You’ve just completed a load of laundry, folded and put your clothes away, and found all matching pairs of socks. Does sticking a gold star next to your name play in a distant memory? Or did you silently fist bump yourself? What about the last time you poured your heart and soul into a project and absolutely nailed your vision? Can you remember how you celebrated the milestone? Crushing big and small goals are uplifting, and the feeling of accomplishment is even greater when others take notice and celebrate with you. One simple act of acknowledgment and appreciation plays a key role in human connection and motivation, and regular recognition in the workplace can contribute to a highly motivated and productive employee.
Whatever industry you’re in, ensuring that your employees feel valued is one of the best short- and long-term business decisions you can make. When it comes to taking care of your employees, it’s of course important to prioritize the big things, like flexible working conditions, fair treatment, and career opportunities. But the little things are just as important — how you show your employees that they’re appreciated is one critical step that can often be overlooked. If your goals are to increase loyalty, lower turnover, and lead a team of badass humans, take a deeper look into investing in your company culture.
It starts with remembering that we’re all humans and we can share the same values when searching for job satisfaction. What matters is how we use our work contributions to become more connected to our team and organization as a whole. We’ll share six things we value as humans and why it matters in the workplace.
It’s the little things that humans value
- Getting to know a teammate: Our colleagues are people. Let’s view them and treat them as such — as a person who is worth more than a title and job responsibilities. Life can catch up to anyone. From senior managers and executives to entry-level employees, we all have different challenges, and it’s okay to be vulnerable. Personal interactions matter. Connecting one-on-one helps build successful, meaningful relationships.
- Having time to just be: Work should take the backburner at times. Try pairing up two folks and give them 30 minutes to share slideshows, fun animations, photos, or just talk. The ‘always on’ culture can burn out employees. Managers should lead by example and also encourage teams to take time to recharge — PTO and vacation time are meant to be used.
- Sharing birthday wishes and life milestones: Birthdays don’t always mean a fancy night out at the Cheesecake Factory (though we do love a classic cheesecake and a glass of wine). Set up a simple Kudoboard or pass around a birthday card to share your gratitude. Just remember and acknowledge that employees have a life outside of work. Marriages, new babies, or other major achievements are worth celebrating, too.
- Indulging in team fun: Break ice together, laugh together, and do all the fun things you can think of to just get to know each other. If you’re an Office fan, try breaking out into your favorite character from the sitcom.
- Expressing team and individual recognition: Our team flocks to the “UDG Props” Slack channel to celebrate each other as both people and employees. The goal of frequent, public praise is to celebrate each other as often as you can. We promise it’s free, it takes two seconds, and it feels amazing!
- Never forgetting the new folks: Simply say hello with a favorite emoji. Sending a personal message to ask how they are doing or if you can do anything for them will blow the door wide open for new teammates to flourish, ask for help, and more.
Why it matters to value the big and little things
Great leaders cultivate a company culture that is invested and inspired. They actively recognize that employee efforts, big and small, are important and bring value. Almost 40% of respondents in an employee engagement study answered that personal recognition encourages them to produce better work more often. But it’s more than productivity — 87% of employees believe employer actions directly impact their mental health, and regularly recognizing employee contributions may help create a psychologically healthy work environment for employees. Always think about the “why” behind your organization and its goals. Do employees join your team to solely increase revenue? No. People join companies because of their story and their “why.” Think about who your brand is, who it’s not, and who it wants to be.
The bottom line: people want to work for good humans. Employees are more than sales and revenue generators. Your team needs to be heard, and your team needs to feel compassion. Focus on getting to know who you’re working with — do the little things like showing gratitude and sharing a laugh. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation or company announcement in a fun way: for us, Slack is our lifeline to riddles, dad jokes, funny memes, and GIFs. However your organization chooses to recognize and reward its employees, be consistent and most importantly, be a good human.