MSB’s Top 3 Tips for Employee Appreciation

Posted by on March 13, 2015

When was the last time that your boss offered you a sincere thank you or brought you a latte “just because?” Minnesota School of Business (MSB)-Richfield showcases great suggestions for how to appreciate your employees. Incorporating these ideas can help you make the work environment more fun, but also inspire employees to contribute more to the organization. Before we give away all of our tips, we’d like to share the most recent employee appreciation efforts at MSB-Richfield.

Patrick Shay, Karen Miller and Michael Poster enjoying some homemade soup

The Campus Leadership Team at MSB-Richfield work hard to consistently model the organization’s “We Care” philosophy, by making staff and faculty feel valued and appreciated. Recently, they took their efforts up a notch in celebration of National Employee Appreciation Day. Although an “unofficial” holiday, the day was created in 1995 by Bob Nelson and his company, Workman Publishing, to remind employers of the importance of showing their teams they appreciate them.

The Campus Leadership Team took the holiday seriously, making homemade soups to share with the staff and faculty, along with salad and bread, as well as cookies made by our very own Financial Aid Manager Carol Barta. Associate Director of Career Services, Diana Welter was especially impressed by the soups.

“I feel like what meant the most was that the leadership team took the time to create something in their home and bring it to work, rather than buying something. The effort it took them to make the soup showed their desire to share a bit of themselves with us,” Diana said.

Richard Grieman, Heather Hakanson and Kendra Saal contribute to the Wall of Fame

Librarian Carol Roos enjoyed the Wall of Fame, which comprised of a star with each employee’s name along with personalized notes from the leadership team highlighting the qualities/contributions that are most appreciated about that employee. Other staff and faculty members were invited to contribute to the positive kudos as well.

“I love working for MSB. I love the students, and to be recognized as a participant in their success encourages me to strive even more to make their college experience an even better success,” Carol said.

In addition to the receiving the star treatment, complete with a delicious lunch, employees played games and everyone received a water bottle with the slogan, “My boss thinks I’m kind of a big deal.”

Leadership at MSB-Richfield recognizes the importance of employee appreciation, not just once a year, but on a regular basis. Appreciating employees helps boost employee satisfaction, morale, productivity and even performance.

“Employee appreciation is important to build a community in the workplace, and employee retention is supported when people feel that management cares about them,” Director of Career Services Liz Ashantiva said.

Forbes Contributor Cheryl Conner discusses the role gratitude plays in inspiring employees to engage and produce stellar work. Conner says that when employees feel they are cared for, there is more trust, hard work and ultimately a greater focus on growing the company.

“I feel like the more appreciated we feel, the more work we will do, and the more we will all pitch in to help when needed. If I feel like my boss is invested in me, then I’m more likely to be invested in her,” Diana said.

Everyone has different ideas about what employee appreciation looks like, so for a manager’s efforts to be successful, a focus on what is meaningful to the employee is key. We took to social media to ask employees everywhere what makes them feel appreciated. (Hint: Asking employees for their ideas is one way to show appreciation.) Some common themes emerged, contributing to the list of suggestions below:

  • Be sincere. More than gifts and public recognition, employees find meaning in a sincere thank you note or a genuine message of gratitude for a job well done. Try to offer immediate feedback and be specific about what you appreciate. Cursory thank you’s won’t fly here. You have to mean it.
  • Be Flexible. Employees appreciate flexibility, not just because it contributes to work/life balance, but because it shows their manager trusts them and has confidence in their ability to manage their time and get the work done. Allowing employees to telecommute, make schedule adjustments to ease their commute, or even offering a floating holiday, can go a long way.
  • Be Thoughtful. Knowing your employees well enough to know what they are interested in makes your employee appreciation efforts more successful. Publicly recognizing an employee who is uncomfortable in the spotlight can have the adverse effect! Engage in meaningful conversation that allows you know the interests and passions of your team outside of work; then, you can customize a gesture or gift to meet their needs. For example, one Facebook poster noted that she felt appreciated when her boss sent Legos to her son when she had to travel for work. The supervisor knew that the employee’s son loved Legos and would missing his mom during the travel. He also knew that family was a priority for this employee.

Stacy Severson, Portia Heller and Miriam Williams

Faculty member Portia Heller provided a great summary to the feedback we received from staff and faculty.

Regardless of your budget, finding ways to show employees they are appreciated, is key to longterm business success. Whether you offer a handwritten thank you card, a public award, or homemade broccoli cheese soup, be sure to incorporate efforts to engage employees in your strategic plan. Feel free to take a few cues from the Richfield team when planning your next appreciation effort.

Faculty member Portia Heller provided a great summary to the feedback we received from staff and faculty.

“The highlight was simply spending time with a group of wonderful people who delightfully enjoy each other’s companionship. Our managers are wonderful, supportive, empathetic, compassionate and understanding. An Appreciation Day was really not necessary, because all of us always feel immensely appreciated,” Portia said.

Thank you for your Interest in Minnesota School of Business.