The PerformYard Blog

A practical look at building and implementing your perfect performance management process.

Showing Appreciation to Boost Your Employee Retention

Not too long ago, feeling appreciated at your job was the least of anyone’s worries.

As the economy dipped into a recession, the mantra of the under-appreciated, overworked and otherwise unhappy workforce echoed sentiments my mother often shared with me:

“You just wake up and be thankful every day for the job you have.”

Today, though, the situation is beginning to look much different. As a result, employee retention is quickly becoming a major priority.

According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 53% of employees would stay longer at their current job if they felt more appreciation from their boss. Even better, four out of five employees reported that they’re motivated to work even harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.


The good news is that showing appreciation for your employee’s hard work doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. Try these cheap, easy, but effective employee appreciation moves:

The Think About Your Future: Showing appreciation can go beyond saying thank you. Taking some time to check in with an employee and discuss their future opportunities for growth is a great way to show an employee that they are valued. This works because showing an employee that they are in your future plans helps ensure that your company is in theirs. Best of all, this move is free.

The It’s Your Special Day: The great thing about birthdays is that everyone has one, which means you have one tailor-made opportunity to make an employee feel appreciated each year. This can be as easy as getting everyone to sign a birthday card, or can go as far as providing a cake or other favorite food item for everyone to enjoy. Of course, birthdays aren’t the only special day that you can recognize. Weddings, new babies and graduations are other life events worth celebrating.

The Let’s Put This in Writing: In-person feedback is always the preferred method of showing appreciation, but isn’t always possible. In those cases, a simple email thanking an employee for a job well done that briefly outlines what they did and why you loved it can go a long way, too. Putting it in writing also leaves a historical record of a great performance that you can recall during a performance review discussion.

The Paper Plate Award: When I was a kid on the swim team we had an end of season banquet where everyone got an awards made on a paper plate. Sure, I always got the dreaded Most Improved Swimmer award, but there's still something that made me feel good about getting a homemade award. You can do this in your company by making a cheap award out of whatever craft supplies you have handy to pass around to a new high performing employee each month. Alternatively, you could do an annual awards ceremony recognizing each employee’s individual achievements. Another advantage of this move is that it keeps your craftiest employee engaged.

With these appreciation techniques in your employee retention toolkit, you’ll be taking important steps towards not only holding onto your workers, but also motivating them to work harder.

How do you show your team members that you appreciate them?

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