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Spread Employee Appreciation

20 Fresh Ideas for the Best Employee Appreciation Week

At Achievers, we couldn’t quite wrap our minds around designating just one day a year for employee appreciation. One special employee appreciation week, though — that can be a great opportunity to renew your commitment to showing your employees how much you value them.

Below are a few fun ideas you can use to really show your employees what they mean to you.

Optimize the Workplace

1. Create a Mentoring Program

Mentoring shows each worker that they matter, and creates new bonds of connection within the company.

2. Non-Work Lunch With the Boss

Take your team members out to lunch, either individually or in small groups. Keep the conversation away from work topics; instead, spend the time getting to know each person better.

3. Team Games

Make a list of fun activities (like bowling or laser tag) and ask your team to vote on their favorite. Be sure to offer appealing alternatives for anyone with physical limitations.

4. Do Your Employee’s Job for a Day

Draw names from a hat to choose one worker whose job you will do for a day. The chosen person will supervise you and make sure you do it right. You may just get a bird’s eye view of problems you weren’t aware of.

5. Crowdsource Innovation

Send out an employee survey asking for suggestions on ways to make the workplace run more smoothly, then hold a vote and promptly implement the winning idea. Your team will feel valued and you may well see an uptick in productivity.

6. Add Fun to the Break-Room

Sometimes, having a puzzle to work on is a great form of mental relaxation. Toy stores feature an incredible selection of cute, wacky, challenging and compelling amusements for all ages, and just seeing them will lighten up everyone’s mood.

7. Upgrade Office Furniture

Do people’s chairs need replacing? Providing your staff with ergonomic office furniture is a great way to ward off possible back problems and improve productivity. Your team will appreciate the fact that you care about their health.

Tip the Work-Life Balance

8. Massage or Manicure

Bring in two specialists and let each team member choose which luxury they prefer. Whether they end up with fancy fingernails or more relaxed shoulder muscles, it’ll brighten their day.

9. Housecleaning or Window Washing Coupons

Arrange for a bulk discount at a local housecleaning agency, and give all employees coupons for a single session at their homes. Even the tidiest housekeepers will welcome a helping hand.

10. Free Pass for Time Off or Late Arrival

These passes are sure to be coveted, and they’ll demonstrate that you respect your workers’ outside commitments. The flexibility of being able to pick a day to come in late, leave early or stay home will reduce the stress of conflicting demands, and will increase employee engagement.

11. Add a Fountain for Mental Refreshment

The sound of water is proven to bring a sense of calm and well being. Add a small water feature to your office, with a fern or two, and green up the atmosphere of your workplace.

12. Gift Certificates for Childcare and Dinner

It’s great to offer workers the chance to go out on a real date, but this can create extra expenses for those with young children. Professional child-care agencies offer gift certificates, allowing your employee to enjoy the luxury of a real evening out.

Offer Rewards and Recognition

13. Handwritten Notes

Yes, we mean just sit down with a pen and a stack of paper. Think about what each person has accomplished this year, and thank them for their specific efforts and achievements. It’s simple and straightforward, and will put a lasting form of validation into your employees’ hands.

14. Flowers

Natural beauty isn’t just for women; dramatic and colorful floral arrangements can be created to appeal to all tastes, and show that you care about aspects of life deeper than just the bottom line. For large teams, a major assemblage can be placed where everyone can see it.

15. Gift Cards

Everyone loves the luxury of getting to shop for free. Choose gift cards according to each workers’ preferences, or pick a type that covers so many different items that it’s guaranteed to delight every recipient.

16. Free Gym Memberships

This will add to your productivity by upping your workers’ fitness levels, and the extra exercise will improve their emotional health as well. Pair the memberships with some schedule flexing so employees can find time to actually get to the gym.

17. Artisan Food Delivery

Does your city have a gourmet cookie or cupcake delivery service? Handmade artisan food treats are becoming more common, and nothing says quality and caring like treating your workers to the best edibles out there.

18. Serve Breakfast to Your Team

Reserve the first hour of one day for a truly great catered breakfast. Once the food has been brought, grab a coffee pot and start pouring the coffee and serving the waffles. It will show that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your people!

