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Employee Appreciation in 2023: No Amount of Amazon Gift Cards Will Make Me Feel Appreciated

Companies know that appreciation is an integral part of employee satisfaction. But for a very long time, it felt like management was out of touch with what employees wanted for incentives, perks, and displays of gratitude. I say, “no amount of Amazon gift cards will make me feel appreciated.” There is a difference between recognizing someone’s contribution and performative gratitude. Here are some ways to show appreciation in the modern workplace.

Start with the Basics: Competitive Base Salary

There is no amount of extra incentives that will motivate an underpaid employee. Without a competitive base salary, your team will always seek greener grass. Pay transparency is becoming increasingly important for job seekers, and many aren’t even considering applying to companies that aren’t forthcoming about their salary ranges. And pay equity is no longer something that can be ignored. You’ll find more talent willing to engage when these things are in place.

Creating a Positive Work Environment

While salary is the critical starting point, it’s not the only thing that will attract and engage talent. Before you even think about offering fun incentives like movie tickets or gift cards, do the work on your environment to create a place where people want to come to work. Even if you’re maintaining a remote work arrangement, your company culture will still be a primary factor for employee satisfaction.

Flexibility, PTO, and Work/Life Balance

More employees are setting boundaries around their work lives. Gone are the days when people are willing to spend 80 hours a week at work without breaks or vacations. We can no longer have sick employees coming into the office to tough it out. Your PTO plan and ability to be flexible will increase employee satisfaction as well as your overall productivity. Trust your employees more; you’ll find we never had to have that workplace environment.

The Love Languages of Employees

I’m sure you’re familiar with the common love languages:

· Words of affirmation

· Acts of service

· Gifts

· Quality time

· Physical touch

While some are specific to romantic relationships, they can also provide insight into how people think. And in the modern age, we can add a few fun new love languages, like sending memes to show you’re thinking about someone. Knowing how your employees receive positive reinforcement will help you determine the perks that matter. For example, someone who loves gifts may be excited about little tokens now and again. But someone who prefers acts of service will see gifts as performative.

Providing Perks Your Team Really Wants

That doesn’t mean that fun little surprises aren’t welcomed sometimes, but they must be coupled with a competitive base salary, workplace boundaries, and a positive company culture. You can also consider more meaningful and valuable perks such as tuition payment programs, continued education opportunities, improved DEI initiatives, giving back to the community, and a culture of gratitude. That can all go much farther than a gift card from Starbucks.

Are you interested in gaining insight into how employees feel about their work in today's environment? Use this link to take Sigred Group’s anonymous employee engagement and culture survey and request to receive a full copy of the report!

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