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Small Gestures Can Make a Big Difference

April 21, 2021

As we all continue to navigate the 'new normal', we’ve entered a phase where more businesses are reopening and on-site employees are returning to offices where social distancing is enforced. Many employees are feeling their personal and professional obligations blend together. Add to this the pressure to ramp up productivity and remain motivated, some employees may be feeling their efforts are getting lost in the shuffle.

It’s more important than ever for managers to make sure their employees feel valued and acknowledged for their efforts. It doesn’t take much, but during times like this, simple gestures can make a huge impact.

Here are a few simple recognition ideas that can create a positive impact on your team.

Know Employees’ Recognition Preferences

One of the most effective ways to acknowledge employees is to know their recognition preferences. It can be as easy as knowing they prefer a quick thank you email instead of being recognized in front of others in a team meeting. Finding what forms of recognition resonates most with your employee creates memorable, positive experiences that can motivate them and boost morale. Providing individualized recognition doesn’t have to be an arduous process. During your next one-on-one with each employee, ask how they prefer to be recognized and start putting this into practice in your everyday interactions with them.

Make Sure Employees Know They are Seen and Heard

As employees return to the workplace or continue to work remotely, it’s important to make sure they feel visible within the organization. Loneliness among workers is on the rise. 61 percent of respondents to Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness Index Report said they felt lonely. Additionally, among remote workers, 19 percent report feeling lonely, according to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work.

It’s more important than ever to check in on your employees, even if it’s just a quick phone call or instant message to ask how they are doing. As business reopens and employees take on new protocols, be a source of reassurance by actively listening to their concerns and helping find solutions. Notice the everyday moments and acknowledge people for their efforts in real time. For instance, recognize an employee who helps a coworker learn features on a new software system or volunteers to help another department with a high-priority project. This real time acknowledgement will reinforce the value they bring to the organization and how their efforts contribute to the larger purpose.

Show Gratitude Regularly

In your daily interactions with your employees and colleagues, aim to lead with gratitude and kindness. We all may have things weighing on us right now, both personally and professionally, and we may not know the full scope of what’s happening in someone else’s life. With this in mind, it’s important to take the time to let others know you are thankful for the contributions they make and how they positively impact your organization. Set aside an hour each week to honor service anniversaries or birthdays that are coming up or write a quick note to any employees whose work stood out that week so that they are quickly recognized for their actions.

Employee recognition has always played a strong role in boosting morale and keeping teams engaged, but as we all continue to navigate a new normal as businesses reopen, recognizing the everyday actions of your team takes on a whole new meaning as it reinforces that their experience within the organization matters and conveys your continued support of them.

Topics: employee motivation, employee experience