Many of today’s companies are guilty of being part of the “check-box culture.” They set up policies and processes, and then check them off a list to show their team and the outside world they’re valuing employees.
The problem with the “check-box culture” is that it prioritizes results over people’s well-being and dehumanizes employees. No one ever stops to see if the programs are actually working, and employees are left feeling like numbers on a spreadsheet instead of actual human beings.
Today’s employees are rightfully skeptical, and they’re looking for companies that value their people. Employer branding will dictate the top companies in the next ten years. Employer branding refers to the process of differentiating and promoting your organization’s identity to job seekers, current employees, and other stakeholders. It’s your promise to your team and the overall perception of your organization by others. The ones who take this seriously will outperform others in attracting top talent and keeping them.
In fact, research shows people are much more likely to stay with a company if they feel valued. Employees are also more productive and team members perform better than those who don’t feel appreciated by their companies.
Making employees feel valued isn’t something companies can do once and check it off the list. It’s like a marriage. A spouse can’t treat their partner badly six days a week and do something great on the seventh day. Companies have to let their people know they’re valued consistently.
This often requires a complete culture shift with supporting programs. When it comes to valuing employees, a company’s culture is the language a company speaks to its people, and the programs are the megaphone to articulate that the company cares.
Valuing Employees in the Workplace (and Why it Matters)
Picture this scenario: An employee named Joe comes into the office on his 15-year work anniversary. He finds a gift card to a coffee shop with a sticky note from his supervisor on his desk that acknowledges that today is indeed his 15-year work anniversary.
Joe slumps when he notices there’s no thank-you note or congratulations. They didn’t shake his hand, and he doesn’t even drink coffee. Joe probably doesn’t feel very valued by his company.
Too often companies have recognition programs that fail to make their people feel appreciated. Instead, programs like the above scenario can have the opposite effect. Now, Joe feels underappreciated and like his company has no idea who he is, even though he’s dedicated fifteen years of his life to them.
The company is trying to do the right thing with the gift card, but instead, they miss the mark on all counts. The fact is it doesn’t matter how many programs a company has if the people don’t care.
Organizations need to create programs that aren’t self-serving and genuinely put the employee first. Otherwise, it will hurt them in the long run.
For instance, think about traditional wellness programs. They say it’s all for the employees, but if one were to pull back the curtains, the wellness programs are really about helping the employers save money on their health plans.
If companies want to show their employees they care and be among the top companies in the years to come, they have to find ways to adapt their culture and programs to help employees feel valued.
12 Ways to Make Your Employees Feel Valued
These are some of the top ways to show employees you value them.
1. Take Time to Check In
Supervisors should take time early each day to check in on each direct employee. A simple “Hey, how are you?” works well to establish a meaningful connection every day with each employee. While it might seem like a drain on the clock, it makes employees feel like their supervisors know and value them as people.
A Gartner study showed that companies that are involved in their employees’ life experiences have employees with 20% higher levels of mental health, further illustrating how important taking the time to check in can be for making an employee feel valued.
2. Ask for Employees’ Advice
When opportunities arise, leaders should find ways to ask employees for their input on projects and work tasks. It’s a straightforward and painless way to show an employee that their opinion is valued.
3. Provide Ongoing and Honest Feedback
Regular and personalized feedback is a terrific way to ensure employees feel acknowledged. Too often supervisors give general or infrequent feedback, which can leave employees feeling undervalued and unseen.
4. Show Appreciation to Employees with “Thank You”
From big tasks to small to-dos, verbally saying “thank you” is the easiest and most genuine way to express gratitude. As a bonus, expressing or receiving gratitude causes our brain to release serotonin and dopamine, the “feel-good” chemicals. Supervisors should actively bolster appreciation by thanking their people to create an impermeable atmosphere of mutual respect and good feelings.
5. Remember the Important Dates
Acknowledging employee birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates can be an indispensable method to make employees feel valued. Sometimes an unassuming “Happy birthday” and a sincere handshake are enough to make a person feel recognized. Anyone who’s had their birthday overlooked knows that failing to remember important dates can make people feel invisible and inconsequential.
6. Provide Employee Flexibility When Possible
Office hours may be immovable, but a bit of flexibility can help make your employees feel valued. Things like allowing caregivers and parents the flexibility to move around their lunchtime to attend their child’s soccer game or for employees to come in an hour later so that they can take that spin class at the gym can work wonders towards making people feel appreciated. Allowing employees to work fully remote, or creating a hybrid workplace that’s effective for your team are essentials in today’s working world.
Employees want to know their companies appreciate them and their lives as people outside of work. Allowing flexibility for personal life activities proves to employees that their company values them as the real life people that they are.
7. Follow Through with Tasks
Supervisors who follow through on their promises and tasks will supersede those who don’t. For instance, if a supervisor asks an employee to do research or complete a job, they will want to pay attention to the results. Even if the goals change while the person is conducting the research or project, they still did the work, and it needs to be acknowledged. Scrapping it without looking it over communicates to the employee that their work was inconsequential and that the company doesn’t value their time.
The critical point here is this: For employees to feel valued, their work and time must be treated with the same thoughtfulness as the executive teams’ time. If people are assigned a task or promised a meeting or told their idea would be given priority, and then it’s disregarded, it will undoubtedly hurt that employee’s sense of self and feelings about their worth to the company.
8. Invest in Employee Development
Employees who feel like their company cares about their personal and professional development are much more enthusiastic and satisfied people. Supervisors should take time to learn their employees’ values, work goals and use their knowledge to collaborate on a path for achieving those objectives.
9. Offer Comp Time
Sometimes employees have to work after hours or on the weekend. When this happens, companies should compensate them for their time. Even if the employee agreed to do it and they’re salaried, businesses should acknowledge their people’s sacrifice by comping any additional time. If monetary compensation isn’t possible, companies should offer another reward or benefit for employees who surpass required expectations.
10. Recognize Hard Work
If managers notice a zealous employee, they should act on it. Public recognition and private recognition are both cardinal practices to make employees feel valued. Private recognition through bonuses, raises and lifestyle benefits all work well, especially for employees who prefer to stay out of the limelight.
11. Give Compensation or Benefits to Show Value
Sometimes the best way to show appreciation or value is via direct remuneration or benefits like bonuses, raises, gift cards, extra time off, lunches and more.
12. Offer Personalized Lifestyle Benefits
Personalization is what makes people feel truly valued and appreciated. A really thoughtful gift means a lot more than a generic $50 Visa gift card. When discussing how to value employees, it isn’t universal. It’s unique for every individual.
Now that so many people are working from home, it’s easier to feel empathetic because everyone is getting a glimpse into each other’s personal lives. However, companies have to turn that empathy into action.
Traditional benefits can make people feel unvalued. They’re passive, low-lift items that don’t account for the individual employee. It’s why one of the best ways to make employees feel valued is by giving them custom lifestyle benefits.
Traditional benefits are easier, but companies who make a move towards custom fringe benefits show their employees they’re willing to do the hard-lift thing to go above and beyond. Looking for inspiration? Check out our list of unique employee benefits to get started.
With a personalized lifestyle benefits platform like Fringe, employees can use points to choose the benefits that make the most sense for them. They get to choose benefits that actually impact their personal lives in a measurable and meaningful way.
When a company gives Fringe points to a person repeatedly, like to celebrate life events, work events, hard work, etc., they’re giving themselves the ability to affirm the employees again and again.
In other words, employees are getting that repeat touch without continual new efforts. It’s easy-to-use custom affirmation.
These steps are just a few ways to show employees how they’re valued. If you want to know more about how to appreciate your people with Fringe benefits, contact us today to schedule a free demo.