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Better Ways to Appreciate Your Employees

For consumers, cash is certainly king, but in the workplace, something else is in charge: appreciation.

There are several studies that show monetary rewards being ineffective motivators for workplace performance. One significant reason for this is the long-term effect of external motivators, like cash. If you offer cash as a reward, then over time, your employees will come to expect cash bonuses for a certain quality of work. If you fail to provide the cash motivation, they will stop performing. Meanwhile, intrinsic motivators, like personal satisfaction and pride, never stop being effective at enhancing workers’ productivity.

If you want to show your employees that you recognize their effort, you shouldn’t do it with cash. Here are a few more creative and effective ways to show you care:

Empower Employees With Enhanced Authority

Few people like to be told what to do, but in the workplace, there must be a boss. Still, employees who have proven themselves capable, trustworthy, and deserving of appreciation should be able to earn some authority over their projects. Employees with greater autonomy tend to be more creative and successful in their pursuits, benefitting themselves, their team, and the business at large. However, for enhanced authority to be effective, your employees must be self-motivated and engaged with your business – so you might need to focus on that first.

Let Employees Do the Rewarding

You might not have enough time to personally thank every employee for their efforts; not only does appreciation require time to perform, but you must also devote time to discerning quality work from the rest. Instead, you can delegate rewarding to the rest of your team and allow employees to appreciate one another. Apps like YouEarnedIt allow employees to rate and review each other, giving top performers points they can spend on gift cards, donations, and other prizes. That way, the people who most benefit from one person’s efforts can show their appreciation, and the hard worker can choose precisely the reward they want.

Encourage Employees to Help Each Other

Another option that allows employees to praise and appreciate one another is providing top talent with a platform to influence their teammates. You can show you value an employee by allowing them to share their thoughts or methods with the rest of the business. Through a presentation at a meeting or seminar, a memo or white paper, or something else, a productive employee’s positive messages can inspire the rest of the workforce – and reaffirm that employee’s motivation and commitment.

Surprise Employees in Special Ways

The best reward is the unexpected one. Employees who are appropriately self-motivated typically don’t expect appreciation, which makes any small present or praise feel extra special. You can surprise your best workers with small staff appreciation gifts, shortened workdays, breakfasts or lunches, and other one-time perks. Such unanticipated appreciation shouldn’t disrupt their intrinsic motivation, which will keep them performing well after you offer the reward.

Be Generous and Specific With Praise

Tossing around “good job” any time your team is productive doesn’t necessarily help your employees continue being successful. Instead, you need to specifically address the positive behaviors you want to reinforce with targeted praise. Usually, when an employee learns that they are doing something right, they will continue to develop that skill or behavior to earn more praise. You shouldn’t be stingy with praise, either; anyone who does anything well should be rewarded with an affirming statement, a smile, and maybe a handshake.

Tell Employees the Truth, Always

It’s important to note that transparency isn’t something employees should have to earn. Honesty from leadership is a must regardless of your business size or goals. Still, it is especially important to tell top talent the truth. High performing employees deserve to understand what their efforts are contributing to, what they can expect to accomplish, and what rewards they can look forward to in the future. Employees who believe they can see the business for what it is will feel more connected to its successes and failures – so they will strive harder to do well.

Ask Employees Often for Honest Feedback

One of the best ways to show widespread appreciation for employee opinions and ideas is to request feedback. Some businesses distribute quarterly surveys that allow employees to anonymously comment on micro and macro issues, such as “What is the best aspect of working here?” and “What would you most want to improve about your workplace?” Even more importantly, you must be willing to act on the feedback you receive. Without employee satisfaction, you lack a stable foundation for your business. Thus, the best reward for good, loyal work is positive change.


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