In this third episode in a series of four focusing on the key pillars of employee retention, we are talking about appreciation.   How do you make your employees feel appreciated such that there is no reason for them to have a wandering eye towards a competitor?

Throughout this entire series, we have been talking about loyalty and how it is at the center of employee retention.  If you can improve the loyalty of your employees, your risk of attrition declines.  It’s simply common sense.   

We have already touched on trust and empowerment. Today we are walking through the idea that appreciation drives loyalty which in turn improves retention.  To understand how this works, we must first understand what appreciation is.

Most people assume appreciation is a card, an email, or a few words of praise in front of a group.  And while this is considered to be appreciated by some employees, I would tell you that surprisingly, it’s not considered to be “appreciation” by others. 

Take me for example.  I don’t want you to praise me publicly or thank me a thousand times for something I have done.  That’s more embarrassing than empowering.  Thank me, that’s fine.  But if you want to appreciate me, don’t make me the center of attention, especially if you make it a surprise.  However, other people love this, thrive off of it, and will be loyal to you forever if you surprise them and praise them in front of a large group for 15 minutes. 

The point here is that you have to have each person on your team define what appreciation is to them.  It could be:

Verbal/written praise–a note, an email, a shoutout, or something along those lines

Money–it could be bonuses, pay rate increases or surprise monetary rewards for a job well done

Status–it could be a change in title, conveying more authority and responsibility in the organization

Time–it could be some additional time off, time at a workshop, or even time with you to learn more and to build a stronger relationship 

These are just a few examples.  But the point is you need to ask each person on your team, and have them do the same for their teams, and so on and so forth.  Such that when you plan events in the company, you can know what your company prefers.  (Instead of you assuming everyone will feel rewarded for a company cookout when in fact, they would actually prefer an amazing meal served in the office so they can enjoy the food but get back to feeling empowered to do their job.)  Knowing how people define “appreciation” will help you maintain trust across your organization, and with trust comes loyalty.  

If I feel appreciated, I don’t need to look for greener grass. You are meeting my needs.  You are telling me I’m successfully being the hero, I’m successfully overcoming, and I’m doing well.  

Think about how you will learn about your employees or team members.  Have them define what appreciation is to them so you can then follow up on that and appreciate it in the way they have defined it.  Build loyalty on your team through appreciation. 

Be Legendary!