Friday 6th March is Employee Appreciation Day in the United States. On this unofficial holiday, US companies are encouraged to thank and appreciate staff for their hard work.
As with many other American exports, such as Black Friday and amped-up Halloween celebrations, Employee Appreciation Day has been gaining popularity in the UK in recent years too. In general, staff appreciation has become a hot topic in the area of staff management. For example, a CEO’s post about thanking his employee with a personalised message on a coffee cup recently went viral on LinkedIn.
But will marking one day out of the year to appreciate employees really help companies? It can certainly be a good start, but employee appreciation should be year-round for businesses to really feel the benefits of improved engagement as one of your key staff retention strategies.
Why does employee appreciation matter?
When you’re busy making sure the business remains compliant and protecting your bottom line, employee appreciation may not be high up on your to-do list. However, there are many business benefits to employee satisfaction that make it more than a ‘nice to have’ option.
Here are a few of the key areas where employee appreciation can make a difference to the company:
1. Employee appreciation improves productivity levels
Several studies have shown that employee job satisfaction is linked to an increase in levels of productivity. The Harvard Business Review published a meta-analysis of multiple studies that showed an average of 31% more productivity and 37% more sales when employees reported being happy/satisfied at work.
This correlation could well be due to a decrease in stress levels, as too much stress can have a negative impact on staff performance and productivity. Read our guide on how to reduce employee stress to improve productivity to find out more.
2. It improves your staff turnover rate
A high turnover rate can have a negative impact upon the viability of the business, as replacing staff is a costly process and work quality/productivity can dip while new staff members are getting up to speed.
According to Gallup research, a lack of recognition is one of the most common reasons why employees leave an organisation. Unfortunately, the more talented the employee is, the faster they’ll leave the organisation if recognition and appreciation aren’t properly incorporated.
It’s a case of getting out what you put in – if feedback and recognition are a part of your company culture, with managers encouraged to give positive as well as constructive feedback, then employees will feel more valued as an important part of the team.
3. It increases ‘buy-in’ for your important strategies and policies
When employees feel satisfied with their jobs, they're more likely to identify with the vision of the company and be on-board with important strategies and policies (note: providing good access to these via a document management system is also good for employee satisfaction, as employees will have all the information they need as soon as they need it).
Employees who feel appreciated and valued will also be easier to guide through times of change and growth within the organisation, making change management a much easier process for the benefit of the business.
Plus, did you know that rogue employees can be a major risk for data security as a form of insider threat? A disgruntled employee may be more likely to take sensitive business and/or customer data with them on their way out the door, whether for their own gain or to give to competitors. Depending on what has been leaked, this could also cause a major GDPR data breach for the company.
Related article: How to avoid a GDPR breach
Taking employee appreciation to the next level
Recently, Seattle-based card payments company boss, Dan Price hit the headlines for the positive effects resulting from putting all 120 staff members on a minimum salary of $70,000. This decision included lowering his salary to that benchmark (taking a pay-cut of $1 million) to address income inequality. At that time, in 2015, American CEOs earned 300 times more than the average worker.
Since putting the new minimum salary into action, his company has doubled in staff headcount and processes much larger payments on average than previously. Plus, 70% of employees have been able to pay off debt and the amount of money they are putting into their pensions has doubled.
This is a particularly sensational example, but plenty more businesses (including myhrtoolkit) are committing to paying all their employees the Living Wage at a minimum, as well as self-employed and contracted staff.
Could your business introduce a more generous minimum salary for all staff? What would be the potential benefits and pitfalls for you? Make sure to share your thoughts on Twitter and tag us @myhrtoolkit!
Written by Camille Brouard
Camille is a Marketing Executive for myhrtoolkit whose writing interests include HR technology, workplace culture, leave management, diversity, and mental health at work.