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APU Business Editor's Pick Original

Today, Let’s All Participate in Employee Appreciation Day

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A pat on the back. Recognition. Praise. Let’s keep them in mind during Employee Appreciation Day today.

There are routine actions that are often missing in too many companies. Hostile work environments don’t just spring up; they are created over time. Their daily behaviors include complaints, harassment, and offensive or lewd remarks. The boss or supervisor is often the source of a non-productive work environment either by allowing negative conditions to persist or by engaging in offensive and discriminatory practices.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

Poor communication or behavior can lead to poor work habits and ultimately to a hostile work environment. According to Legal Dictionary, this type of environment is defined as “unwelcome or offensive behavior in the workplace, which causes one or more employees to feel uncomfortable, scared, or intimidated in their place of employment.”

Creating a Productive and Positive Work Environment

Alleviating hostile environments is no easy feat. Employees at all levels need to identify, report and encourage productive work environments.

In addition, productivity takes many forms, and studies confirm that praise and productivity go hand in hand. According to career expert, Gen Y career coach and social media marketer Rich DeMatteo, “A few words of positivity can help your employees manage their stress levels and be more productive. As a result, you end up with a happier, more productive business.”

Employee Appreciation Is Key to Retaining Good Employees

Management experts Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton’sThe Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance” cited data from a 10-year study of more than 200,000 employees. They found that managers who consistently praised their employees have a lower turnover rate.

Conversely, “79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.” The same study found that more consistent workplace praise also helps employees achieve better results and higher appreciation.

So if you are a manager, supervisor or teammate, take some time today to show appreciation for your employees. Employee Appreciation Day, the first Friday in March, provides employers and managers with an opportunity to celebrate the efforts of their employees and to strengthen the bond between them.

Each Employee Will Have a Personal Preference on How to Be Recognized

Each employee is unique, so it only stands to reason that each will have a personal preference on how to be recognized. Recognition can range from certificates, plaques, a monetary award, a private phone call or a direct email.

In the professional environment, employees may also receive time off awards in lieu of a tangible award. Professional development opportunities are also popular, which award employees with a temporary detail, specialized training, or leadership opportunities.

The goal is to be sincere, prompt and descriptive when you’re creating a form of appreciation. If you don’t know, ask the employees which method of recognition they would prefer.

Virtual Forms of Appreciation for Employee Appreciation Day

Before the coronavirus pandemic, recognition came mainly as in-person activities, such as a lunch, games and bonding activities unrelated to work. However, if you are looking for ideas in the virtual environment, here are a few:

  • Send an email
  • Leave a voice message
  • Sponsor a virtual game day
  • Sponsor Employee Recognition Hour
  • Send e-certificates of appreciation

The work environment should be a place of common goals and energetic productivity, and it should ultimately allow employees to accomplish the mission and vision of the company. Taking time to recognize employees for their hard work and loyalty is key to accomplishing these goals today.

Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, CLTD, PMP, is a professor at American Public University and has over 25 years of experience managing projects that specialize in project management and supply chain management. A global speaker and STEM advocate, she obtained a B.S. in meteorology and an M.S. in meteorology and water resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in public administration from Nova Southeastern University.

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