It's been a couple of months since the coronavirus pandemic made thousands of companies go remote. Many teams are now facing a dilemma: "do we go back to the office (at least temporarily), or do we embrace...
As a leader, you likely want your team to feel happy at work.
Simultaneously, as a businessperson, you pay attention to your company’s bottom line and want to keep it profitable.
Fortunately, these two goals align.
Studies show that employees that feel appreciated can be more productive. A recent Engagement and Retention report prepared by Achievers indicated that people are motivated to work harder when they receive recognition.
As you can see, making employees feel valued benefits your business as well. Today, we’ll list some meaningful strategies that will help you achieve this. You know, vegan donuts or foosball tables are great and whatnot, but if you want to truly make employees feel appreciated, you should dig deeper.
Increase transparency in your organization
80% of workers surveyed by Kelton Global in a 2018 study said they want to know more about how decisions are made in their organization. It’s clear that transparency is vital to employees. When you’re transparent about organizational goals, ambitions, or results, it shows that you respect the people that work for you. Of course, there might be things you can’t legally share with your employees. Still, there are probably areas you could open up a little more.
Think about your company’s general direction and goals: are employees aware of them? They should, and here’s why. 37% of respondents surveyed by BetterWorks and Wakefield Research said their performance would improve if they better understood the goals of their employer and their peers. Transparency in individual goals is also important: the same survey indicated that 92% of people “would work harder if their co-workers could see their goals.” Project transparency will help your teams complete projects successfully. There’s a lot to gain from being more honest with your team. Knowing what’s going on at the company is very likely to make employees feel more valued.
Pay attention to people’s workload
Work-life balance is essential to your employees. In fact, 62% of respondents surveyed by Mavenlink said that work-life balance is the most important element of successful work culture.
A balanced workload is necessary to maintain an excellent work-life balance. Still, workload management can be tricky, especially when your company works on multiple projects at once and deals with regular changes. The key to planning and managing your team’s workload is having visibility into their schedules. Tools like Teamdeck provide you with a resource calendar you can monitor to check how much stuff everyone has on their plates.
It needs to be said that even the most carefully planned schedule may fall apart as, e.g., project requirements change. This is why you should keep your fingers on both: your team’s bookings (schedule) and the actual time they spent working on projects. One of the best ways of keeping track of your employees’ hours is by implementing time tracking in your company.
Having access to your team’s timesheets enables you to compare estimates and actuals. Having these insights at hand, you can see who is overworked and react accordingly. Your team members will appreciate having leaders that truly care about employee workload and strive to achieve a good work-life balance for the team.
Take care of remote workers
With so many companies having to go remote due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hugely important to take good care of your distributed workforce. Basically, they shouldn’t feel like they’re missing out on anything. It may be difficult, especially when you have some people working remotely and some working from the office. Always consider your remote employees’ perspective: are they aware of everything important happening at the company-level? Do they have access to all the tools and know the necessary processes? They’ll feel valued when they get noticed the same way they would when sitting in the same office room.
Invest in training when you feel like your team is not 100% up to speed with remote work. Remote communication, for instance, is crucial, so it’s worth spending some time and money on teaching your employees the best practices and arranging helpful tools. The same goes for remote productivity. Once your team members get more skilled at remote work, they’ll feel much better about themselves and perform at a higher level. Again: win-win.
If you employ any part-time employees and freelancers, you should also keep them in mind. Whether they work remotely or on-site, they might easily fall through the cracks, so to speak. If you want them to feel noticed and valued, make sure that you and your managers respect their schedules (workload visibility is essential here as well) and that they hear about any important company updates. Your part-timers will definitely appreciate that.
Read more about remote work: Tools to Build a Well-Performing and Happy Remote Team.
Facilitate growth and learning
It is a hugely important thing to consider when trying to show employee appreciation. Does your team have enough learning and development opportunities? Do you encourage them to grow professionally and personally? Investing in your employees’ development shows that you value them and their capabilities. It’s especially true when someone is interested in pursuing a career path different from what their current role typically dictates. Are you open to offer them learning opportunities beyond their role? Are you ready to accept the fact that people outgrow their positions or may even outgrow your organization?
It may be impossible for you to stay on top of everyone’s career ambitions and discuss development opportunities individually. Still, you should make sure that your employees receive some career support from their managers or mentors. Encourage 1:1 performance reviews, goal-setting, and career coaching. These initiatives will likely be very rewarding both for individual workers and your company as a whole.
Offer flexible perks
Browsing different job ads, it may seem that companies took it upon themselves to compete in terms of the “coolest” perk package. Yoga retreats? Check. Craft beers in the fridge? You bet. Concierge services? Sure.
We’re not trying to poke fun at these unusual perks—if that’s what your employees need and want, by all means, go for it! Perks are definitely something that can make your employees feel valued. One thing we want to draw your attention to, however, is to think about flexibility when designing your company’s perk system. Different people will have different needs, and ideally, you’ll want to cater to all of them. Flexibility will help you with that.
Think about the working hours, for example. A survey from the ManpowerGroup indicates that for almost 40% of candidates, schedule flexibility is among the top three factors when making career decisions. Do you offer flexible arrival and departure times? Maybe a 4-day workweek would be a good choice for your company? Perhaps you should think about a flexible paid time off policy? Granted, not all of these options will be suitable for all types of businesses, but you should think about employee benefits with flexibility in mind.
Do you know how to make your employees feel valued?
There are several ways to show appreciation to your team. However, to make people really feel appreciated, you should opt for meaningful strategies, not just quick fixes. The latter may lift people’s spirits (who doesn’t like free pizza?), but the former will make the real difference. And what happens when employees feel valued? They become more engaged, productive, and likely to stay at your organization.
Think about that for a moment: 64 percent of Americans who leave their jobs say they do so because they don’t feel appreciated (source). If you want to improve staff retention at your company and positively affect your business’s bottom line, you shouldn’t forget about showing your workforce that they are valued. We hope that our blog post inspired you in terms of employee appreciation. Which area will you focus on first?