When was the last time a co-worker said thank you?
It’s either something you remember vividly or unfortunately hasn’t happened at all. That’s because positive reinforcement sticks with us. It makes the Monday mornings and the tight deadlines worth it. Knowing we’re doing a good job makes all the difference when times get tough.
If that’s so, why does the British workforce have an issue with office appreciation?
We spoke to 750 people across the UK and found that a mere 16.3% had heard a thank you from their boss in the last 6 months. In fact, only 32% of the people we asked said they ‘felt appreciated’ in the work place.
How important is workplace culture?
When you’re trying to attract new talent to your business, you can’t sit back and expect the candidates to come to you. More and more often, younger recruits expect more from their career and if they don’t get that feeling, they simply move elsewhere. No longer do people accept a ‘job for life’, what matters to Generation Y is workplace culture and how much they enjoy their job.
It’s something that many SMEs and start-up enterprises thrive off, whilst they might not be able to afford to pay competitive wages, they can provide a happy workplace environment where staff feel appreciated.
Let’s be honest we all have days when we struggle, but feeling appreciated for the work you do makes a huge difference.
How to make your employees feel appreciated
1) Speak up
Just saying the words ‘thank you’ and meaning them can make a huge difference to your staff. If you recognise how much they do for the business and know when to go over if they’re having a tough day, you’re on the right lines.
“Often people get so busy in work and forget to say them – for us it’s the little things that count. I’ve found a handwritten note in a fun card works well to say thank you and sometimes a public thank you on social networks highlighting how awesome that team member has been is a nice gesture. We reward our team members with various perks and social gatherings but by keeping it simple and taking the time to say a little thank you often goes further than a physical reward.” – Lyanna Tsakiris, MCIPR at Station Rd. Marketing.
2) Show employees that you trust them
Often frustration arises from a lack of trust in the workplace. Your employees will not feel like valued team members if you don’t let them have a little freedom to get the job done! Micromanaging their workload can add pressure and makes them feel as if you’re taking ownership of their success.
But trust doesn’t just come in one form. Some employers choose to take a huge leap of faith in their workforce. For example the two founders of PCA Predict, Guy Mucklow and Jamie Turner, decided to make one big change last year to show staff their appreciation and promote company loyalty. They became an employee owned business, with each employee holding a share in the company.
Guy Mucklow said: “Both Jamie and I are very keen to ensure that we have the best talent and that we do our utmost to share our success. As a shareholder in the company, I am also hoping that my colleagues will treat the business like it’s their own and very much feel as though they are invested in its future.”
“Business owners have a level of passion and commitment to their businesses which is hard to find in other types of enterprise. This connection to the business is why employee owned enterprises have faster growth rates, happier customers and are ultimately more profitable than those which are not.”
3) Make sure the whole office gets a say
Whilst Directors have ultimately responsibility for employee happiness, you should promote a culture of gratitude throughout the whole of the office. You might thank your staff enough already, but middle management might not. It’s all about spreading the love in the office!
One way Clare Ashby, Practice Manager at Taylor Bracewell LLP, promotes this attitude in the workplace is with ‘the chocolate cupboard’.
“The chocolate cupboard is available for all staff to use when they see another member of staff doing a good job, or going above and beyond. For example, a client may turn up for an appointment on the wrong day and the fee earner is not available. Another fee earner overhears the situation and offers to sit and speak to the client, to try and ease any concerns until the appointment. Our receptionist could overhear the conversation and get a bar of chocolate and give it to the fee earner as a ‘well done’.” Clare explains.
As we mentioned before, it really is the little things that count. By implementing this, Clare is teaching her co-workers to start considering the workload of their peers. When you’re snowed under with your own work, it can be hard to recognise the struggle that other people face. The chocolate cupboard helps to keep staff aware of the good work our co-workers do, promoting a wider culture of appreciation.
4) Hold your own awards ceremony
Our clients take real pride in their team. We’re often commissioned to create branded awards to help recognise the efforts of their staff, with many hosting their very own award ceremonies.
Hosting a corporate awards ceremony gets everyone under one roof to celebrate the talent and achievements of the business. It helps you highlight the staff that help make your business dreams a reality and gives the whole workforce something to work towards. All the winners will feel as if all their hard work has paid off and they’ll have a constant reminder of your gratitude. Such a prestigious event will show any potential employees that your company is a great place to work for!
5) Keep it consistent
Make sure you aren’t just saying thanks when times get tough. Staff will soon catch on if you’re over working them and trying to soften the blow with a small ‘thank you’ after plenty of late nights in the office. Consistency is key when it comes to promoting an appreciative workplace culture.
“We believe it’s important to foster a happy working environment in order to show gratitude to our staff. That’s why we find little ways to say thank you throughout the year, by providing free massages on a monthly basis, treating the team to lunch once a month and providing life coaching sessions for those that want them.” Spencer Lawrence, Lettings Director at Paramount Properties.
A happy workplace is a much healthier environment. When you invest in your co-worker’s happiness you’ll instantly notice an improvement the atmosphere of your office, and in turn the quality/efficiency of work that is completed. It only takes a matter of minute to show appreciation. Take a moment to say thank you to your staff today and nature a better workplace culture for your business today.