Why It’s Good To Show Employees Appreciation At The Holiday Season (And Year-round)

Why It’s Good to Show Employees Appreciation at the Holiday Season (And year-round)

I recently read an interesting article written by Jacquelyn Smith, staff writer at Forbes magazine,  “How To Show Appreciation And Get Better Results From Your Employees This Holiday Season.”  The article shared results from a recent Employee Appreciation Survey conducted by the online jobs and career community Glassdoor. It revealed how appreciated employees feel by employers, what really motivates them at work and what employer-provided perks they want most this Thanksgiving.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor among 2,044 workers, found that 53% of employees would stay at their company longer if they felt more appreciation from their boss. In addition, 81% said they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

According to Allyson Willoughby, Glassdoor’s senior vice-president of people and general counsel, “Most employees just want to feel appreciated and valued. They want to be involved in decision making processes, do interesting work and have a purpose.”

“If employers keep this in mind, they’ll likely longer retain some of their most talented employees.” And don’t forget, she says, “the time a boss spends showing some appreciation, thus helping retention, is time spent not having to recruit and interview an employee’s replacement.”

When it comes to actions employers can take to show appreciation, money leads the way as three in four (75%) employees say a pay raise is a motivating and valuable form of appreciation. Other forms of appreciation employees want from employers include unexpected treats and rewards (46%); feeling involved in decision-making processes (40%); and career opportunities (37%), among other things.

10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees

Show appreciation by saying “Thank You.” Showing simple forms of appreciation can really go a long way in motivating employees to work harder and be more productive. This includes offering a simple “thank you” with a hand-written thank you note. This is good news for employers of any size because thank you notes and lunches are easy, inexpensive ways to show appreciation and employees love it.

Praise something your co-worker has done well.  Identify the specific actions that you found admirable; more than just saying, “You did a good job.”  You can also emphasize the actions that you’d like to see the employee do more often and provide clear direction.

Ask you co-workers about their important interests.  Questions and acknowledgements about their family, hobbies, weekend or special events are always welcome.  Your genuine interest, rather than just being nosey, shows people that you care and acknowledge and value them.

Offer staff members flexible scheduling.  If feasible, post a calendar so people can balance their time off with that of their coworkers. At the holidays, flexible scheduling is a benefit that all employees desire.

Present a personalized gift for a job well-done.  Know your co-worker’s interests well enough to present a small gift occasionally. This may be as simple as a greeting card to celebrate their birthday, or to offer sympathy when a coworker is ill or experiences a family death or illness. This gesture will lighten up their day.

If you can afford to, give staff members money.  End of year bonuses, pay raises, quarterly bonuses and gift certificates are the most sought after ways to show appreciation.

Almost everyone appreciates food.  Taking co-workers to a restaurant for lunch or dinner is a great way to acknowledge a special occasion, or achievement of current goals or a promised timeline.  Let your guest pick the restaurant. Alternatively, bring food in for your team, such as home baked treats, chocolate, bagels or other treats every once in a while, to show appreciation.

Create a fun tradition.  The seasonal office party, Secret Santa gift exchange, or just plain celebratory traditions like “Treat Tuesday” or other types of group mixers, can be an opportunity to show appreciation to employees and boost morale.

Change titles and/or roles for deserving employees. Job title or role changes and improvements give a real boost even when increases are not available.

Finally, provide opportunity. People want chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate on a special committee where their talents are noticed. They like to attend professional association meetings and represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events; it doesn’t just have to be for your executives.


Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, once said, “There are two things people want more than sex and money…recognition and praise.” Time and time again the one motivating factor at the top of most employee lists is appreciation for a job well done.

Anyone can perform a task at work knowing the end-result is a salary. However, passion and hard work often stems from affirmations employees hear from their boss or manager. Workers don’t just crave a paycheck — they want recognition, verbal appreciation and encouragement. Employee appreciation is never out-of-place. In fact, in many organizations, it’s often a scarce commodity. Make your workplace the exception. Use every opportunity to demonstrate your gratitude and appreciation to employees. No occasion is necessary, although the holiday season tends to be a time when there is heightened focus on gratitude and appreciation. In fact, small surprises and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year are key to building a positive and productive workplace.

Sally Stanleigh

Sally Stanleigh is a senior partner in Business Improvement Architects and the Chief Operating Officer. Sally manages the operation and develops and implements communications, marketing and promotion programs. She is also responsible for spearheading and managing the company's corporate research projects. Sally has a background in marketing and communications and previously worked as a senior product manager with multi-national corporations such as Colgate-Palmolive and Phillip Morris before founding Business Improvement Architects with her husband and partner, Michael Stanleigh.

On occasion, Sally is asked by clients for help with business planning. She facilitates the planning process as a consultant and helps clients with the development of their marketing plans and programs. She has also presented to professional groups on such topics as: customer feedback systems, employee motivation, development of incentive programs and trends.

You may contact her at sstanleigh@bia.ca.