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Use Employee Appreciation Day to Commit to Strong Communication All Year

Updated: Feb 16

Employee Appreciation Day is March 1 this year and coming fast! If you haven't yet made a plan for how you'll acknowledge your employees that day, now is a great time to get started. That said - while we're all for a celebration - our team's experience is that the biggest opportunity to show your employees you appreciate them is all year long, by putting them first in how you communicate with them.

Why does this matter? So many reasons! Employees consistently say they lack the information they need to do their jobs well* and it dramatically affects their capability to respond to changing business and client needs**. Not surprisingly, poor internal communication directly impacts a company's brand perception***. On the flip side, informed employees make their companies 17% more efficient and 21% more profitable*.

Given all that, if you're ready to use Employee Appreciation Day as a springboard to communicate more effectively with your employees going forward, here's how to get started:

  • Communicate from their viewpoint, not yours. The number one rule in communication is to know your audience. When it’s time to share information, approach it from the standpoint of your employees, not the company. Simple tweaks to the framing of the message and the timing of when you communicate can accomplish this, making your employees not only feel seen and heard (aka appreciated!) but also ensuring your message actually gets past all the noise and resonates with them.

  • Help them know their work matters. When employees understand the company’s strategy and how they directly contribute to helping the company win, they’ll understand the value of their work. This is the biggest gap our team sees across organizations who haven’t historically focused on communication, and they’re not alone: Did you know only 5% of U.S. employees understand their company’s business strategy****? Communicate a clear direction and equip your people managers to help their teams understand their role in bringing the strategy to life.

  • Show, don't tell. Many of the companies we work with need to shift their culture without alienating legacy employees. They want to maintain some aspects of the "family feel" many employees appreciate, while infusing elements like accountability, performance and innovation. The best way to do that? Share stories that celebrate the employees who demonstrate the behaviors you want to see and achieve the results you're after. Rather than telling employees the culture needs to shift, these stories show them what great looks like.

  • Be transparent. Your employees are smart – that’s why you hired them, right? Don’t forget that intelligence when it comes time to communicate. Employees know when they're not getting the full story… or worse, are being left in the dark entirely on key topics. Share what you can, when you can. If there’s something you can’t disclose, say so and explain why. If you don’t know something, admit that and let them know when you’ll circle back with an answer. This level of transparency goes a long way to making employees feel appreciated.

  • Be visible. As a leader, you’re busy and it’s easy to get stuck behind closed office doors with your head down. Don’t forget to interact with as many employees as possible, as often as possible. Listen to what they’re working on, get their feedback on how things are going, and thank them for all they do - on Employee Appreciation Day, and every day.



****The Strategy Focused Organization by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

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