Cultivate Blog

Appreciating people shouldn’t be limited to the holidays

Posted by Jenny McGee on 11/23/21 1:00 AM

The holidays are in full swing, and most of us are making time to appreciate our family, friends, and colleagues. While the holiday season is a nice time to tell others that you’re grateful for them, appreciating people shouldn’t be limited to the holiday season. In fact—if you’re reserving your gifting program for special occasions like Thanksgiving, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Research indicates that the number one reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. Effective leaders and program organizers understand that people want to feel valued, and recognizing their efforts can impact the bottom line. Sincere and consistent appreciation leads to better morale, improved retention, and a more engaged workforce that produces high-quality work.

If you want to build and maintain an engaged, happy, and productive workforce that will stick around, then regularly appreciating people’s hard work is key. This holiday season, why not get into the habit of appreciating people all year long?

Appreciating people: Do this—not that

When it comes to appreciating people, it’s only natural to assume that “Great job!” or a pat on the back will suffice. But once you know there are better methods of appreciating people out there—like gifting—then it’s time to do better. So, if you’re wondering how you can make the people you’re appreciating feel genuinely recognized, start by avoiding these common traps:

  • Impersonal appreciation: Recognition is often communicated to groups, such as “Way to go, team!” While some thanks are better than none, the message says nothing about each person’s individual contributions.
  • One-for-all thanks: For example, giving everyone the same holiday gift will do little to inspire greatness or make people feel special.
  • Insincerity: When you give praise or show appreciation, be authentic. People will know if your words or actions don’t ring true.

On the other hand, there are a couple of ways to make how you appreciate people feel authentic and thoughtful. Start by considering these two factors:

  • Keep gifting programs simple but frequent: According to a 2017 study by Office Team, people who feel underappreciated are three times more likely to leave an organization. Tangible appreciation motivates people to achieve their best every day and boosts retention, too.
  • Remember that real-time thanks are best: Recognizing someone for something they achieved three months ago will not resonate. When you catch someone going the extra mile, on-the-spot recognition is guaranteed to make them feel appreciated. It will have far more impact and will build the behaviors you seek to repeat.

Appreciating people: Make it memorable

There’s more than one reason to appreciate people throughout the year and more than one way to make how you appreciate them memorable. To help, our friends at SHRM outlined five ideas below that you can use to appreciate people in ways they’ll remember:

  1. Let your own experiences guide you: Over the years, you’ve likely reported to numerous managers. Chances are you remember one or two of them specifically because they made you feel appreciated. Maybe they spent an extra few minutes talking with you every week? Perhaps they made it a point to recognize you with a gift or free lunch? Whatever it was, you remember them for it. Think about the things that your favorite managers did to show you appreciation. Then, start doing those same things for the people you want to recognize.
  1. Don’t forget gifting: A common reason employees don’t feel appreciated? Inadequate benefits and incentives. Start by confirming that you’re incentivizing people with quality products they want to receive. While some may think cash is the equivalent of gifting—it’s not. Don’t assume that handing out cash is the best form of appreciating people. Cash bonuses tend to be motivational only for a short time. Incentives like Virtual Gifting can be a powerful motivator that people will remember long after they’ve selected a gift of their choice online.
  1. Broadcast your appreciation: The positive effects of appreciating people multiply when you praise them publicly. Consider sending company-wide congratulatory emails, mentioning top performers in your weekly newsletter, and or holding meetings where you individually tell people what they’re doing well and specifically how their efforts make a positive impact.

Pro Tip: You might even ask other people to take part in acknowledging and commending their colleagues’ efforts.

  1. Try a one-on-one: Appreciation comes in many forms, but one of the most powerful is to show genuine human interest in people. They’re used to meeting with you for task-related purposes, but they may not know the “real” you. Create an entirely different experience by inviting them to join you for coffee or for a one-on-one meeting. Be respectful, listen carefully, and keep the conversation friendly, upbeat, and encouraging.
  1. Make it fun: Appreciating people shouldn’t be a chore. Consider a Pop-up Shop that impresses and appreciates people as they come into work or a Virtual Gifting program that instantly delivers a gift to their inbox. When people feel appreciated, they’re more likely to remember it and tell others about it.

The holiday season is a timely reminder of the power of gratitude, but appreciating people shouldn’t be limited to one season. To keep people engaged, happy, and productive, it’s important to make time to find ways to recognize their individual efforts all year long. Do you need help designing effective gifting strategies for people who deserve it the most? Connect with our team of experts! We’ll help you plan and deliver a successful gifting program that makes each person feel appreciated with a gift of their choice.

Topics: Culture

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