It is a universal fact of business that when employees do not feel valued in the workplace, they are significantly more likely to feel dissatisfied with their job. If your staff does not feel like management appreciates their efforts and contributions to the team, you can rest assured that they already have one foot out the door -- and more than one Indeed tab open on their browser.
But despite what trendy Silicon Valley mega-headquarters have tried to tell us, this does not mean you have to invest in over-the-top office perks, hand out extravagant quarterly bonuses or schedule a workplace wellness retreat in Jamaica (especially not one like Gweneth Paltrow in Netflix's new Goop Lab -- if you know, you know), to show your employees that they are valued.
Here are five things your management team can do in a single work week to foster a positive workplace environment and show your employees that you care.
1. Make on-the-clock time for off-the-clock chat.
Knowing your employees' strengths and weaknesses in the office are essential, but truly investing in your team means getting to know them on both a professional and a personal level. As someone who lives and dies by my Google Calendar, there are too many times during the week when I am running from meeting to meeting and the only time I get to actually talk with my employees is when I first arrive in the office or when I'm in the elevator headed home.
Even if you have to schedule 15 minutes of your day to do so, make it a regular habit to check in with your staff about what is going on in their lives. From weekend plans to interesting hobbies, making the time to engage with your team about their home lives is an essential way to show your team they are more than just seat fillers. This is especially important with remote employees, as it is all too easy to feel isolated and undervalued when you do not have everyday workplace interactions as a crutch to lean on.
2. Send e-blasts for the big wins.
Everyone likes being appreciated one-on-one, but there's something even more valuable in being acknowledged in front of the entire office. Whether your team is 100-people strong or a handful of talented freelancers, make it a habit to send a company-wide email detailing the top workplace wins of the week.
The times in my career that I have been given a shoutout for my work in front of my team have stuck with me for years, and instantly instilled an overwhelming sense of pride and motivation to continue working hard as I knew my efforts would be seen and appreciated. By uplifting people on your team that have done an impressive job and amplifying their efforts to the entire company, it allows your employees to not only feel valued by the management team, but also by their co-workers.
3. Find weekly ways to practice workplace wellness.
It goes without saying that a large part of appreciating your employees is giving them the tools they need to succeed and feel comfortable in the workplace. A wellness-centric office does not have to be elaborate to be effective, but making a point of investing in the mental health of your employees is crucial to showing that they are valued.
Whether that means hiring a yoga instructor to come into the office once a week or simply taking a communal 15-minute break to practice individualized meditations through one of the many free apps now available, find a wellness practice that you can feasibly implement at least once a week and that your employees find meaningful -- if you're unsure of what this could be, don't hesitate to take a quick workplace survey!
4. Celebrate workplace anniversaries.
It may seem redundant to roll out a literal red carpet for someone's five year anniversary with the company, but celebrating workplace milestones is a great way to highlight the incredible accomplishments of individuals on your team.
By showcasing the impact their work has made on the organization and recognizing their efforts with pomp and circumstance (especially if it's beyond a boring plaque or sheet cake), your employees are more likely to feel appreciated and it increases the likelihood of long-term employee retention.
5. Listen to your employees (and reward accordingly).
It is easy to assume that everyone in the office would love to be treated to a free pizza lunch to celebrate a job well done, but the reality is that is not always the case. A great employer listens to their team members and can derive personalized gestures and acts of kindness that can make individuals on a team feel valued and appreciated.
Perhaps they have always gushed over a particularly decadent fondue place down to the street. Maybe a $70 sparkling water machine would brighten their afternoons each day. Whatever it is, taking the time to listen to your employees will make it easier to find small rewards that leave a lasting mark, instead of wasting your time and effort on grand gestures that will be forgotten once they are pinged with the next 'urgent' email.