A Big Fat Secret about Employee Appreciation

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March 3, 2011
Expressing gratitudeHere’s a secret….and I won’t even charge you for it. Free advice, right here from That’s Good HR. It has to do with yet another "day" officially designated to recognizing people we should already be recognizing every day of the year. Our employees. Do you want to know the very best way to celebrate "Employee Appreciation Day" this Friday, March 4th? Here it is….

TALK TO THEM! Tell your employees that you appreciate them. Plain and simple. No flowers, cookies, movie tickets, plaques, poems or form letters needed. Just a conversation please, however brief. Just a few minutes to look them in the eye, learn something new about them and thank them.

Truth be told, I think it is ridiculous that we have dedicated a single day to employee appreciation. Seriously, if you are not appreciating your employees on a regular basis then A) you have the wrong employees or B) you need to review your priorities as supervisor.  Or both.  As an Indianapolis staffing company, it can be challenging to stay connected to our employees as the roster changes every day. The nature of temporary work is that there are many talented people who are your employee one day and are not the next. Add to that challenge the fact that they all physically work somewhere else.  As you can imagine, we really struggle with communicating to our employees how much we appreciate them.  That is not an excuse – we know it is our job to figure it out and manage our communications with our temporary employees so they know we care about them.

We survey every one of our candidates after they come to our office to apply and interview (yes, we actually MEET our candidates before we submit them for a job) and then we survey them again each time they complete an assignment for us. Do you want to know what is MOST important to almost all of those surveyed? You guessed it – communication. Keeping in touch, keeping them informed, keeping them connected. Now, I would be outright lying to you if I said we had this mastered. I am telling you the truth, however, when I say that this is the top priority that we discuss, brainstorm around and struggle to master every day. When we figure it out, that will be another secret for another day.

When you are a temporary employee, you suddenly become part of a bigger group of people who all want the same thing….gainful and meaningful employment. I read an interesting post on Fistful of Talent that talks about employee appreciation and I love what it has to say. It is called The World Is Bigger and We Are Smaller – The Paradox of Recognition and here is an excerpt:

"Use Employee Appreciation day to find a way to connect one-to-one with each person on your team. Make them huge in your eyes. Don’t make them small by comparing them to everyone – make them big by valuing what and who they are individually.

It is a paradox. We want recognition on a large scale but value recognition from just one.

Shrink someone’s world and make him or her valuable to you. 

Ask yourself, how will I make someone large this week? Next week? All year?"

I concur. Now stop reading this blog post and go talk to someone and make them huge.