How To

On Employee Appreciation Day, Here Are The REAL Perks People Want

Hooray! It’s Employee Appreciation Day!

Bring on the office happy hour, foosball tables and endless snacks!

Actually, perks like these have been proven to have only short-term effects on employees – and in some ways can have a negative effect long term.

Our recruitment expert, Dr. John Sullivan, takes a deep dive into what the best employees really look for in a job offer here, but we thought we would take a closer look at exactly what makes a difference to help us feel, well, appreciated!

In a survey of 2,000 employed Americans by job review site Glassdoor, 79% of respondents said they’d prefer additional benefits to a higher salary, with more comprehensive health insurance plans (40%) rating highest.

Interestingly, many things that you would assume were already happening in an office (for example, feedback, and communication) are right at the top of the list. So let’s start there.

We quizzed our own team to see what their experiences have been like, both at other workplaces and at 1-Page.

Constant, Direct, Constructive Feedback

As you can see, performance evaluation makes a profound difference on someone’s sense of fulfillment at work.

“Good or bad, having people care enough to let me know how I can improve always makes me feel appreciated,” says Allen Knox, Enterprise Account Executive with 1-Page. “It means what I’m doing clearly has an impact and feedback enforces that.”

Everyone wants to feel like they matter in an organization, and acknowledging their role and performance on a regular basis is a quick, simple way to make that difference.

Access To The People In Charge

Gone are the days of the boss hidden away in a corner office, only accessible through a secretarial gatekeeper. As well as making sure they keep a finger on the pulse of the company, now communication can be a two-way street.

1-Page recently implemented office hours for the leadership team so anyone can stroll into Peter and Joanna’s offices for a few hours on a Friday to have a conversation or pitch an idea.

“I’ve never felt the sense that any of the leadership here would turn me away, even if all they have is 10 seconds before the next meeting,” says Knox.

“Knowing the people who run the whole ship will set aside time on the fly for a sales rep is huge for me, and I’ve experienced the opposite in past companies which does not bode well for anyone.”

Genuine, Personalized, and Unexpected Recognition 

This goes beyond knowing someone’s name in the break room (although, isn’t there always that guy? Who is that guy?). Being aware of what people do, and how they are succeeding in fulfilling that role, not only makes them feel like you care, it means operating better as a unit.

“Little notes from the leadership team, saying “Great job on that meeting” or acknowledging something I’ve done makes me feel appreciated,” says Amanda Radusovsky on 1-Page’s Sales Development team.

“Especially from our executive team, because I know they have a lot on their plate and it shows they’re showing interest in what I’m doing.”

This extends to screenings and interviews – asking people about a time they really felt honored or appreciated can tell you not only about the type of person they are, but also how they like to be recognized.

That can go a long way in helping you offer them something meaningful in their job package, to which they would more likely say yes.

Even when quizzed about increases in responsibility and how they would like to be compensated, most sales staff across industries say they would like a salary increase, “because it shows they are serious about investing in me.”

It’s Never Just About The Money

As Dr. John Sullivan acknowledged, (seriously, you haven’t read that piece yet? Go! I’ll wait) people want to feel a part of a vision, something bigger than themselves.

“There’s only so much you can do alone, which is why it’s important to be part of a team,” says Bruce Cooper, 1-Page’s Chief Technology Officer.

“If your team is good you can accomplish pretty much anything.”

A clear vision and culture are paramount for people to be aligned with it, so creating and reiterating that culture should be something you do on a regular basis.

“Knowing that I made a difference in the lives of our customers makes it worth it for me,” says Vitaliy Levit, 1-Page’s VP of Marketing.

“User or customer acknowledgment, feedback from the people we are serving, helps you get present to the impact of what you’re doing every day.”

Find Ways To Play

Have you ever seen the crew in action at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle?

Under different circumstances, employees could be sad, cold, reeking of fish and complaining about it – but the Pike Place Fish crew turned their workplace into a playground that has given them worldwide notoriety.

In fact, an entire organizational culture has been modeled after their work methods, designed to make people happy, alert and active in the workplace. Filmmaker John Christensen created the Fish! Work philosophy in 1998, incorporating four central ideas:

  1. Be There
    Be emotionally present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.
  2. Play
    Tap into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is
    the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” You can bring this mindset to everything you do.
  3. Make Their Day
    Find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life—not because you want something, but because that’s the person you want to be.
  4. Choose Your Attitude
    Take responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Your choice affects others. Ask yourself: “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?

The Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital in St. Louis has trained their staff in the practices and use the philosophy as a reminder to thank and recognize each other. Their patient/parent satisfaction is above 95 percent, and their employee retention is above 97 percent. They don’t even throw fish around.

Flexibility Works

Offering more flexibility for remote working options is becoming a competitiveadvantage in the war for talent.

IT solutions company Softchoice released a survey on The Death Of The Desk Job that showed:

  • 78% of full-time employees highly value the ability to access work outside of the office
  • 86% value being able to choose where and which hours they work
  • 70% said they’d quit their job for one that gives them more control over their workday structures

“If you’re allowed to work remotely, it means your team trusts that you’re going to get the job done and you’re not slacking off because you’re out of the office,” says Robin Kim, 1-Page’s visual designer.

“Everyone has different needs to get their mind working in that way.”

1-Page’s Marketing team has been experimenting with turning off all our communication for a few hours during the week to deep dive on a project, uninterrupted.

For Kim, it’s an opportunity to work somewhere else, undistracted.

“For creative projects, it’s sometimes hard to work in an office environment. Routine cycles and mundane tasks can feel different in a different setting,” she says. “It really helps me unlock my creativity.”

Sure, you can buy gift cards and experiences for your staff. Our leadership team brought in the most delicious focaccia of our lives a week ago to thank us, which we all loved. But the best part of that treat? Standing around the table with sticky fingers, breaking bread and congratulating each other on a job well done.

That’s worth coming into work for.

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