7 simple ways to show employees you appreciate them

Making employees feel appreciated and important can be as easy as celebrating a birthday or going out for drinks.

We’re already one month into 2014, but it’s not too late to set some resolutions. Why not consider how you could transform your company with more appreciative actions in the new year?

Make a difference in your employees’ happiness and productivity with these seven resolutions:

1. Say “Thank you.”

The end of the year is a great time to review your employees’ efforts and write a card noting their dedicated work. Everyone should be recognized for the contributions they make.

2. Pledge to start small immediately.

If you haven’t started making small acknowledgements of your employees’ work, it’s time to think about how you can start taking those actions. Start with thank-you notes or gifts with a card. Starting small is the first step to thinking big.

3. Plan quarterly appreciation events.

Make time on the calendar for regular recognition events.

These events don’t need to be a huge time or resource sink, but regularly taking your team to lunch, bowling or for drinks after work will pay dividends in more-invested employees.

4. Push an informal culture of gratitude , starting with management.

Encourage managers to start informally expressing their gratitude for their employees’ hard work.

Ideas that would work for any team include praising employees for innovative ideas at the end of emails, or taking a minute in a meeting to encourage people to voice their thanks to others on the team.

5. Mark life events on your calendar.

The beginning of the year is the best time to get everyone’s birthdays and life events on the calendar. (Think about upcoming nuptials or new bundles of joy.)

Set a reminder two days before the event to get a card signed by all team members or to organize a small gift collection. While everyone should feel appreciated for their efforts with or without the calendar, making a special note of life events is an important step.

6. Start an employee-of-the-month program.

If you haven’t already instituted an employee-of-the-month program, it may be time to start.

If your company is large, each department could have its own employee-of-the-month. Otherwise, set a reminder to ask managers to submit their stand-out employees for company-wide recognition.

It often feels like certain departments are unduly represented in employee-of-the-month programs, so try to select people from different areas of the company as much as possible.

7. Consider formal appreciation programs.

If your company doesn’t have a formal appreciation program, think about putting one in place this year.

I hope these seven resolutions will start off your company’s new year with a resounding cheer for gratitude’s sake!

A version of this article originally appeared on the O.C. Tanner blog.

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