Guest Post: Lillyan Wamaitha, Mvix
The employee workforce is the engine driving just about every company that exists—so why are so many hard-working employees feeling under-appreciated?
According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, 82% of Americans believe that their supervisors don’t recognize them enough for their contributions, and 40% agree that they’d put more energy into their work if they were acknowledged more often.
Clearly, there’s a disconnect here—and addressing this gap can offer big boosts to employee morale and productivity. If you’re looking for ideas, here are a few easy things to try out.
1. Give Public Shout-Outs
Who doesn’t appreciate a good old-fashioned shout-out now and then? This is a simple and time-tested way to recognize an employee’s hard work, but the way the shout-out is delivered is worth looking at. For example, a supervisor could give an employee a personal shout-out or pat on the back via email, and many of them do. But this method removes the social proof element of the recognition that many of us crave.
Come up with some recognition templates to display on your digital signage screens and set up a schedule for recognition. Make their names, photos, and achievements visible on the signage, and for an added bonus, share it on social as well. The idea isn’t just to pat them on the back, but to make it clear to other on the team that this employee excels at what he/she does.
2. Treat Employees to Lunch
Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” was mistaken! If you’re looking for an easy way to give your team a boost, a catered lunch can be the perfect solution.
But don’t just make the offer on the day of; make an event out of it and get people involved! Create a survey of different catering options (displayed via internal digital signage) and get their feedback on each option. If you set up a monthly lunch, for example, you can really generate some interest and excitement by getting people to vote on different options ahead of time. This is a great way to thank hard working employees while getting them invested in office activities at the same time.
3. Summer Fridays
Maybe it’s a holdover from our school days, when half-days felt like an early Christmas, but there’s something magical about the effect that half days have on employee morale. People just love them, no matter what the company is.
Summer Fridays are a trend that play into this love, offering a half workday on Fridays for a set number of weeks. This isn’t feasible for every business, but if you can manage it, it’s a powerful way to thank employees for what they do the rest of the week and give them a big push of energy as the week closes out.
4. Casual Dress Days
Many fresh, young companies don’t have specific dress codes for their employees. These employees may never know the joy of a casual dress day. If you typically have a dress code for your hard-working employees, give them a break every so often with a day where they can wear their street clothes into the office. Again, advertise these events well in advance on your internal digital signage to ensure that everyone knows about it.
It might sound simple—but in one study, 61% of employees agreed that they felt more productive when the company dress code was relaxed. And given that many employee dress codes are relics of a time gone by, what’s the harm?
5. Company Retreats
Company retreats aren’t feasible for every business, and many employees will never experience one—which is why they’re so powerful when they are used. Company retreats to scenic locations, resorts, or other destinations indicate a real investment in the participating team members. It’s not just a shout-out or a license to wear casual clothing—it’s a big-picture acknowledgement reserved for employees of a certain caliber.
Again, make sure you use your digital signage to raise awareness of this event. If there’s some qualification that employees need to meet, make those details known. And when the retreat approaches, send out reminders and notes to help them prepare. It’s a bigger commitment than many of these other strategies, so make sure you give it due care.
6. Happy Hours
Happy hour is a time-honored tradition among office workers. What better way is there to relax and let your hair down? While you may need to tread carefully in how you advertise alcohol-related events at work, you can certainly use local happy hours to boost morale for your hard-working employees.
One approach here is to make a regular event out of it. Have supervisors or team leaders organize an event at a nearby location and encourage employees to attend. If possible, take it further and coordinate with the bar or restaurant ahead of time. You may be able to rent a private room and offer discounted drinks to your employees—the perfect recipe for after-work team building!
7. Let Employees Show Off
Digital signage shout-outs are great, but how about letting your hard-working employees direct the show? Rather than simply acknowledging them, let them use your digital screens to show off projects of their own! These may be work-related, or they may be personal, artistic projects that they’re proud of. Whichever way you go, you can incentivize employees by giving them the opportunity. Have them put together some materials and coordinate with your digital signage operators to get their work front-and-center in the office.
8. Simply Say Thank You
Sometimes, employee recognition is a personalized, ongoing effort on behalf of multiple team members. Other times, it’s something as simple as saying “thank you.” If employees aren’t used to receiving attention, this little phrase can yield surprising results—particularly if they’re delivered by upper-level management. In one employee survey, 52% agreed that their most memorable bit of feedback came from their direct manager or company CEO.
In other words, even if managers spend a mere five seconds thanking an employee for his/her work, it can be a memorable and motivating experience for the employee. This, more than anything else is your takeaway. Employee recognition doesn’t need to be complicated. All it needs is some care, a little ingenuity, and the right messaging strategy to bring your words to life.
Lillyan Wamaitha is the Marketing Manager at Mvix, headquartered in Sterling, VA. She leads a diverse team that‘s devoted to educating digital signage users on how to use content and design to communicate better.