March 2 is Employee Appreciation Day. While setting aside time to reflect on how valuable our teams are can be a great day of celebration, it should be a regular occurrence. As you embark upon establishing your startup’s workplace culture, the atmosphere you create should include strategies for boosting morale and making your employees feel appreciated.
I reached out to Piyush Patel, corporate culture expert and author of the bestselling book, “Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work,” to find out how we can make our employees feel appreciated every day. Patel gives Lioness readers these three tips:
- Make employees feel like they belong. “Even before they walk in the door on their very first day on the job you can provide employees with the tools and information they need to feel like they’re important members of the team. Whether that means providing them with a team “uniform” or other company swag, or a company calendar that shows them what events and celebrations they can expect to take part it in their first year,” Patel said. “A sense of belonging can also be fostered through these company events and social gatherings. Forget employee appreciation day, how about a weekly happy hour at the local bar? A company trip to the neighborhood ice cream parlor? How about a company retreat that is focused only on giving employees the chance to bond and create shared experiences and memories?”
- Affirm employees on a regular basis in a way that meets their particular needs. “Some people need to be recognized in front of others, while some find that to be deeply embarrassing. Don’t assume that every employee likes to be celebrated in the same way. Take the time to learn about each individual to get a better sense for their preferred ‘language of appreciation’ and tailor your affirmations to them. Sometimes it’s a handwritten note, sometimes a gift, and other times something as simple as spending quality time with them,” Patel explained.
- Create a sense of meaning and purpose. He added, “Before you can provide meaning, you need to know what offers meaning to your employees. What are your team’s dreams? Have you asked? Meaning goes deeper than just what you do. Meaning goes down into the heart of why you do it. The company is not the tribe. Your tribe may be centered or focused around your company, but it’s about something more than just the commercial transaction. Be clear about the meaning and purpose behind your company and give employees a chance to weigh in on what that purpose should be. Creating a purposeful organization is the best way to show employees they are appreciated.”