Fun Friday: How to wow your team on Employee Appreciation Day

Are you going the extra mile to recognise and reward your employees?

Fun Friday: How to wow your team on Employee Appreciation Day

Sometimes, saying “thank you” isn’t enough to convey the gratitude employers have for their team.

While Employee Appreciation Day happens only once a year – that’s today in case you’ve lost track! – businesses are going the extra mile year-round to reward workers in a genuine and concrete way.

These gestures are genuine when they are “specific, meaningful, and timely,” said Rob Catalano, co-founder and chief engagement officer at WorkTango, an employee feedback specialist.

And the act of appreciation is made tangible when you give employees the freedom of choice over the kind of perk they would like to receive.

“It can be a demoralising experience getting a reward that isn’t useful or doesn’t suit an employee’s lifestyle,” Catalano told HRD. “As much as the gesture has a positive intent, the reward can eliminate that positivity.”

READ MORE: Driving employee engagement through recognition

Top employee perks of 2020
Because of the move toward a more diverse and inclusive environment at work, employers are no longer settling for a one-size-fits-all approach to employee rewards and recognition.

An online survey by HRD showed a mix of different employee perks winning the hearts of workers across the world:

  • Financial wellness benefits: support for debt repayment and retirement savings, coaching on financial planning, stock options, performance bonuses
  • 100% healthcare coverage
  • Student loan repayment
  • Family care benefits: paid parental leave, financial assistance for childcare
  • Continuing education: scholarships, tuition assistance and mentorship programs
  • Wellness benefits: free or subsidised gym and spa membership
  • Fertility benefits: financial support for reproductive health, surrogacy and adoption services across genders
  • Transgender healthcare support: gender re-assignment surgery and therapy
  • Pet-friendly benefits: ‘paw-ternity’ leave and pet health insurance
  • All-expenses-paid vacation
  • Sabbatical leave
  • Flexible work schedule/telecommuting
  • Gadget benefits: free or subsidised plans for personal devices
  • Transportation subsidies
  • Shopping discounts

“Everyone has different motivations,” Catalano said. Sometimes, employees who receive a reward love to pay it forward.

“Many employees have leveraged choice of rewards to offer something as a gift to a loved one, which is much more meaningful,” he said.

READ MORE: Do employees prefer praise or perks?

Trends in employee reward and recognition
Catalano cited five trends changing the concept of employee perks:

1. Making appreciation inclusive: “Several organisations have introduced peer-to-peer recognition, allowing any employee to recognise others. They have removed the concept that appreciation must be top down.” 

2. Leveraging technology: “Many of these companies have adopted technology to help make it easy not only to recognise each other, but also to share those appreciation moments across offices and, in turn, make appreciation public to support better storytelling.”

3. Measuring appreciation: “Several companies share leader boards and insights around who is actually recognising, as opposed to only measuring who is being recognised. Companies expect leaders to leverage recognition with their teams, and it is a good way to build accountability around leaders keeping appreciation top of mind compared to their peers.”

4. Tying recognition to something tangible: “A large percentage of companies tie recognition to corporate values or principles. It helps align employees’ desired behaviours.”

5. Combining intrinsic and extrinsic motivators: “Appreciation can be the act of saying ‘thank you’ but can have additional impact through a reward. Many companies allow employees the choice to choose that reward from a catalogue of any item that personally motivates them. That reward is a constant reminder of the employee being appreciated, and a great reminder of the behaviour that warranted it.”

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