Most companies include a list of work anniversaries in the company newsletter, but how many truly make it a special occasion? The days of awarding the clock and ultimately the gold watch are long past. Even picking out “your special award” with your allotted number of points based on your pay grade and tenure just don’t seem very personal any more.
What if you implemented an onboarding program where you photographed each new hire and even made recognition of their first 30 or 90 days with the company? Use some levity (Hey, this is all about Cheer Leadership™ and having fun, isn’t it?) and shower that new hire with the “You found your way back to the office!” award for a month of consistent attendance. Or what about the “You survived boot camp” award for successfully making it through the 90-day initial period? Imagine the surprise and smile on your co-worker’s face when they show up to the staff meeting and it’s “Francesca Hudson” day as “Rookie of the Year.” A photo of Francesca as the newbie on her first day is shared while the supervisor lauds how she has added value to the company and grown through her fresh start. Those personal compliments about how much Francesca is appreciated and how her contributions are valued will surely build loyalty so much more than the company newsletter mention among a list of others.
To get creative, there are online resources that can help you create a word cloud with the thoughts the team contributes to describe Francesca. This will be one thing on the desk that is kept long after the company pen runs out of ink. It also stands as a tangible reminder to that employee that their coworkers value and appreciate them. This will help make sure the inspiration to live up to those expectations continues.
Did you know that one study found that nearly 80% of people who quit their jobs did so because of a lack of appreciation at work, while another report noted that many workers prefer appreciation, purpose, and autonomy (rather than promotions and raises) to feel engaged?
When employees don’t feel appreciated, recognized, or valued, I think we all know the potential results by now - lower engagement, decreased morale, less productivity, and higher attrition. All of these can negatively affect not just your team or department, but the organization as a whole.
One easy way to show appreciation for those on your team is by recognizing certain milestones! It doesn’t have to be the “traditional” 1 year work anniversary or 5 years of service. It can be something like meeting 30 day goals, successfully tackling an in depth project, or rocking a company-wide presentation for the first time. Being intentional about working towards creating a culture of appreciation and acknowledgement will go a long way in keeping employees engaged, excited, and loyal to the company and its mission.
This week, I challenge you to get creative and start brainstorming ways you can recognize certain milestones those on your team meet. Depending on the size of your team, it might be helpful to set up some type of system so you remember the anniversary of Deandra’s first day or when Solomon landed his first “big fish.” Acknowledging these events will go a long way in showing your team you appreciate their accomplishments and hard work!
FUN FACT: The tradition of giving a gold watch upon retirement can be traced back to the 1940s and the Pepsi Company. Pepsi’s management embraced the concept, “you gave us your time, now we are giving you ours.” This thought was applicable when employees worked for the same company for decades.