Appreciation is a key to the success of all teams under the Sun, be it a family, a housing society, a charity, a school, a corporate team, a project team, or any other team of people working towards a common goal! Appreciation acts as a big motivator to successful performance for most people. But for now, let’s focus on understanding the role of employee appreciation in an organizational context.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a huge disruption in the way businesses operate. All teams right from the client-facing to project support and managing the back-office adapted to the revolutionary model of remote and hybrid working to ensure the business continuity. Teams started relying on technology and working in silos. The pandemic accelerated the pace of digital transformation out of necessity.
As a result of this radical shift to working from home, the employees got disconnected from their peers and managers. The spontaneous ways of showing appreciation for good work, achieving KPIs, or going beyond and above expectations to help a colleague or a customer got curtailed. The element of planning to show appreciation got highlighted in the new normal hybrid work culture.
When employees feel appreciated and recognized for their contribution and achievements, both the organization and the employees tend to benefit. Team leaders and managers can engage better and in a meaningful way with their teams by sharing positive feedback and appreciating even small successes.
Research has shown that employees value appreciation from their peers and leaders and getting appreciated for their efforts and achievements goes a long way to retain them and improve organizational success.
Team leaders and managers need to understand that only good compensation cannot keep their teams motivated. Also only giving feedback when something goes wrong will not help improve team performance. In a hybrid work environment where the managers cannot see and meet their teams in person all the time, they should give more weightage to getting to use appreciation sessions, emails, social media posts, and meetings to keep their employees engaged.
Improved job satisfaction, better stress management by employees, improved productivity, improved team dynamics, effective employee engagement, improved customer delivery, and better quality of life for leaders and managers are all the results of the culture of appreciation.
Appreciation need not be only top down. Leaders need to set up and facilitate a 360-degree employee appreciation framework. When the teams are cross-functional, all team members can appreciate their peers, managers, and subordinates.
People have a natural need to feel appreciated, but it is also seen that people become insecure if they have to appreciate others. This is especially difficult in a formal corporate setting.
Therefore, it becomes important for the leaders, managers, and the HR teams to take responsibility for encouraging their team members to express appreciation without getting worried about any competitive jealousy.
Training employees on the organizational vision and values and incorporating the ‘appreciation culture’ in the employee appraisals can be a good start to bringing the cultural shift.
Every organization has a set of vision and values that define its organizational culture and identity. Employee appreciation can be used as a feedback mechanism to ensure the protection of this very corporate identity.
Adapting the concept of servant leadership can also help bridge the gap between the top management and the teams and create an open feedback system where the employees feel safe and share both positive and negative feedback about other teams.
Mere intent of showing appreciation towards employee behavior or achievement is not enough. Here are three critical factors for the successful implementation of the Employee Appreciation initiative.
Understand the profile of your team. Millennials are now in the leadership roles and Gen Z entering the workforce. These generations prefer purpose-driven work. They are more inclined to trust employees to work from anywhere as long as they deliver as planned.
They also are more open to feedback from peers, value appreciation from peers, and are confident to give good praise to their subordinates and managers. So, HR leaders need to facilitate relevant channels of appreciation.
Each organization has its own cultural identity. For example, a startup may be functioning in a more flexible, spontaneous manner as compared to a larger and more established multinational corporation. So, employee appreciation can complement the organizational culture.
The decision to share and communicate the appreciation towards team members or team or the department can be done in the common employee meetings or on a personal level. The immediate managers can choose the appropriate platform to share appreciation.
Traditionally, HR teams used many creative ways to show employee appreciation. But with the changing office structures and remote or hybrid working teams, are these ways still useful?
Let us explore some of the creative ways which HR teams and managers can use to show employee appreciation in the new normal hybrid working where some team members work from remote places and the others work from the office.
At Verinite, we believe that appreciation is essential in the workplace, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple pat on the back, a genuine thank you, or a thoughtful email – these simple and genuine expressions inspire us and keep us motivated.