19. Create a Team Scrapbook

Ask everyone to contribute a few photos, and take some of your own as well. Use photo-editing software to create a printable book, add some personal compliments and then print one copy for each person on your team.

20. Broadcast Your Appreciation

Take to your company’s employee recognition platform and give a shout out to everyone on your hardworking team. Recognition, whether monetary or social, is always welcome, and it takes on extra power when it’s offered publicly.

Employee appreciation is most effective when it’s given out on a consistent basis and is an integral part of your daily routine. For more in-depth discussion on building up your employee morale, download our report on The Art of Appreciation. And make sure to check out our infographic highlighting results from our 2018 survey on “New Year, New Job?”.  You’ll be surprised to see how many people are planning to look for a new job this year and what it takes to retain them.

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Are you looking for a great eBook? Check out our newest eBook highlighting 3 ways to make recognition an everyday event.

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Do you have any other fun employee appreciation week ideas? Share your comments below.

The Neuroscience of Engagement

The Neuroscience of Employee Engagement

Job satisfaction is at the heart of employee engagement. And as early as 1959, it received decisive momentum when Psychologist Frederick Herzberg published the Two Factor theory of motivation. Herzberg’s research suggests that fulfilment at work is due to two set of factors:

  1. Motivators – intrinsic conditions of the job
  2. Hygiene factors – extrinsic factors causing in dissatisfaction if absent

With more advancements in brain science over past decades, Herzberg’s psychological studies have been given deeper scientific substance. Today, neuroscience (the study of the nervous system) can explain the fundamentals of human motivation at a molecular level.

This makes me question: how can we leverage neuroscience findings to help optimize employee engagement initiatives?

Let’s explore …

Neuroscience and Motivation

In “Motivation on the Brain – Applying the Neuroscience of Motivation in the Workplace”, Kimberly Schaufenbuel details the four core drivers of motivation at work:

  1. Drive to Defend: this is the only brain circuit triggered when people feel threatened.The most common “threat” at work is to feel undervalued. Usually triggered by lack of feedback or line manager interactions, it can be fixed through continuous, positive feedback.
  2. Drive to Acquire: the need to seek, to take control, and to retain objects and personal experiences of value in pursuit of immediate gratification.This can be fulfilled with short term gratification through employee recognition and rewards.
  3. Drive to Bond: the brain is wired to be social, and this drive allows like-minded people with shared interests to work cooperatively together.This is strengthened by a company culture where collaboration is valued, and leaders positively “walk the talk”.
  4. Drive to Learn: The natural desire to make sense of our world and ourselves. It exists in a cooperative atmosphere where curiosity is rewarded and knowledge freely shared.Through appreciation and gratitude, you can encourage creativity and learning.

Address the Drive to Defend: Continuous Feedback

Drive to Defend- Neuroscience and Engagement

Did you know that our brain interprets “social pain” much like physical pain?

This is the conclusion of the work by Naomi Eisenberger, Psychologist at UCLA.

Let’s take employee feedback and annual reviews for instance. If sporadic, people can experience those as an attack on their “status”. The brain is quick to perceive feedback like a physical attack, and reacts with a defensive strategy.

Achievers, a leader in employee engagement and recognition, has been an advocate of continuous feedback and listening. Egan Cheung, Vice President of Product at Achievers, shared at the 8th Annual Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) conference in New Orleans:

“To engage a modern workforce, an organization needs to be continuously listening to its employees.”

Access to constant feedback is now real. Achievers recently released Listen, where employees can provide feedback to management on their day-to-day issues via check-ins and pulse surveys.

Achievers’ Listen goes even a step further, taking into consideration the importance of positive feedback. Allie, an intelligent, digital “coach”; interacts with employees in a familiar conversational way, while guiding employees with effective feedback and providing recommendations back to managers.

Address the Drive to Acquire: Incentives

Drive to Acquire - Neuroscience and Engagement

The value of incentives to motivate employees has been debated for long. Still, money can be effective to express appreciation: a survey by Harris Interactive and Glassdoor revealed that 75% of employees consider a pay raise as a form of appreciation.

But some leaders argue material gifts are a short-term fix only. What does neuroscience to say about it?

