In a Harvard Business Review article, the authors described the gap between managers and employees when it comes to effective recognition. “Managers incorrectly assumed employees knew how they felt about them,” they write, and managers “reported that communicating appreciation seemed really complicated,” although the employees did not share those concerns.

In contrast, employees shared five ways that managers could effectively express appreciation:

  1. Touch base early and often. The small talk, morning greeting and time to share stories is as important as any task-related work.
  2. Give balanced feedback. If you only share praise, it comes off as disingenuous; only criticism is deflating. Employees want both types to know that you are interested in their development.
  3. Address growth opportunities. Help your staff find new ways to share their talents and learn.
  4. Offer flexibility. It’s not just about remote work or flex scheduling but giving employees control over aspects of their job is an indication of trust.
  5. Make it a habit. Build giving appreciation into your routine and find ways that allow you to frequently and authentically share your appreciation with your team.

Employee retention is more important than ever. Consider incorporating some of these tips into your regular practice to help demonstrate to your team that you truly value them. Just thinking that your employees are great is not enough. Show them!

The Little Things That Make Employees Feel Appreciated by Kerry Roberts Gibson, Kate O’Leary and Joseph R. Weintraub in Harvard Business Review, January 23, 2020.

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