Happiness Delivered: 12 Simple Ways to Appreciate your People

Think of the times you’re most productive…are you feeling happy or disengaged? Studies show that happy employees bring greater resiliency and profitability to a business in the form of increased engagement, improved customer experiences, and the ability to adapt.  Feeling recognized and appreciated for your efforts is fundamental to your workplace happiness.

Recognition is an amazing tool that is available to businesses of any size. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but at the same time it shouldn’t have no cost. Just as you would have a budget for accounting or marketing, you should have a budget for recognition (usually 1-3% of annual salaries are recommended).  After all, your people and social capital are your company’s most important asset.  Some occasions and milestones call for a beautiful recognition award, however in most cases simply being thoughtful and creative works wonders.  With that in mind, here are 12 simple steps that you can take to recognize your people and help them feel appreciated and happy:

  1. Send handwritten notes – keep a collection of cards on hand and write a note to thank people when they do something you appreciate. A thoughtful, handwritten message can be powerful.  Bonus: use a handcrafted paper stationery to enhance your message.
  2. End every meeting with a round of verbal recognition – whenever you meet with people, make a habit of appreciating them for something they’ve done recently. It’s a great opportunity to communicate your values and end your meetings on a high note.
  3. Encourage staff to recognize one another – recognition is not only top down. Encourage your staff to recognize and appreciate one another to build stronger teams and communities.
  4. Create a fun award – recognition doesn’t have to be serious, it can also be fun. Some companies have an award for “Best Mistake” that encourages people to take risks.  At Eclipse we have a “burnout” award that goes to the last person that makes a mistake – even though it’s done good-naturedly, no one wants this award on their desk!
  5. Create a recognition wall – use a whiteboard with dry erase pens and encourage people to write messages of appreciation to one another. Public appreciation is powerful.
  6. Take your eyes off the clock – to show your appreciation for someone, let them come in late one day and start at 10am or noon (at full pay of course). Everyone appreciates the gift of time.
  7. Be sincere – recognition does not have to be polished or practiced. In fact, it’s best when it’s real and unrehearsed. The most important thing is to speak from your heart.
  8. Say “Please” and “Thank You” – so simple, yet so often overlooked. These social signals make up the fabric of your culture by communicating respect and appreciation.
  9. Have a BBQ or catered lunch – order in some staff favourites, or better yet, cook your own and enjoy a meal together. Eating together is a great way to connect with your people.  Bonus points if you learn what kinds of foods they like!
  10. Give out silver coins – 1 oz silver maple coins are a great way to give out spot recognition because they are valuable in a number of ways: as a precious metal, as a type of currency, and as a recognition award.  At Eclipse Awards we give these out whenever someone goes above and beyond in a way that supports our company mission.
  11. Go on a field trip – take your team to meet with a supplier or visit an art gallery or Granville Island.  It gives everyone a chance to look at things from a new perspective.  Step outside the usual box and amazing things can happen.
  12. Empower your people – give them the ability to make decisions and then support their decisions. Give them parameters at first, such as all decisions up to $250 can be made by the employee, and see how it works. The trust you show will help them develop and grow.

These are simple ideas that you can implement today to appreciate your people. Challenge yourself to think about it daily and turn recognition into a habit.  When you create a culture of recognition and appreciation, your people will feel more engaged and motivated to help you succeed.  Nurture your people – be thoughtful, creative and sincere – you will be amazed at the results.