How can organisations appreciate their employees?

03 Mar 2022 Client Blogs
How can organisations appreciate their employees?

This year’s Employee Appreciation Day is on Friday 4th March. It will be the first since the onset of the Great Resignation.  There are many theories about what is driving post-pandemic resignations. But one thing is clear: UK workers often feel burned out and undervalued.

With scattered teams working from home (WFH) and hybrid working the ‘new normal' it is easy for employees to feel disconnected. And underappreciated. 

Companies know that their employees are their greatest asset. Employee Appreciation Day provides an opportunity for HR teams and managers to take stock. Employee appreciation is essential in fostering a motivated and happy workforce. An survey revealed that 86% of employees said recognition makes them happier at work.

The difference between appreciation and recognition

The words “recognition” and “appreciation” are not interchangeable. Recognition is about giving positive feedback based on results or performance. Appreciation is about acknowledging a person’s value. This difference matters because recognition and appreciation take place for different reasons. Often businesses focus on praising positive outcomes (recognition). Companies should ensure they’re doing both.

Appreciation and retention

A Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey shows that 53% of employees say more appreciation from their boss would help them stay longer at their company. Businesses that engage in employee appreciation see improved retention rates and lower staff turnover.

Companies conducting exit interviews may see that lack of appreciation is a culprit in driving employees to leave. Some may have stayed if their employers offered more rewards and recognition.

A culture of celebration

The need to belong is part of the human condition. A culture that celebrates career milestones, life events, and group achievements increases a candidate's desire to join and grow within the business.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Michael O’Malley states: “The best places to work provide people with life satisfaction, as opposed to job satisfaction alone.”

Appreciation, Happiness and Productivity

In the TED Talk: 'The Power of Appreciation' 43% of people who feel 'appreciated' are more effective and productive.

With WFH, hybrid working and the possibility of a four-day week, productivity is a hot topic. Appreciated employees are more engaged at work. Findings from BetterUp show that 56% of employees who felt belongingness have a higher level of job performance.

SurveyMonkey reports that 82% of workers consider appreciation an important part of their happiness. An Oxford University report shows that happier workers are 13% more productive at work.

Types of Employee Appreciation

Employee appreciation takes many forms:

  • Day-to-day appreciation is frequent, simple and ongoing. It could include sending emails or e-cards.
  • Informal appreciation is when individuals or teams progress toward milestones. Or when they complete a complex project. These are often low-cost gestures such as lunchtime pizzas, after-work drinks or an earlier finish on Friday.
  • Formal structure appreciation often involves a nomination, selection process, ceremony or special event. It could be part of a formal recognition scheme.

Getting Started

It’s a good idea to ask employees what they would like so you are rewarding staff with something they value.

How to show appreciation

Nowadays, more companies value employee appreciation, rewards and recognition. It's something we see here at Morgan Hunt with our clients. They include:

Wellbeing Days

There is a correlation between work-life balance and employee performance and job satisfaction. Work-life balance:

  • reduces stress
  • prevents burnout
  • reduces sick leave
  • saves money
  • promotes a caring company culture

Remote working throughout lockdowns undoubtedly affected employee wellbeing.  A company-wide day off to encourage employees to look after their well-being can help.

Employee Recognition Programmes

Employee recognition refers to employees’ accomplishments. The most common programmes recognise one-time achievements.  Programmes can recognise team and individual work throughout the year. Consider asking current employees the type of recognition they desire most.

Over half (56%) of HR leaders believe recognition or appreciation schemes help with recruitment (SHRM). Candidates want to associate with employers that recognise and appreciate their employees.  These can include:

  • employee of the month club/award
  • annual awards events
  • financial incentives/vouchers
  • lunch with the CEO
  • earned time off

Celebrate anniversaries and birthdays

Do something special for employee birthdays and work anniversaries. A study found that employees were likely to leave after a year of employment. Don’t let the anniversary of an employee’s hire go unnoticed.  Acknowledging the important dates across your team shows you value them as individuals. This could be:

  • a coffee/bottle of wine/chocolates
  • greeting card
  • birthday day off
  • company-wide announcement
  • decorated desk

Regular employee surveys

Enabling employees to give feedback shows you value their input. Anonymous feedback portals or surveys ensure honest, quality responses. Consider having a mix of questions, like "Does your manager make you feel valued?" and allow employees to provide feedback. Employees feel valued the more they feel heard and want to contribute to the success of a company.

Appreciation portal

Giving and receiving appreciation increases morale, collaboration and job satisfaction. Some companies have online platforms where managers and peers can praise colleagues.

Offer learning opportunities

Investing in professional development shows you value staff.  For effective and cost-efficient ways to let employees learn new skills consider:

  • courses
  • conferences
  • tuition reimbursement
  • cross-training between departments
  • mentorships
  • budgets for learning materials e.g., books

Employee Appreciation Week (or Month)

Events throughout the week or month may include:

  • workshops
  • coffee and cake mornings
  • team lunches
  • offsite group/company activity
  • onsite massages/manicures
  • celebrations of teams’ cultural diversity

Say Thank You

A study from Each Person found that 51% of UK employees say a ‘thank you’ would make them feel more appreciated. A heartfelt thank you is a simple way to show appreciation.  While not everyone needs a ‘thank you’ to do a good job, many do. It won’t hurt those who don’t need to hear it, but it will mean much to those who do.


Finally, employee appreciation shouldn’t take place on one day. It should be integral to your company culture and adopted by management. Your employees are your most precious asset, now it’s time to appreciate them.

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