This year, National Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 4. For employers who have struggled to retain valuable employees in a tough labor market, often triggered by The Great Resignation, there is no better time to show your team that you appreciate them — and not just in March, but all year long.
In the last half of 2021 alone, more than 20 million Americans quit their jobs. There’s no single explanation that accounts for so many people calling it quits, but many workers say they are leaving because they don’t feel appreciated. The good news is, you can fix that.
These times are challenging for everyone. But it is possible to grow a business during a pandemic while keeping your employees on board — we have doubled our business growth while retaining some of our best people through the years. Here are four ways to show your employees you appreciate them — and keep your company from becoming a victim of the Great Resignation.
- Celebrate and recognize employees every day. Special events and events such as friendly competitions are great ways to celebrate employees and let them know you value them. For example, our sales team has a stacked-rank leaderboard to keep the team motivated, adding game elements to the workday routine. But it’s also important to go beyond job descriptions. We’ve had a great response to a program that recognizes staff for teamwork and solving process problems in a way that contributes to overall company success.
- Ensure that employees have the tools they need to be successful. That could mean effective training and regular coaching, providing the right technology so employees can effectively work remotely, or delivering catered meals to take the pressure off stressed-out employees. Always look for ways to make employees’ jobs and lives easier.
- Do frequent check-ins and team-building events. The pandemic has disrupted the ways in which teammates previously connected, so it’s important to create new systems. We’ve found that frequent check-ins, combined with team-building events around worthy causes such as annual fundraisers, keep the company culture strong and reinforce connections.
- Continuously monitor employee sentiment. You can’t address issues you don’t know about, so give employees avenues to express how they feel about their jobs. We conduct surveys and provide opportunities for staff to give anonymous feedback, and conduct exit interviews when someone leaves to identify any issues that may have contributed to their exit and learn where we are doing well. We also monitor third-party resources and take feedback themes to the leadership team to help drive change.
We don’t know how the workplace will evolve in the months ahead, but it’s clear there will be no return to the way things were in 2019. So, in addition to employee engagement tactics like those above, it’s also critical as a leader to listen to your team members, keep an open mind and be open to change. No one person has all the answers, so ask employees for their ideas on improving processes and increasing efficiency. We’ve found that it can pay off in greater productivity, while increasing employees’ stake in the company’s success. That’s something to celebrate on Employee Appreciation Day — and every other day of the year. ●
Jeff Beck is chief growth officer at Leaf Home