Give Thanks to Your Employees (and Watch Engagement Improve)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S.! If you celebrate, you know this day is all about gratitude. And while you should absolutely spend tomorrow letting the people and pets you love know how much you appreciate them, here’s a suggestion for today: Show your employees how much they mean to the company. It’s a lovely thing to do — and it’ll pay off.

Our recent research report on employee engagement showed that feeling appreciated at work is the number one factor in employee satisfaction. Here’s a look at the factors we measured:

  • Communication: “There is frequent, two-way communication between management and myself.”
  • Development: “My employer provides me with sufficient opportunities for learning and development.”
  • Company Outlook: “I am confident my employer has a bright future.”
  • Relationship With Manager: “I have a great relationship with my direct manager.”
  • Pay Process: “How pay is determined at my company is a fair and transparent process.”
  • Appreciation: “I feel appreciated at work.”

Turns out, appreciation is a bit more important than company outlook (which came in at 87 percent the strength of appreciation) when it comes to employee satisfaction, and roughly twice as important as communication (53 percent), pay process (49 percent) and development (48 percent).

We also gauged the impact of a person’s pay relative to market on their reported satisfaction, and get this: It’s the least important variable. Pay affects employee satisfaction only 9 percent as much as appreciation. (Though note: Pay process does make a significant difference. When pay decisions are fair and transparent, satisfaction increases.)

So how can you show your employees appreciation? Here are a few ideas:

  • Align employee goals with company goals: Clearly demonstrate how an employee’s work contributes to company success by connecting the dots for them on how their day-to-day efforts support overall organizational goals. It’s easy to feel appreciated when you understand — and see that leadership understands — that you play a valuable role.
  • Give sincere, verbal recognition: A genuine “great job” or heartfelt “thank you” can go so much further than you might think. It can really brighten a person’s day and make them feel recognized and valued.
  • Make it part of your culture: Ensure managers are giving regular, timely feedback — with plenty of praise sprinkled into the constructive. It’s helpful to employees to know what they’re doing wrong, but it’s wonderful for them to hear that they’re doing some things right!

Check out this post for more ideas and details. And happy “Turkey Day”!

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How do you show appreciation for your employees? We want to hear from you. Share your tips in the comments.

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