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How to Help Employees Feel Valued at Work


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.

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