CEO Insider

4 Team Appreciation Initiatives to Drive Engagement

This article discusses unique was to show appreciation to your team day in and day out. When your employees feel recognized and valued, they are more likely to produce high-quality work and stick around longer. Consider some of these strategies as you plan and execute your next retention strategy.

Employers everywhere seem to have trouble figuring out how to hold onto good employees. In many cases, they’re overlooking an essential element: Reimagining their cultures to promote high levels of engagement.

Gallup figures suggest that only 15% of global workers feel engaged at work. So, what’s missing? One answer could be a lack of regular and unbiased employee recognition.

Workers — especially Generation Z and Millennials — have expressed their desire for more recognition in the workplace. They want to be feted, rewarded, and noticed for doing the right things. Otherwise, they’re less likely to be loyal to their company, leaving them more apt to leave. Among those who receive recognition, only a quarter believe they are fairly noticed compared to the honors and kudos received by some of their peers.

These are troubling findings. They also point to the need for employers to experiment with ways to create value-centric, high-engagement cultural models. What’s the solution? I recommend starting with employee appreciation activities. As only someone in the diesel engine industry can, I equate investing in appreciation-focused strategies like investing in a Cummins 4BT engine Jeep swap: You’ll wind up with a more powerful force (your people) to help you navigate the terrain ahead (your goals.)

If you’ve never tried appreciation activities in your organization before, the following recommendations are great starting points. To get the most benefit, consider empowering a group of your most positive workers to set up future appreciation gatherings and experiences.

  1. Launch an employee-of-the-month program.
    This seems like such a little thing, but workers can feel valued when they receive a monthly honor. Plus, you can set up your employee-of-the-month program to include anything you want. This could be a bonus, a special perk, a parking spot, the opportunity to take one extra day off, or whatever else you decide.

    Another advantage of highlighting a worker each month is that you can use the program as part of your online marketing. Write a blog about the employee. Talk about the employee’s achievements on social media. Host a YouTube video with the employee. You’ll get a bit of a branding boost while rallying your team.

  2. Organize field trips.
    Field trips aren’t just for kids. They can also be exciting and even educational getaways for employees who need a break. Taking a field trip once or twice a year can give everyone a chance to let their hair down. It also can be a way for you to support another local business, such as taking a trip to a nearby museum or entertainment hotspot.

    If your employees have a collective passion for a particular charity, you could arrange a field trip to include in-kind work. Taking care of animals together at a shelter or helping build a house through an organization like Habitat for Humanity strengthens bonds between coworkers. You can always top the event with a nice dinner to celebrate successes.

  3. Encourage people to express their gratitude.
    Saying “thank you” or “nice job” never goes out of style. However, many of us — myself included — get busy and forget to give nods to people who deserve them. You can change that by making it a practice to recognize at least one person every day. Be sure to encourage others to do likewise for the most impact.

    For example, you may want to start every meeting with shoutouts. Or, you could elicit shoutouts from attendees. Don’t forget that written thank-you notes can be meaningful, too. Your gratitude doesn’t always have to be public to improve feelings of engagement among your team members.

  4. Recognize your employees’ supporters.
    When your employees go home, they probably don’t just sit around and wait to return to work. They enjoy themselves by spending time with their people, pets, and engage in activities they love. As you learn more about each of your workers, take notes. Find out what motivates them at home. Then, send them something personalized on holidays like hand-picked swag or gift cards you know they will use.

Some bosses even like to send thank-you notes and small gifts to employees’ significant others, kids, and other cheerleaders. Celebrating all aspects of your workers’ whole selves shows that you’re glad they’ve chosen to be part of your company.

Work shouldn’t make employees constantly feel stressed or overlooked. Through the thoughtful deployment of employee appreciation activities and initiatives, you can increase the positivity and engagement of your team.


Written by John Clifford.
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John Clifford
John Clifford is a managing partner at Big Bear Engine Company, which has deep roots in the heavy-duty diesel industry — most notably in the remanufacturing and machining of large diesel engines. Their master engine builders all have 30+ years of experience building and working on diesel engines. They specialize in three medium-duty engine models: Cummins 4BT, Cummins 6BT and Caterpillar 3306. The company has also established itself as an industry leader catering to the 4BT Jeep Swap and Off-Roading Communities.


John Clifford is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.