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The importance of recognizing your employees’ hard work

Happy Administrative Professionals Week! What have you got planned to acknowledge your hard-working support staff? If you’ve decided to do nothing this year, you may want to rethink that. According to a survey conducted by staffing firm OfficeTeam, two-thirds (66 percent) of workers surveyed said they’d likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. In contrast, just over half (54 percent) of senior managers interviewed believe it’s common for staff to quit due to lack of recognition.

A token of appreciation

“All professionals like to be acknowledged for their contributions, and not just once or twice a year,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “While monetary rewards are always crowd-pleasers, companies don’t need to spend a lot to show appreciation to their workers. Regular praise and even tokens of gratitude can go a long way.”

Thanks, but no thanks

While it’s true you don’t need to spend a lot of money to show your team your appreciation, you should give it a bit of thought.

For example, employees polled were asked to recount the strangest form of recognition they’ve received at work. Here are some of their responses:

  1. A loaf of bread
  2. A CD of music written and performed by a coworker
  3. A statuette of the employee
  4. Edible flowers
  5. A large carving of a polar bear
  6. An expired gift certificate
  7. A golden key to an executive bathroom that didn’t exist
  8. Socks
  9. A misspelled plaque
  10. A plush toy
  11. Fresh meat from a hunting trip
  12. A foam tombstone
  13. A jacket that was too short with sleeves that were too long
  14. Grocery coupons
  15. A $0.03 raise

Wow! For me?

Workers were also asked to describe the best form of appreciation a boss or colleague had given them. Their responses included:

  1. A handwritten thank-you card from the chief operating officer
  2. A new car
  3. Being named employee of the year
  4. An all-expenses-paid trip to Jamaica
  5. A donation to a nonprofit in the employee’s name
  6. A message sent to all employees acknowledging the employee’s work
  7. Baseball playoff tickets behind home plate
  8. A day off
  9. A fancy watch
  10. Being flown to corporate headquarters and receiving a plaque
  11. An awards show-style event
  12. A large bonus
  13. Lunch at a private club
  14. A complimentary email from a key stakeholder to the employee’s supervisor
  15. A surprise party after completing a task

5 ways to give kudos year-round

“Acknowledging staff just once or twice a year for their hard work isn’t enough—regularly saying ‘thank you’ or offering small tokens of appreciation can speak volumes,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Giving kudos for a job well done seems obvious, but when managers are time-strapped, this can be one of the first things that slips.”

Hosking added, “Companies that excel at recognition combine formal programs with everyday gestures of gratitude.”

OfficeTeam offers five tips for managers when recognizing staff:

1. Say thanks. Regularly acknowledge employees’ great work verbally. Point out how their efforts will help the company or assist clients and customers.

2. Put it in writing. Prepare a handwritten thank-you note or copy senior executives on an email about a worker’s accomplishment.

3. Publicize achievements. Feature standout employees in the company newsletter or recognize them at a staff meeting.

4. Support continuing education. Provide tuition assistance for courses that will help workers in their jobs and subsidize the cost of exams required to attain professional certifications.

5. Give a little. Offer gift cards, movie passes or sporting event tickets to employees who go above and beyond on a project.

What did you do you for your team this week? Send your stories and tips to, so we can share your ideas with your colleagues.

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