Receiving a gift triggers an immediate dopamine response in the brain. Described initially by Wolfram Schultzreward more than 30 years ago, reward systems in the brain heavily influences our behavior.

Achievers’ platform is a good example of alternatives to cash bonuses. Through points-based employee recognition, each employee can receive monetary and non-monetary based rewards and recognition.

And it works! As shared at ACE 2017, organizations using a rewards and recognition technology solution reported better levels of employee engagement, employee retention, and productivity over the course of a year.

Address the Drive to Bond: Social Connection

Drive to Bond - Neuroscience and Engagement

Matt Lieberman is the Director of UCLA’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab. In his TEDx St. Louis talk “The Brain and Its Superpowers”, he shares:

“Social is not one of our programs. It is our basic operating system.”

According to Matt Lieberman, the default state of the brain (when where we’re not cognitively engaged in anything specific) is to deepen our social cognition network. He shares:

“This network comes on like a reflex to think about other people’s minds — their thoughts, feelings and goals…It promotes understanding and empathy, cooperation and consideration.”

Promoting social bonds is a pivotal dimension of employee engagement. As organizations go global, a common platform to share and connect is a simple way to tap into social drive.

A case study covering Ericsson’s employee engagement and recognition program stated:

“The program spreads positivity throughout the geographically dispersed organization, connecting employees – through recognitions they post on daily basis – to each other, and to the company”

Address the Drive to Learn: Appreciation
Drive to Learn - Neuroscience and Engagement

Small acts of generosity and gratitude trigger a specific neurobiological feedback loop. Glenn R. Fox (Brain and Creativity Institute at USC), conducted extensive research and concluded:

“When the brain feels gratitude, it activates areas responsible for feelings of reward, moral cognition, subjective value judgments, fairness, economic decision-making and self-reference.”

Employee recognition can directly impact employee engagement levels. As the brain responds to gratitude with a positive feedback loop, needless to say that a recognition-based culture can do more than a feel-good effect! The by-products of gratitude at work are serious business assets, such as enhanced creativity, increased happiness and productivity, and better cooperation within teams.

By aligning your employee engagement strategies to main human motivation drivers, you tap into dopamine reward loops and create a lasting positive feeling.

What is the value behind employee engagement? To learn more, download this white paper covering The True Cost of Disengagement. 

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Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author

Coralie SawrukCoralie Sawruk helps global organizations create efficient team dynamics. A people-person at heart, she believes the ultimate competitive advantage is created by the right talents working hand-in-hand, cheerfully.

Coralie shares her insights on human-centric leadership and leading happy teams on her website.

Get in touch on LinkedIn.

 

 

Employee Recognition Spotlights

Spreading Employee Recognition and Appreciation Across Achievers

It’s that time of year again, time to give thanks! And what better way to give thanks than to thank our very own employees here at Achievers. A business is nothing without its employees, which is why we encourage frequent employee recognition and appreciation. Today, we’d like to highlight some of the top employee recognitions sent across our ASPIRE platform, powered by Achievers’ HR technology. We’re proud of our employees and everything they accomplish day-to-day. Check out some of our favorite recent employee recognitions and get inspired to thank someone in your organization for a job well-done!

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Achievers ASPIRE Employee Recognition Card

Huge shout-out to Achievers’ employees for everything that they do. If you want to know what it’s like to work at Achievers, check out our fun Achievers Facebook Photo Album. And discover how other companies are spreading employee recognition and appreciation with Achievers by checking out their customer stories here. Did I also mention that we’re hiring? Apply now.

Don’t let employee appreciation be limited to the holiday season. Start encouraging employee appreciation throughout the entire year with an unbeatable employee recognition and rewards program! Take the first step by downloading The Case for Employee Recognition.

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About the Author
Kellie Wong
Kellie Wong is the Senior Social Media and Editorial Manager for Achievers. She manages Achievers’ social media presence and The Engage Blog, including the editorial calendars for both. In addition to writing blog content for The Engage Blog, she also manages and maintains relationships with 35+ guest blog contributors and edits every piece of content that gets published. Connect with Kellie on LinkedIn.