Employees are the backbone of any company. Whether there's one or 1,000, they move a business forward - or backward. Nurturing employees can make a huge difference in the impact they have on a business.
It doesn't cost a lot to nurture employees. Studies have shown that salary is not the only thing that matters. Most employees want to feel appreciated and like they matter. They want to believe that they are having an impact on the success of the company. When we think about budgeting for increasing employee appreciation, we should consider more than finances. We should think about time, energy, and attitude.
It Starts with Leadership
Appreciating employees has a lot to do with how they are viewed by leadership. People are hired for a reason, for a skill set, and a need. That position is integral to the success of the organization. When someone joins a business for a skill they possess, they want to be appreciated for the contribution they make to the company.
Many times these same employees go months if not years without hearing feedback or receiving rewards for their contributions. Leadership is busy building and steering the organization, and the work the employees do is simply expected.
This can result in staff leaving the company because they feel unappreciated, or lowering the level of commitment they bring to their position. Neither of these outcomes is good for the company, or the employees.
Systems for Showing Appreciation
It is important to establish appreciation systems that work throughout the tenure of each employee. While these systems do not have to break the bank, the real question is, can you afford not to show your gratitude? When it comes to budgeting for expressing employee appreciation, keep in mind that there can be a much larger cost to a company if they neglect to express this gratitude.
Here are some ideas of ways any company can express appreciation for the work their employees do - without financial hardship. The first and most important part of employee appreciation is to know what the individual values. Different people in different stages of their lives have different things that matter to them. When leadership takes the time to learn about what matters to each employee, they are in a better position to show their appreciation.
For some it will be more money. For others it will be a nice dinner out with their significant other. For another it may be something for their children. It could be that an employee is interested in getting some professional development so they can grow within the company.
They all desire feedback. Silence is not golden - it's dangerous. At a minimum, a company's leadership should establish a feedback system so employees hear from their superiors on a regular basis. A feedback system is best when it works both ways - leaders share with employees how their contribution is affecting the company at the same time that leadership solicits feedback from the employees. Being heard and hearing feedback and suggestions is critical - and free.
When leadership understands what matters to their employees and then works to provide those things as a show of appreciation, they find their employees becoming even more engaged and productive. It's not about how much it costs to show your appreciation. It's about the outcome. While it doesn't have to cost a lot, employee appreciation always reaps significant rewards for the company as a whole.
Diane Helbig is an internationally recognized business and leadership development coach, author of Lemonade Stand Selling and Expert Insights, and the host of Accelerate Your Business Growth radio show. Diane is a certified, professional coach, and president of Seize This Day Coaching.