4 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

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Employee turnover costs an average of $15,000 per worker. According to a Gallup study, a lack of appreciation is the main driver of employee turnover. Showing proper appreciation encourages employees to stick around.

Employee appreciation can help employees and their managers build a strong company culture that will help retain star employees and attract new talent. It helps employees understand their roles and what’s expected of them and, according to an analysis by Gallup, it motivates them to higher levels of performance. 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.

Employee appreciation can be tied directly to employee engagement. It creates a connection and sense of purpose. When employees feel supported by their employer, they’re 17% more likely to stay longer.

Employee appreciation seems so obvious—there’s even a Hallmark holiday for it. But managers get busy and neglect to acknowledge their appreciation as often as they should. Instead, they save it for “Employee Appreciation Day” or a performance review. Or they hold out for the company-sponsored all-inclusive program. 

Make employee appreciation something that happens every day at every level of the organization.

Show appreciation in every conversation.

Show employees you care by ensuring every conversation is caring, candid, and constructive.

Frequent illustrations of appreciation directly from managers can have more impact than a formal program. Managers should show employees they care in every conversation. Think about the conversations you have on a daily basis. Are they as productive as they could be? Do employees leave conversations knowing that you care about them both as people and performers and that you’ll be honest and open with them? 


Value their opinions.

One way to show care and compassion is to make sure employees know they’re valued. Show you value employees by asking them to share their thoughts. In any conversation, give employees an opportunity to share their opinions, ideas, concerns, and issues before you share yours.

When we asked employees what they needed most from their managers, the number one answer was to feel heard by their manager.

The most common manager-employee conversations are Check-In and Feedback conversations. Following a simple framework for these conversations will ensure that employees have a chance to express themselves and really feel heard. Use three questions as the framework for check-ins, troubleshooting, or feedback conversations:

  1. What’s working?
  2. Where are we getting stuck?
  3. What can we do differently going forward?

Provide frequent feedback.

80% of Millennials said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over a formal process. 60% of employees (of any generation) report that they prefer feedback on a daily or weekly basis. That number increased to 72% for the majority generation—Millennials.

Value their development

The GROW Model is a framework for conversations that makes them more organized and productive. It helps employees solve their own problems and commit to their own solutions. When employees solve their own problems, they’re more committed to actions.

It can also be used for personal development and growth. When a performer is stuck—on a project or in their career—they can use GROW as a problem-solving framework to think through their options and commit to next steps. 

Use the GROW Model to help employees develop confidence to solve their own problems through Breakthrough Conversations. These conversations show employees you value their success and development. 

Learn about a course that can help employees learn and apply the GROW Model for themselves.

Don’t put off employee appreciation for once a year. Make it a part of your culture using frequent, frameworked conversations. 

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