When it comes to employee appreciation, Human Resources departments around the world try out countless strategies and employ innumerable tactics in order to figure out just what workers want the most. Countless time is spent investigating which benefits and programs are those that are best at keeping employees happy and productive, but there’s a secret that most HR managers don’t even think about: there’s a very simple answer to what employees want more than anything else — they want to be valued.
Employee Appreciation is Easier Said than Done
It’s one thing knowing what it is that your workers want on a philosophical level. It’s another thing altogether to be able to bridge the gap between the idea of “being valued” and the act of making an employee feel that way. This translation from theory to practice is, of course, the task that HR personnel face nearly every day.
The truth is, though, providing high levels of isn’t necessarily about things. Performance-based bonus or incentive programs are nice, but they’re often interpreted as the “carrot” of the carrot-and-stick approach, often seen as a blatant push for more productivity. Meanwhile, events like company picnics are more of a pleasant diversion than anything else. So what’s a manager to do when it comes to showing just how much your company values its workers?
Forge Connections, Receive Feedback, Provide Value
There’s no secret sauce when it comes to driving feelings of being valued within your workforce. In fact, it requires hard work and diligence not just from HR but from supervisors of all stripes to build a corporate culture that stresses the importance of employee appreciation. The best path is to forge connections with workers, receive their feedback, and then provide value based on that feedback.
Too much of the time, employees develop an “us versus them” mentality, where it’s workers on one side and management on the other. The key to short-circuiting that process is to build relationships with employees through meaningful interactions. Creating rapport in such a way showcases the importance a company places on its workers, and it engenders positive bilateral relationships between employees and their supervisors where employees are comfortable enough to provide honest feedback. This feedback can then be used to craft corporate policies or practices that address employee needs in a valid — and valued — way.
Supercharging the Employee-Employer Relationship
There are a number of ways to build relationships between employees and employers. The tactics and strategies management chooses are less important than the impetus behind them; if supervisors approach workers with a genuine desire to build a meaningful and positive employee-employer relationship, workers will respond to this sincerity. That being said, there are methods that work better than others.
One of the most effective of these methods is to engage periodically in activities or events that reinforce the types of positive traits needed to build employee appreciation. Team building events are positioned particularly well in this regard, thanks to their focus on communication and collaboration. Additionally, the core tenets of team building — which are to value diverse levels of thought and methods of accomplishing tasks — translate well to building relationships between workers and management.
Appreciating Value Leads to Appreciated Employees
There is nothing more fiercely loyal than a workforce that feels at home. Workers that know their employer listens to them, values their opinions, and responds positively to feedback are just happier — and happy workers are more effective and productive ones. Doing your best to provide higher levels of employee appreciation will pay big dividends for your company in the long run.