I think most business owners and managers would agree with me that good employees are difficult to find and that once you’ve found them, it’s important to make them feel appreciated.

But what exactly does that mean for you? You may want to do the right thing but aren’t 100% certain on how to make it happen.

Here are some tips on how you can make your employees feel appreciated and valued:

Praise them for their good work

There’s little worse than feeling like you are being taken for granted and a verbal acknowledgement of work well done can go a long way towards making your employees feel appreciated. Be genuine and give praise quickly and sincerely. Try to be as specific as possible and thank them for the contribution they’ve made to their department or to the entire organization. Most employees like to feel that their best efforts are going towards the common good.

Surprise them with “extras”

Many business owners and department mangers overlook the importance of extras that are separate from any bonuses or financial recognition. These can include:

  • Breakfast or lunch brought into the company
  • Tickets to sports events, movies or the theater
  • Gift cards for stores or Amazon

If you decide to use highly specific individual rewards you must take into account the age and interests of the employee and it is often easier to select something that is more “universal” and applicable for all.

Create an environment that fosters open communication

Employees need to feel that they are being “heard” and that their input matters and may very well influence change. Company wide or departmental meetings, a suggestion box or having an open door policy whereby employees can schedule time for a one-to-one can help promote engagement and the feeling of being appreciated.

Be honest and transparent about their career path

Most employees want to know that they can rise within the organization should their work warrant advancement however there might be circumstances in which advancement and promotions must be curtailed. Be honest, explain the situation and offer options and alternatives. Employees will feel abused and unappreciated if they feel lied to or ignored.

Create a pleasant work environment

I know this might be a bit of a stretch however since your employees spend more of their waking hours at work than they do in almost any other activity it goes without saying that you should try to create pleasant surroundings that foster teamwork, helps morale and provides for a satisfying day. Pay attention to the physical space including lighting and furniture and if you find them to be lacking make a small investment and upgrade whatever is old and tattered. Small things like plants and posters also go a long way in creating an appealing environment.

Of course none of these things can substitute for fair and reasonable compensation with additional monetary rewards for employees that have gone “over and beyond” to earn a bonus or salary “bump.”

Remember that employee attrition can be very costly and demoralizing. A simple show of appreciation can go a long way towards maximizing retention.