American’s spend 8.7 hours per day working. At least one-third of your life is spent conducing work related activities, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics More than 70 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged at work, reported by Gallup Polls on Employee Engagement.

Acknowledging positive behavior is the best way to perpetuate it. One way to create a positive workplace that engages employees is through appreciating and rewarding people for their efforts.

Here is a short list of ways to acknowledge and appreciate employees and coworkers:

Send a handwritten note. In a digital era, handwritten notes are rare and can have a huge impact on the recipient. A thoughtful handwritten note is often saved by being taped in their work area or saved in a drawer that is referenced many times over.

“We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer

Display a photo of the person. Have a Wall of Fame that highlights all of your employees. Add their photo on the company website and post it on company social media sites. Also, submit the photo with newspaper press releases. Best practice is to use a professional photo.

Hold an appreciation ceremony. This can be a formal event or as informal as part of an agenda item for your weekly team meeting where you take a few minutes for employees to verbally acknowledge the efforts of coworkers.

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” William James

Give away a gift card of choice. A smorgasbord of gift cards to choose from ranging in free gas, free meals, free hotel stays, or whatever. You can offer it randomly or you can tie it to performance milestones, or both.

Offer a paid day off. Everyone can use a day to take care of personal issues or to enjoy a little more leisure time. A paid day off can afford a three-day weekend or other excursion. It can provide the opportunity for the recipient to simply relax from the pressures of every day life.

Give credit to others. Cite your sources, publicly applaud the ideas of others and recognize the people in your life that have helped you. A deep sense of admiration and respect is built when a person gives credit to others. The opposite occurs when a person claims all the credit for him or herself.

“Everybody likes a compliment.” Abraham Lincoln

Cater a monthly lunch. Have lunch brought in that allows employees to eat with other coworkers. Take a few minutes to let everyone know how much the company values their contributions. This can be a great opportunity to acknowledge others for their efforts. It can also serve to celebrate the birthdays of employees during that month, or work anniversaries, or all of the above and more.

Provide development training. Offering ongoing training in areas like team building, leadership, effective communication, goals setting, and time management are just some of the offerings a company can provide to build a powerful company culture. It also helps to improve their personal life!

“Character building begins in our infancy, and continues until death.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Say, thank you. It’s easy to offer your appreciation, just say “thank you.” It only takes two seconds! For some people uttering these words is like an act of Congress. For others, they have simply fallen out of the habit of being courteous. Make it a point to say thank you when people honor your requests or when someone does or says something nice to you.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Mark Twain

Give VIP Tickets. Furnish tickets to their favorite famous band, professional sports game, art show or any event that they would enjoy that offers special treatment to attendees.

Provide random gifts. Create an inventory that coworkers can grab from to give to each other anonymously or in person. Each item is accompanied with a note that shares words of appreciation.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” Dalai Lama

Rotating trophy. Get a trophy that circulates through your team. Each person awarded the trophy holds it for one week then passes it on to another coworker. Each pass off from one trophy holder to another must announce why the person is receiving the trophy.

Give the power of voice. Create a culture of insight and innovation by allowing employees to be heard. This confirms that you value their opinion and perspective. Important ideas come from both ends of the organizational structure.

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” Henry David Thoreau

Be polite. Politeness opens doors while rudeness closes them. We make requests so that people will carry them out. One tool to increase the probability of gaining the help you want is to attach the word “please” when asking. Be sincere, too. If you are not sincere in your approach then your efforts will backfire. Be genuine.

Implement a succession plan. Develop a mentor and mentee program to develop your next level of leaders. Match current leaders with a future leader to share and transfer knowledge. Offering an advancement through mentoring makes one feel accepted and appreciated.

Provide autonomy. Set forth the expectations that are to be met. Provide the necessary training to meet or exceed performance is necessary. Then, allow the independence and self-determination to fulfill defined expectations. Freedom to perform is appreciation in action.

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” Henry Ford

Go for the win/win. Successful relationships is achieved when both parties’ needs are fulfilled. When fulfilling the needs of others, you are allowing them to walk away feeling good. Developing a win/win outcome establishes a positive connotation with the experience, which ultimately sets the tone for future interactions.

Offer an award plaque. Have a special plaque with their name and achievement on it that can be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf honoring them.

“There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” Mother Teresa

Support community outreach. Employees generally have a special cause they like to volunteer their time. Let employees use a couple hours per month or per year of company time to give back to the community.

Ask instead of telling. Generally, resent being told what to do. Exercise the habit of asking people to do what you would like them to do instead of telling them what to do. Remember, people respond much better when they are asked rather than told. Don’t you?

“I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” Charles Schwab

Encourage collaboration. Create a culture that collaborates on projects and departmental and organizational goals. Allow for brainstorming and input from everyone on how to best achieve goals.

Compliment more than you criticize. Search for ways you can compliment. If you are only criticizing, it will be hard to establish a positive working relationship that is needed to achieve organizational goals.

“I suppose my best attribute, if you want to call it that, is sincerity. I can sell that because that is the way I am.” John Wayne

Create a culture of engagement. Use a few of these ideas on how to acknowledge others and to show appreciation.

Best of success to you!


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