Since we just celebrated National Employee Appreciation Day (Yes, there is such a day! It was March 6th), it got me thinking about how simple it can be to show your employees appreciation – and not just one day a year, but year-round.

While you may feel like you need to launch an elaborate “program” or make massive investments of time and money, I’m here to say you don’t.

Acknowledge and Appreciate

In the HR world, acknowledgment and appreciation go hand in hand. Verbalizing the positive contributions made by your employee, especially in terms of how their actions have benefitted the whole team or company, can go a long, long way.

But due to time constraints, acknowledgment doesn’t always top the to-do list of managers.

So my challenge to you is this:

Take time to acknowledge not only the team, but also individual employees.

I know it seems obvious that you need to connect with each employee, but in practice, it’s incredibly difficult to pull off, right? There are only so many hours in a day and if you’re running a bustling restaurant, you know just how tricky this can be.

But despite restaurant size or staff counts, you need to make time to acknowledge employees. Once you do, you’ll likely see a nice bump in employee retention too.

And with nearly half of American workers feeling undervalued in the workplace, and 7 out of 10 employees not receiving even a “thank you” from their boss in the past six months, it’s time to make this happen inside your four walls.

Strategize

Your efforts to connect with employees may have fallen into a pattern something like this; In lieu of personally connecting with each person, you’ve done the next best thing and hold a weekly team meeting instead.

This is a time to update everyone as well as say a general thank you to the team as a whole. And while this is certainly a practice that’s worthwhile, it’s not as targeted – or effective – as it could be.

Instead, at your next meeting, try to incorporate these simple, but impactful tactics:

  • Set a goal to publicly commend a certain percentage of your employees during each team meeting. Aiming to acknowledge 10% of your staff each time would be a great starting point. So if you have a 20-person staff, that’s only two people, which seems much more doable.
  • Encourage employees to participate too. Working under the same premise of a 20-person staff, ask two employees to share “wins” of their coworkers. While it’s important that they hear your appreciation, positive feedback and reinforcement from peers can create even higher levels of engagement.

And it’s worth noting that more frequent meetings might work for your operation too – daily, twice a week – whatever works best for your culture.

Just make sure that your feedback is authentic and constructive. Use this free, public forum to spread positivity to your people.