At the workplace, employee appreciation comes in many shapes and sizes. This is something all managers need to keep in mind, but especially new managers who are leading a team for the first time. While learning the flow of things, getting to know your employees, and basically figuring out the lay of the land, you also need to be thinking about fostering an engaged and positive work culture.
With so much on your mind, it can be overwhelming and difficult to take the time to recognize your team. At the same time, it’s easy to be a little too eager and a little bit too overbearing. At the end of the day, employee appreciation – like most things – is best when balanced.
If you just started out in a managerial position, take a deep breath, sit back, and read on to learn about a few common mistakes people in your position make about employee appreciation.
3 Mistakes New Managers Make About Employee Appreciation
1. “One Size Fits All”
Ah, yes…it’s a saying as old as time itself. We think that we’ll save time and be more efficient if we knock out multiple birds with one stone. Here’s the thing, though. Your employees are not birds and appreciation is not a stone. One kind of recognition will work great for one employee, but not so good for another. Instead of “saving time” – basically doing less work hoping to get the same result – speak to your employees, learn about them and how they think and communicate, and then go from there.
Things to keep in mind: Maybe one employee likes handwritten notes, another likes a little gift, and the other feels more motivated by a public shoutout. Learn your people. Learn their appreciation languages. Let the recognition flow.
When you make appreciation more personal, it’s noticeable. It will strengthen your relationship with your employees, will increase their productivity and engagement, and will overall result in a more positive culture. Moral of the story: DON’T CUT CORNERS.
2. “The Bigger, The Better”
In my opinion, the bigger the bowl of pasta, the better. BUT, once again, appreciation is not – and never will be – a bowl of pasta. And that’s fine, because sometimes you just really want a simple breadstick. Am I making you hungry? Good…go feast on small acts of recognition!
The thing is, while big gifts or larger acts of thanks are great, they aren’t always necessary. Has anyone ever made your day with a little note or a quick text? Sometimes the smallest acts can have the greatest impacts, so don’t feel pressure to do something extravagant. Personally, a card, a quick email, or short convo are my favorite ways to receive recognition. They are short and sweet and effective. Moral of the story: Small and personal > Great and generic.
“Less is More” … and “More is More”
As I said in the beginning, employee appreciation is all about balance. Too much of something all the time gives it less weight. None of something all the time makes people lose hope. The perfect ground is that beautiful meadow right in the middle. It’s bright and sparkly and full of possibilities. But how the heck do you get there?
This one is tricky because that meadow might be in a different location from one person to the next – in many ways, it’s subjective. So once again, LEARN your people. Most of the time, there is no such thing as too much appreciation, but it does need to be variable. Don’t ONLY send a thank you email every week or two…mix it up! Focus on smaller recognition tactics and then every once in a while, throw in something a little bigger, a little more sought after. This keeps your appreciation feeling special, and keeps your team feeling engaged. Moral of the Story: Find your team’s appreciation “meadow.”
You’ve made it to the end! Congratulations on your new role as a manager and welcome to the ever so beautiful world of workplace appreciation. Here at Baudville, we believe in you, and we have faith that you will not make these three employee appreciation mistakes. Happy appreciating!
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