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4 Unusual Ways to Show Employees They Matter

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When we think about employee appreciation, most of us default to benefit packages and birthday celebrations. While these traditional ways aren’t without merit, it’s time to raise the bar.

When it comes to our organizations, it’s always advantageous to have highly engaged employees. Not only does employee engagement correlate directly with retention, it also lends itself to a much higher level of customer service. Showing our employees appreciation is one of the easiest ways to boost engagement. And while traditional methods like benefit packages and birthday lunches are important, there’s a whole other realm of possibilities that could make an even bigger impact. Ashley Lee went over in great detail how important it is to spark motivation in your employees.

What works for one employee, may not work for another. And so the guessing game begins right? Wrong. More often than not, motivation is presented through one of three areas: money, rewards, or recognition. And this is perhaps where the problem with motivation in business starts.

Can we motivate employees by showing how much they matter? I believe you can. Here are a few unusual (but effective) ways to show employees how much they matter.

happy employee

© Flickr user danxoneil.

  • Recognition of Personal Events

    We’ve all been to employee birthday celebrations. Gatherings like these are a tried-and-true way to express your appreciation, but there’s no reason to stop there. You can connect with your team on a more intimate level by making it a point to celebrate their personal achievements and milestones. Whether it’s a marriage, new baby, or even the purchase of a home, the sky is the limit when it comes to reasons to celebrate. No matter what, it’s never a bad thing to make excuses to treat your employees to food!

  • Have Their Back No Matter What.

    As leaders, we’ve all experienced the tough situation of an employee conflicting with a customer. And while it’s often said that the customer is always right, this mantra can be toxic for employee engagement (especially when the situation at hand involves a difficult client). In the case of a problematic client, it’s often worth taking a moment to ask yourself if the customer is truly right in this situation. Before moving forward, ask your employee for their perspective and make sure you’re really listening. You’ll gain crucial insight into the situation, and show your employee that you value and respect their well-being.

  • Don’t Leave Out the Fun

    While it’s true that we all have to make sure our policies and procedures are followed, there’s still always a little bit of room for fun in our organizations. Morale boosters like Secret Santa and office contests sometimes get a bad rap for being frivolous, but they can work wonders to boost engagement. While you never want a morale booster to get in the way of productivity, during stressful periods they can add some much-needed joy to your team’s day. Additionally, this is also a way for you to create fun traditions within your organization.

  • Actually Be Nice

    One of the most commonly overlooked ways to show appreciation is mind-bogglingly simple – be nice. Everyone wants to be shown kindness, and your employees are no different. Don’t forget to be gracious, polite, and appreciative. While it seems like a small gesture, it’s one that your employees will be grateful for. Plus, even the smallest acts of kindness can have a trickle-down effect, improving your organization’s overall culture.

Showing your employees that they matter doesn’t have to be a large-scale or expensive initiative. In fact, your gratitude is often best expressed through many small, meaningful interactions. No matter the methods that you choose, your efforts won’t go unnoticed. Creating a culture of appreciation will boost your employee engagement and lead to an overall positive work environment.

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Emily Tisdale
Emily D. Tisdale is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Recourse Resource Consulting, a healthcare experience consulting firm based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. Emily and her team supports healthcare organizations in achieving sustainable results focused on patient experience, employee engagement, and marketing.
Emily Tisdale


Biz Owner (Radius10, LLC + Recourse Resource) • Wife + Mom | Mixing life + work on this previously work-only account because, well, I want to👩🏻‍💻
At-home date night watching @KevinHart4real’s Zero F**cks Given and I. Am. Dying. 🤣 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 - 2 months ago
Emily Tisdale
Emily Tisdale

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