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Knowing how to make employees feel valued and appreciated can hugely benefit both them and your business. Praised and respected employees are happier, and happier employees do their job a lot better.

When employees excel at their job, the business thrives. It's a great example of a virtuous circle: happiness brings in more success, and success brings in more happiness — and so on.

How to Make Employees Feel Valued?

Think about it: who would ever want to quit a job where their talent is rewarded, their hard work praised, and their work-life balance supported? Nobody.

If you would like to become that kind of company but you're not sure how, then read on. We have 20 awesome tips for you that you can start trying right now.

1. (Free) Food for Thought

Picture coming into the office on a rainy, miserable Monday morning. You're drenched, it's Monday, and you are already dreading the pile of emails waiting for you. Ah, how you wish you could just go back to bed.

But then... you smell coffee. And you see a spread of fresh donuts laid out on the table in the staff kitchen. And finally, you remember: it's Munchin' Monday, y'all! Grab a donut and your favorite mug, and get to your desk with a smile on your face.

If you think that your employees will love this idea, then it's probably the first, easiest and cheapest thing you can implement right away.

2. Fitness Fiends

If every Monday you treat your staff to something sweet and vaguely naughty, then why not balance it out with some free fitness? The choices are endless: yoga, Pilates, boxing, crossfit, Zumba...

Just make sure your shower and bathroom facilities are in working order, and perhaps transform a small area of the office into changing rooms.

3. Mind Over Matter

A healthy body is not enough to be happy and productive if your mind is fraught with stress and anxieties. Offer your employees free mental health support in the form of mindfulness, meditation, or counseling sessions.

Mental health in the workplace is just as important as in any other environment, and reducing stress levels within your workforce is vital to promote happiness and productivity.

4. Get Flexible

Another tip to enhance employee appreciation levels is offering flexible working hours. This could mean a series of different things: the possibility of starting a bit later on a Monday, or finishing a bit earlier on a Friday, for example.

Working from home is another popular option, as is allowing flexibility to employees who have small children. Whatever you choose to offer, be sure it's a good balance between what your company needs from that employee, and what that employee needs in terms of flexibility.

5. Happy Birthdays... and Work Anniversaries

One of the most popular ways to show employee appreciation is to do something special for their birthday. A team lunch, maybe, or a post-work trip to the bar for a round of drinks.

Another favorite choice is to allow employees to take time off on their birthday. What better present than an extra day of vacation, right?

Oh, and don't forget to celebrate another important anniversary: the day when your employee joined the company. You could organize for a cake to be made and delivered to their desk, with balloons and a card. Nothing super fancy, but it will make a big difference to their day.

6. Dog Days Are Never Over

Remember that rainy, miserable Monday we talked about earlier, jazzed up with free donuts and coffee? Right, now throw some puppies into the mix.

It's well known that puppies make people happier, so why not encourage your employees to bring their furry friends into the office one day a week?

Mondays will no longer be a day to fear or hate — in fact, you might have just turned it into the best day of the working week.

7. More Than Money

Now for something a bit more traditional: cash. Pay rises are, of course, one of the most common (and welcome) ways to show employee appreciation, but what if you added something more creative?

For example, you could set up a series of rewards for when employees reach a specific target. Shopping vouchers, a trip to the cinema, a weekend break with their partner, a SPA day, a sports or music event — you name it.

Sound a bit too much to think about and organize? All you need to do is pick a great company swag store platform that will take care of it all for you.

8. Help With Their Commute

Some of your employees might already be taking advantage of your remote working offering, but what about those who prefer to come into the office? To make them feel looked after, too, you could propose to help out with an interest-free loan towards their commute.

Make sure it's customized to the specific trip that an employee takes to the office, as well as the amount of time it takes them to get there, and the money they would normally spend.

9. Let's Get This (Office) Party Started

With some of your staff working from home and some in the office, you'll want to strengthen teamwork and bonds amongst colleagues. How? Well, if Munchin' Mondays are not enough, then you should throw a party.

In the office or at a rented venue, it doesn't matter too much. What matters is that there is a good amount of food, booze, and music to entertain everyone.

And with so many things to celebrate all year round, why not make it a theme party? Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring break: the choice is yours. To take it up a notch, you could even invent your own theme office party. Cool, huh?

