Staff & Employee Appreciation During the COVID-19 Crisis


Small businesses from restaurants to insurance agencies understand the importance of the role their staff plays in their organizations. Taking care of these valuable team members should be a high priority. While Employee Appreciation Day is in March, showing your gratitude to employees year-round is important, especially during these stressful and uncertain days amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are a few ideas to show your appreciation to staff members, and to keep morale from dipping during the COVID-19 epidemic:

  • Communicate frequently: Information about the coronavirus changes rapidly. Make sure employees are kept up-to-date on what is going on within your organization and any changes happening.
  • Mitigate risks: Employees need to know their safety is taken seriously. Whether that means providing facemasks or other protective gear, hand-washing stations or enforcing six-foot social distancing measures with customers, employees need to know you are taking steps to mitigate risks. Employers should also provide training to their employees so they know the new procedures.
  • Be flexible and loosen restriction: With daycares and schools closed and other major changes happening to employees, employers need to be understanding and flexible. Allow employees who can work from home to do so . Make sure employees know they can and should stay home when sick without any consequences, and trust employees when they say they aren’t feeling well.
  • Send thank you notes: Sending personalized thank-you notes to your employees to let them know they are appreciated and are doing a good job can go a long way in maintaining or improving employee morale, especially during a pandemic.
  • Provide public praise: Celebrate employee accomplishments, such as when they’ve met team or company goals, by giving them praise in front of their peers and executives.
  • Give extra time off: Award employees with a half or full day off that they can use later, or allow them to leave a shift early.
  • Hand out gift cards: Give out gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores, or a type of service to your employees. This is a great way to support local businesses and show your appreciation to employees.
  • Offer company swag: Gift company apparel, bags, pens and other swag to your employees.
  • Provide food and drinks: Employers can provide lunch, snacks and beverages to employees in a safe manner.
  • Connect as a team: Whether it is a video conference call or a group chat, keeping employees connected to each other and the business is important.

Why is Employee Appreciation Important for Small Businesses?

Why is showing appreciation for employees so important? Staff appreciation and recognition are some of the key motivational factors in the workplace. When employees feel that their organizations care about their well-being, they are more engaged, are more satisfied with their jobs and ultimately more productive. Happy employees are 12% more productive in their careers, while unhappy employees are 10% less productive. A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 79% of employees say recognition makes them work harder.

Employee appreciation should be a part of a business’s culture. While celebrating employees once a year on Employee Appreciation Day is great, having a recognition program in place all year is essential to keep your staff motivated. Saying “thank you for a job well done” can go a long way with employee morale throughout the year. Employees appreciate sincere recognition from their managers, coworkers and even company leaders. It makes them feel good and lets them know that their work is having an impact on their company.

Recognition can be done privately or publically, as mentioned above. However, managers need to remember that some workers feel uncomfortable with public appreciation. Employers should ask their employees what they like as tokens of appreciation specifically for Employee Appreciation Day and throughout the year.

Courtesy of PolicyWire by AmTrust

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