by Carrie Andrews | February 04, 2019
As the new year begins, it's a good time to think about how to appreciate your employees -- because the health of your organization might depend on it. Employee disengagement results in lower productivity, a depressed bottom line, increased stress and even health problems. One study has shown that while 89 percent of business leaders are under the impression that their workers leave because of money, 79 percent actually quit their jobs because they simply do not feel appreciated.
 
Luckily, there are remedies for this -and many of them won't cost you a thing. The following are 10 ways that your organization can show employees appreciation in 2019.
 
1. Put it in handwriting. The days of people giving each other handwritten notes are largely gone, so when people receive one nowadays, they really take notice. As a result, when you give workers a holiday card with a handwritten message thanking them for something specific they did, that personal touch is an effective way to show your appreciation. Even a sticky note saying thank you can make employees feel good and inspire them to keep up the good work.
 
2. Listen and learn. Take the time to understand who your team members are outside of the workplace. Gaining insight on their interests, their passions and what is important to them allows you to tailor incentives that they will be more receptive to. Your employees will appreciate that you have taken notice as to what truly motivates them to attain their goals, both personal and professional.
 
3. Celebrate personal milestones. Maybe you have an employee who just earned a master's degree. Maybe another member of your team recently ran a marathon. Everyone has a personal milestone that they are proud of, so be sure to let them know that you're proud of them too.
 
4. Pay for training. Tuition reimbursement is a useful way for companies to increase the skills of their workforce, but training does not necessarily have to be tied to a degree program. If you send your workers to a seminar or conference they're interested in, you can help energize them in ways that will have a positive effect on their job performance.
 
5. Offer extra time off. Giving employees extra days off, or even a portion of a day, will help them tremendously (especially during the busy period before the year-end holidays. But however you decide to approach time off, make sure that it will not affect the employee's workload. The last thing you want to do is recognize one member of your team while burdening the others with extra work.
 
6. Thank the family. Every employee has loved ones that are affected when they have to work overtime or bring work home on the weekends. One way you can appreciate your employees is by also appreciating the sacrifices their families have to make in order for the job to get done. Some ways you can do this is by providing gift cards for family members or organizing a fun holiday event for them to participate in.
 
7. Give gift cards. Whether they're for Starbucks, a movie theater or Amazon, keeping small-denomination gift cards on hand can help you regularly provide a surprise for your employees.
 
8. Personalize rewards. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to rewards will not increase engagement. All employees have different personalities and preferences, so to get the most out of the rewards you give, choose things that are most likely to make them feel appreciated.
 
9. Speak up.
 Showing appreciation does not necessarily have to be in the form of a gift. Just saying "thank you for a hard day's work" or "thank you for your contribution to this project" can make employees feel valued, especially if the recognition is coming from someone in upper management.
 
10. Do it often. Thanking employees is not just something you should wait for the holidays to do. In order to inspire the engagement you need to keep productivity high and turnover low, be sure to make employee appreciation part of your workplace culture.
 
Carrie Andrews is the Head of Corporate Marketing at Sterling. Sterling is a leader in global background and identity services.