10. There's No I in Team

Again on the subject of reinforcing relationships within teams, a great idea is to create regular team outings. Keep them department-specific: marketing people with marketing people, IT with IT, sales with sales, and so on.

And make it a bit different: a pub quiz, an escape room, a bowling tournament with pizza prices. Honestly, the crazier (and funnier) the better.

11. Take Them to the Beach

OK, this might be a once-a-year sort of thing, but if you do it we promise you that your staff will be eternally grateful. What are we talking about? Beach, baby.

Wherever you are in the States, show your employees that you care about them by inviting them to a weekend break, somewhere sunny and hot. California, Florida, Mexico... your call. Actually, why don't you let them take their pick among a selection of locations?

12. Ask for Their Opinion...

Everyone loves to share their thoughts on... pretty much anything. So, why not make your employees feel important by letting them have their say? From the above-mentioned holiday destination to more pressing, business-related issues, you could run regular surveys across your company on a wide range of topics.

Employees who feel like they are being valued and listened to tend to stick with their employer for longer, and work better and more productively.

13. ... And to Crown Their Leader

Take the obsolete "employee of the month" and give it a modern, fun spin by letting your employees decide who, amongst them, did the best job that month.

You could achieve this either by creating an online survey (make it anonymous, though!) or by setting up a polling station in one of the office rooms, and call an "election day".

14. Show Them Off

What does the "About" section of your company website say? Is it just a couple of mind-numbingly boring paragraphs about your mission and vision, with a few key dates thrown in for good measure? Too dull.

Try sticking in your staff's photos, with their names, job titles and a one-line, catchy presentation of themselves. Trust us, more people will want to do business with you if they see how happy, fun, and confident your staff is.

15. Get Social

Who said that social media can't be used to show your employees some love? If Denise from sales just caught a big fish and landed you a contract with a huge client, then praise her on your company's social media channels.

It's a small, cheap action for your company, but will mean the world to Denise — and spur other people to reach, and surpass, their targets.

16. Thank Them Again, and Again

From social media to hand-written paper notes to say "thank you". Yes, you can — and should! — embrace both ways to show your staff how much you value their efforts.

If the latest marketing campaign led by Jake was a landslide, imagine how much happier he would feel if he found a lovely thank you note on his desk, signed by his boss. And imagine how much harder he and his team would work on the next campaign, securing you another win.

17. Give Them a Chance to Give Back

A workplace is, first of all, a small (or large!) community of people, working together towards a common goal. A creative, and socially responsible, way to encourage staff to meet targets and milestones could be offering to donate to a chosen charity.

It could be an organization close to someone's heart because of a lost loved one, or the money could go to a wildlife rescue center or a homeless shelter. Whichever cause you support, make sure it's chosen by the person — or the team — who achieved that amazing target.

18. Always Learning

More and more people are deciding to take on further education and courses while working, both full and part-time. So, how about giving your employees a chance to expand their horizons with some funded education opportunity of their choosing?

If your employees express an interest in a topic that's closely related to your company's business, then you could opt for full funding. However, don't be tempted to deny funding to an employee who would love to enroll in a course that seemingly has little to do with their job.

Remember that your priority, here, is to keep your staff as happy as possible, to maximize their productivity and retain the best talent in the industry.

19. Let Them Work Up a Good Sweat

How? With regular sports events among employees, of course! Baseball, golf, and tennis are great places to start. You could encourage your staff to build up different teams, and hold regular matches as well as mini-tournaments.

You'll get more kudos if you pick the right times of the year for that: training and competing during incredibly busy, stressful periods might be too much for your employees. Choose a quieter month, for example in the middle of the summer, and you'll give your staff something enjoyable and exciting to look forward to.

20. Make Breaks Fun (and Productive)

Give your break room a makeover. Think a shiny new sofa, a couple of vintage arcade games, a music corner, and a big flatscreen tv. And don't forget the secret ingredient to unexpected peaks of productivity, in between a game of Mario Kart and a chat about Spike Lee's latest movie: the whiteboard.

Create the perfect, relaxed yet stimulating environment to boost your employees' creativity, and give them a tool to write down what marvelous stuff they've come up with while they were "taking a break". You'll be surprised.

Ready to Retain the Most Talented People?

Now that you've got the lowdown on how to make employees feel valued, you can start implementing some of our tips to make sure your best people stay with you in the long term.

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