Appreciate to Accumulate: How Employee Engagement Starts with a Thank You

3rd April 2015

Employee engagement - a the buzzword of the moment, with more and more companies realising the importance of a happy and motivated workforce. Here, we discuss why engagement is so important and how to implement it without spending the earth.

Employee Recognition
Recognising and appreciating an employee’s hard work is only beneficial to the employee when they hear it from above. Employee recognition is one of the most important parts of maintaining a dedicated team; they know when they are working hard but are they being told by management and immediate superiors that their hard work is being noticed?

Results from various studies have shown that businesses which regularly show their workers appreciation create a more productive workforce who are less likely to leave, resulting in a much lower turnover rate. Organisations with a specific strategy towards employee recognition reported a reduction in stress levels among workers of up to 28.6% too, which could be seen to directly influence how they view their job. In fact, companies who have an employee appreciation strategy have found that they have a staff turnover rate that is over 20% lower than organisations without retention strategies.

Free Engagement
The costs of employee engagement and retention strategies need not be as high as many may think. Studies have shown that dedicating as little as 1% from the payroll to engagement strategies can have a marked effect on staff’s personal wellbeing and happiness. Something as simple as a thank you or a public notice of appreciation can do wonders for a disengaged workforce. There are figures to support this with 58% of people stating the one thing managers could do to improve engagement is to give more recognition.

A shocking number of employees report being disengaged at work; in fact just 13% of employees worldwide report being motivated and engaged at work. This calls for a deeper understanding of what kind of incentives bring out the best from employees, and the answer does not have to be related to money. Although financial incentives are a good way to get people to work harder, it is a more existential request for appreciation that most employees would rather see fulfilled.

What Can Be Done?
Companies who wish to implement a more thorough employee engagement and retention strategy do not have to dedicate a large amount of funds to it. There are numerous free ways to show employees that they matter, and many of them involve a simple thank you. Some of these inexpensive techniques include:

• Create an employee award system when targets are reached to help workers feel that their goals have been met and appreciated;
• Add ‘praise’ as an agenda in staff meetings to help promote a praise-based culture in which staff realise their work does not go unnoticed;
• Make a hand-made thank you card and personally deliver it to the member of staff who has impressed you or worked harder than necessary to meet a target;
• Managers can call workers into their office simply to say thank you without bringing up any other issues.

It is more important now than ever before to ensure employees are happy in their job and realise how important they are to the running of the company, regardless of the level of their position. Find small ways to thank staff and reap the benefits of a content workforce who are more willing to work hard not just for the praise but to promote and aid their business to further success, knowing they will be appreciated every step of the way.

"A shocking number of employees report being disengaged at work; in fact just 13% of employees worldwide report being motivated and engaged at work."