8 Ways to Show Your Employees Appreciation and Boost their Engagement

8 Ways to Show Your Employees Appreciation and Boost their Engagement

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Are you struggling to keep your employees motivated and engaged? Employee engagement is a crucial factor that can make or break a business. According to the National Restaurant Association, turnover in the restaurant industry is typically high, with an average rate of 73%

In today’s competitive job market, showing appreciation to your employees is essential to attract and retain top talent. In this regard, when employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more productive, loyal, and committed to the organization’s success. Indeed, according to a Gallup report, companies with highly engaged workforces are 21% more profitable. 

From offering training and development opportunities to celebrating personal and professional milestones, we’ll explore six effective strategies that you can implement to show your employees that you appreciate them and boost their engagement.  

1. Build an open feedback culture

Employees who feel that their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work, as per a Salesforce report. Encourage your employees to share their opinion on what can be improved to make work more enjoyable and worth staying for. Anonymous employee surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings are all effective methods of gathering comprehensive feedback from your employees. 

Creating a safe and open environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their suggestions is key. A great example of this is Starbucks with its online platform called My Starbucks Idea, where employees (and customers) can submit their ideas and suggestions. This feedback culture has helped Starbucks to create a more engaged and empowered workforce, which in turn has contributed to the company’s success by improving various aspects of the business, such as menu items, store layout, and customer service!

2. Provide growth and development opportunities

As a restaurant owner, offering regular training sessions for your employees can have a significant impact on their job satisfaction and performance, ultimately benefiting your business. Research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that 40% of employees reported that training and development opportunities are a very important factor that affects their job satisfaction. 

This is supported by a study by the National Restaurant Association, which found that restaurant employees who received training had higher sales and profits than those who did not receive training. McDonald’s is a great example of a restaurant chain that invests heavily in employee training and development. The company’s “Hamburger University” is a state-of-the-art training facility that provides employees with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their jobs. 

In addition to improving employee job satisfaction and performance, providing training opportunities can also help reduce turnover rates, which can save you time and money on recruitment and training costs.

8 Ways to Show Appreciation to your Staff and Boost their Engagement

3. Organize team-building activities for your team 

A great way to foster a positive work culture and promote team bonding is by taking the team to participate in an outdoor activity. Not only do these events allow your staff to take a break from their daily routine and recharge, but they also provide an opportunity for employees to build relationships and improve collaboration. In fact, a survey by Gallup and Workhuman found that 63% of leaders saw an improvement in team communication after participating in team-building activities. 

Whether it’s a game of bowling, an escape room challenge, or a thrilling rock climbing adventure, outdoor activities create a relaxed environment where employees can have fun and learn more about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. 

Chipotle hosts an annual event called “Field Day,” which brings together employees from different locations to participate in friendly competition and team-building exercises. Chipotle has reported that this event has helped to reinforce the company’s core values and culture, build stronger teams, and ultimately, contribute to the company’s success.

4. Encourage skill-sharing and collaboration

Encouraging employees to share their skills and collaborate with one another can be a powerful way to demonstrate appreciation for their unique strengths and contributions. Consider hosting regular skill-sharing sessions or cross-functional projects that allow employees to work together and learn from one another. This can also help to promote a sense of community and collaboration within the workplace, which can lead to increased engagement and job satisfaction. 

Starbucks is a good example of a restaurant brand that focuses on professional skill-sharing between employees. They offer a program called “Coffee Master” where baristas can become certified experts in all things coffee. This involves a rigorous training process that covers the history of coffee, tasting and brewing techniques, and more. Once a barista becomes a Coffee Master, they can then share their knowledge with other employees through workshops and training sessions. This helps to create a culture of learning and development within the company, while also providing opportunities for employees to develop new skills and advance their careers.

8 Ways to Show Appreciation to your Staff and Boost their Engagement

5. Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries

Acknowledging important milestones in your employees’ lives, such as birthdays and work anniversaries, is a powerful way to show your appreciation for their contributions to your restaurant. In fact, in a Gallup and Workhuman survey, 30% of employees are more likely to spend at least five years at organizations where their managers recognized such milestones. 

For example, the famous restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory celebrates employees’ work anniversaries by presenting them with personalized gifts and recognition plaques to commemorate their dedication and hard work over the years. This not only makes employees feel extra special and valued but also encourages them to continue their hard work and commitment to the company.

6. Recognize Good Work Publicly

Celebrating employees’ successes through public recognition not only fosters a sense of appreciation and value but also creates a positive work culture that promotes growth and excellence. 

For instance, the restaurant chain “Chick-fil-A” is well-known for its employee recognition programs. The Remarkable Futures Scholarship initiative is their way of recognizing the dedication and hard work of their employees at work, in school, and in the community. Since 1973, the chain has invested more than $136 million in scholarships and helped more than 80,000 team members pursue higher education. 

Chick-fil-A also encourages customers to submit positive feedback about their experiences with employees, and these are often shared publicly on social media and in-store displays. By publicly recognizing and celebrating its employees, Chick-fil-A is able to build a positive company culture and inspire its employees to continue providing excellent customer service.

8 Ways to Show Your Employees Appreciation and Boost their Engagement

7. Acknowledge non-work accomplishments and milestones

To foster a culture that values and celebrates the personal achievements of employees, restaurant owners can recognize non-work milestones such as weddings, births, or significant moves. Celebrating these events demonstrates that the restaurant values its staff as individuals, not just for their work performance. 

Again, The Cheesecake Factory is best-in-class and recognizes its employees’ personal milestones through its “Life’s Moments” program. The program celebrates life events such as weddings, the birth of a child, or purchasing a home by sending a personalized gift to the employee to recognize their special moment. Additionally, they feature the employee’s milestones on their website and social media, further highlighting their recognition of personal achievements.

8. Provide discounted meals or products

One of the most practical ways to show appreciation for your restaurant or store employees is by offering free or discounted meals and products. This gesture not only helps boost their morale but also demonstrates that you value their hard work and dedication. Providing free meals and drinks during their shift or discounted products to purchase for themselves or their family members is greatly perceived.

Shake Shack offers their team members a complimentary meal for every shift worked, as well as a 50% discount on any additional food purchases during their shift or day off. They also offer discounts on merchandise and have a rewards program where employees can earn points towards free meals, gear, and even trips. This demonstrates their commitment to valuing and appreciating their employees while also promoting a positive workplace culture.

8 Ways to Show Appreciation to your Staff and Boost their Engagement

Final Thoughts

When it comes to employee satisfaction and retention, appreciation is the secret sauce that keeps things cooking. Cultivating a recognition culture is key to fostering a positive workplace where employees feel valued and motivated to excel. In fact, a whopping 53% of employees say they would stick around longer if they felt appreciated. So don’t just give your team the bare minimum – spice things up with a generous serving of gratitude and watch your business thrive!

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