows appreciation can keep employees happy – and less likely to leave. Here are some ways to show appreciation to your employees.

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Written By: Adam UzialkoBusiness Strategy Insider and Senior Editor
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Though getting a raise or bonus is nice, it’s not the most crucial factor in employee happiness. Employees are often motivated more by bosses who let their teams know when they’re doing a good job and advocate on their employees’ behalf. Below are some recent findings on the importance of employee appreciation and recognition in keeping your team happy – and less likely to leave – along with tips for showing employees how much you appreciate them.

How employee appreciation and recognition affect employee happiness

In 2022, Gallup and Workhuman surveyed 7,636 U.S. full-time and part-time employees. Among this cohort, 30 percent were more likely to spend at least five years at organizations where their managers recognized work milestones and life events. This data suggests a clear correlation between employee recognition and employee happiness.

The Gallup and Workhuman survey also looked at what happens when employers don’t regularly recognize employees. The key finding: Among employees who received recognition at most only a few times per year, 74 percent planned to leave their organization within a year. Similarly, when Bonusly surveyed 2,000 American employees and job seekers in 2022, 46 percent said they had previously left a job due to feeling unappreciated. 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Employee appreciation and recognition have a clear, substantial impact on employee happiness. Appreciating and recognizing your employees can help improve employee turnover.

Tips on how to show your employees appreciation

If you’re interested in demonstrating your appreciation to your team, consider the following employee appreciation best practices. 

1. Allow employees to give and receive props.

Encourage team members to show appreciation for each other regularly during meetings. Consider having your team give a badge of honor to the staff member they feel performed better than usual during the week. 

Giving and receiving props creates an atmosphere of teamwork, respect, and appreciation. It encourages team members to work together with shared goals and visions. Additionally, team members who may not be exceptional performers can feel appreciated for their improved efforts. This recognition will encourage your team to put more effort into their work and relate better to everyone.

2. Give time off to show you value your employees.

Allow high-performing employees extra time off (in addition to their regularly allotted paid time off (PTO), affording them a more positive work-life balance. They could spend this time with family or pursue their hobbies.

“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,” said Mark Valenti, president and CEO of The Sextant Group. “It could be family, a hobby, a charity, or a short vacation. I don’t think it needs to be routine or regular, and [it] has the most value when it’s unexpected.”

3. Encourage feedback to help employees feel appreciated.

Employees feel valued in an environment where their views are heard. Your company should have open channels to encourage employee feedback and share constructive criticism.

Install suggestion boxes where employees can provide feedback anonymously. You could also conduct employee surveys to pinpoint what employees feel needs to improve in the organization. Employees should be allowed to address how your company’s management is handling their issues.

4. Use a corporate gamification system to show employee appreciation.

Some platforms let employees earn points when they complete tasks. You can use an online portal that shows how many points each person in the company has earned. Employees can redeem points for prizes such as gifts, cash awards, vacation time or work-from-home days. Show appreciation for your employees in ways that are meaningful to them. 

5. Feed your employees to show them they’re appreciated.

Concentrating on work or accomplishing manual tasks when hungry is difficult, so regularly feed your employees. For example, provide snacks and drinks during breaks, and consider team lunches or dinners. Feeding your employees helps them accomplish their work better and makes them feel appreciated.

Did You Know?Did you know
Workplace meals have been shown to improve productivity. Consider bringing in food when teams work late or provide regular team lunches.

6. Recognize work anniversaries and birthdays.

Consider recognizing employees on their birthdays with cards and social media posts. Additionally, give them shoutouts on their employment anniversaries with your company. Have awards for milestones in years with the company, such as five years, 10 years and 20 years.

7. Provide opportunities for career advancement.

Promote staff who perform well, allowing them to lead special committees and attend professional association meetings. They can also represent the organization at philanthropic events and display their talents. While promotions may not always come with huge salary raises, being recognized for excellent performance encourages employees to put in extra effort.

According to the Bonusly survey, 30 percent of employees would be happy with professional development and wellness stipends as forms of appreciation.

8. Create fun traditions to show employee appreciation.

Start traditions in your company that your staff can look forward to. For example, you could have a gift-giving day for employees to show appreciation for each other, a day for wearing a specific kind of attire or a day to celebrate different cultures. You could also start “treat days” or other traditions leading up to the holidays around the end of the year. 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Other creative ways to show employee appreciation include fitness opportunities, milestone celebrations, and employee health and wellness plans.

Appreciating and recognizing your employees isn’t just nice – it’s good business

Appreciating and recognizing your employees is a great way to keep them happy and improve employee retention. This is of paramount importance – unhappy employees may not be engaged enough to do good work, and high turnover can lead to organizational knowledge loss. When you appreciate and recognize your employees, you’re supporting your business. 

Max Freedman contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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Written By: Adam UzialkoBusiness Strategy Insider and Senior Editor
Adam Uzialko, senior editor of Business News Daily, is not just a professional writer and editor — he’s also an entrepreneur who knows firsthand what it’s like building a business from scratch. His experience as co-founder and managing editor of a digital marketing company imbues his work at Business News Daily with a perspective grounded in the realities of running a small business. Since 2015, Adam has reviewed hundreds of small business products and services, including contact center solutions, email marketing software and text message marketing software. Adam uses the products, interviews users and talks directly to the companies that make the products and services he covers. He specializes in digital marketing topics, with a focus on content marketing, editorial strategy and managing a team.
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