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May 31, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

An Employee Appreciation Brainstorm

May 31, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

An Employee Appreciation Brainstorm


By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

As I’ve traveled from city to city on the Future of Field Service Live Tour, there are some central themes that have surfaced in nearly every conversation. One of them is the need to focus more on employee engagement and experience, including:

  • Evolving how we train, upskill, and continually improve
  • Putting more focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Incorporating more empathy and human centricity into our leadership
  • Prioritizing the need to listen more to employees’ ideas, challenges, and feedback
  • Getting more creative about how we make our employees feel appreciated, recognized, and valued for what they do

In this article, I want to do a bit of brainstorming on that last point. I think what happens when we think about employee appreciation and recognition is that we went to think big – and while that isn’t a bad thing, it also isn’t always necessary. Often it is the smaller and more personal acts that have the bigger impact. So, while we can certainly think big, we shouldn’t shy away of thinking small and really just removing any preconceived notions about “what’s been done before.” It is, however, essential to do the thinking – and then the acting – on this important topic. With the competition for talent at an all-time high, and the role of the frontline workforce imperative to your customer experience objectives, ensuring your employees feel valued for their contributions has never been more important. 

I recently interviewed Arran Stewart, Co-Founder and CVO of blockchain-powered recruitment platform for the podcast and asked his input. “I truly believe that you should do regular reviews and always look to recognition and reward. You should build a recognition and reward culture. Celebrate small wins and make it publicly known what that human being achieved so that throughout the company they feel like they have been recognized,” he says. “And I know companies try and do it with things like employee of the week, employee of the month. I think you can be a lot more creative than that. I also think that rewarding people can be very simple in a sense like, hey, did you know that you’re being taken out for lunch today by the boss? That makes people feel great. It does.”

Arran also gave the excellent suggestion of never overlooking the value of polling your audience when you’re looking to make changes and be more creative. He gives an example in regard to recruiting: “Try and use that bottom-up feedback to maybe more senior ranking members of the company to realign the strategy around benefits, packages, attraction methods, work conditions, work style, all these different components that might then readjust, realign the dials in your hiring and recruitment strategy that will make it work for you,” he says. “I think that’s probably the best way. Listen to the candidate. That’s the best. The source of truth is right in front of you. You can read as many articles as you like, you can look at as many bits of information as you like. Go talk to the source. They’ll tell you. And if you see a trend, then you know that’s what needs to change.”

Think Outside the Box

This advice can also apply to understanding better how your employees would like to feel appreciated. If you aren’t sure what will resonate, ask! If you’re hesitant to do so, let me share a variety of ideas I compiled from a discussion on social media:

  • “A nice, handwritten note and food.”
  • “The best thing a company every did for me was gift a hotel and flight points for both myself and my spouse so that we could go away for a long weekend after months of working on an exhausting project. I was quickly headed toward burnout, and it helped that they saw it and wanted to make a difference.”
  • “Extra time off.”
  • “Wellness days. One day off a month or some regular interval with $100 toward spa, massage, or fitness.”
  • “It must start with fair compensation.”
  • “I think the biggest key to feeling appreciated is having a manager who listens to your ideas, gives you credit for them when they are worth pursuing, helps me achieve work/life balance, and trusts me to do a good job.”
  • “Don’t forget to say it – often simple communication is overlooked.”
  • “My company gives awards which have associated points that you can then use to buy a ton of different things.”
  • “Just saying thank you goes further than most realize.”
  • “Public shout outs or recognition for hard work are nice so that you feel you can be celebrated not just by a leader but by your teammates.”

Maybe some of these seem feasible for your organization and others don’t. There are also countless other ideas that you could come up with given a bit of effort. And that’s the point – make the effort! Never underestimate the value of the simplest things, but don’t be afraid to think differently and think big. Ultimately, making your employees feel appreciated goes a long way toward a positive company culture which will pay dividends in engagement and retention.