In today’s dynamic workplace, employee appreciation isn’t just a nicety, it’s crucial for business survival. With a wealth of tools, resources and creative ideas available to leaders, there’s no excuse for not having ambition to create a highly engaged and thriving workplace.

Building an appreciative work environment requires commitment, flexibility and focus, but it doesn’t have to be overly complex. Not only will it improve your company culture, but it also brings tangible benefits like increased staff loyalty and satisfaction, improved motivation and productivity gains that drive overall business performance. Here are seven impactful ways to show your employees you appreciate them:

Support Work-Life Balance and Embrace Flexibility

Work-life balance should be a top priority for UK employers. Employers must actively support remote and hybrid work arrangements. A recent study by BHN revealed that 32% of the UK workforce is already enjoying this flexibility. Whether your employees are working in the office or at home, encourage a flexible approach to working hours; later start times, early finishes, or extended lunch breaks. This empowers employees to create a work schedule that fits their needs and in some cases the needs of their family. Be creative and suggest your staff find #TimeForMe – the concept of supporting personal well being through 15 minutes a week of ‘me time’ to do whatever they want to do…

Supporting Employees Through Challenging Times

With rising costs impacting 95% of consumers, employees are seeking additional support from their employers. Our research reveals that over half (52%) feel their employers could do more to help alleviate these pressures.

It is crucial to recognise your employees’ contributions, going beyond traditional rewards to address their everyday challenges. That’s why employers must offer flexible appreciation options tailored to their staff’s specific needs.

BHN’s research revealed that 70% of the UK workforce faces worries around grocery expenses, so why not offer a contribution to the monthly supermarket bill or a food-related gift-card for seasonal events (Easter Sunday or Christmas lunch). This could be, not just a thoughtful move, but a really meaningful gesture demonstrating your commitment to employee financial support.

In addition to company funded initiatives, you must ensure you give your staff access to a range of voluntary benefits that can help their salaries go further; cash back cards, salary sacrifice and discounted gift cards are just some of the options available.

Foster Collaboration Through Fun: Team Building Activities

Building strong team connections is vital for a thriving workplace, and creating engaging experiences is a surefire way to achieve that. The beauty lies in being creative and, as appropriate, taking people out of their comfort zones.  Some of my favourites are;

  • Challenge Accepted: Test your teamwork and problem-solving skills with an escape room adventure.
  • Thinking of hours: Giving up time and putting energy into a charity event. This could be a fun mud run or sleeping out for the homeless
  • Nature’s Calling: Something completely different like an interactive afternoon with birds of prey
  • Bonding Experiences: Share unique moments through cooking classes or volunteering together for a local cause.
  • Something different: Joining together to test skills in a life drawing session!

Make it Meaningful

While a general “thank you” is always appreciated, specific recognition packs a bigger punch. Did someone land a new client, provide exceptional customer service, help a colleague or even save the day by fixing the printer? When acknowledging their efforts, be sure to highlight how their actions directly contributed to the company’s success and tie to publicised company values and beliefs. This personalises the recognition and shows them the tangible impact of their work.

From our clients, we’ve learned that the best way to make staff feel appreciated is by rewarding little and often. Most employees look for consistent pattern and culture of feeling appreciated, using Trivial Benefits is a great, tax-free, way to do this. HMRC’s trivial benefits tax break means that employers can get pizzas for the team, or a bunch of flowers for someone going above and beyond, or giving our a gift card tax-free. This means lower costs for employers and a tangible reward for the employees; a win-win.

Investing in Their Growth

Employees value career advancement opportunities and staying committed to their development keeps them feeling motivated. From access to relevant courses and certifications to mentorship programs and networking events, it’s important to prioritise your employee’s growth, helping them to build new skills and knowledge. This investment in their growth demonstrates our belief in their potential and creates a culture of continuous learning and achievement.   Remember to provide context to the training offered and align with job laddering and career opportunities.

Showcasing Appreciation from the Top:

Feeling valued and recognised by managers and leaders is essential for employee motivation and engagement.  It is a natural human behaviour to want the boss to notice and appreciate what you do. Lead by example and overtly demonstrate your commitment and engagement to your staff. This can be done simply, in ways such as; handwritten notes or emails, personal mentions in the CEO’s newsletter/ highlights of the week, or individual and team recognition during company events. Sometimes ‘walking the floor’, or engaging in some coffee machine or water cooler chats can provide the best opportunity to take the time to say ‘thank you’.

Cultivating Appreciation: Beyond Quick Fixes

Many businesses fall short by only celebrating top performers or career milestones. Leaders need to find ways to extend reward and recognition to their entire workforce, whether it’s individuals, teams, or departments. Be creative in what you acknowledge and celebrate. This not only fosters appreciation, but also strengthens team bonds and deepens everyone’s commitment to the organisation.

These strategies aren’t meant as one-time fixes for fleeting morale dips. Instead, they should be integrated into a holistic, long-term approach to foster consistent employee engagement and satisfaction throughout the year.

Our research emphasises the power of continuous recognition. We found that 35% of employees crave monthly acknowledgement or rewards for their contributions. This consistent appreciation builds a positive and supportive work environment, leading to improved morale, enhanced employee experience, and higher retention rates.

However, despite the clear benefits, our research also reveals a concerning gap: 43% of companies lack a formal recognition program.

If your organisation falls into this category, it’s time to act. By implementing these strategies and creating a culture of appreciation, you can cultivate a thriving workplace where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to deliver their best work.

Chris Ronald
VP EMEA at BHN | Website | + posts

Chris is accountable for accelerating and enabling growth by creating high-performance teams and functions that work to scale the business. After holding leadership roles across both public and private companies for national and global brands, Chris has a wealth of experience when it comes to general management, sales & marketing, client success & service and operations. As a result, Chris is able to achieve strategic transformation and drive profitable B2B growth strategies for Blackhawk Network and its customers.