The current context is clear, we know it is almost impossible to get new talent. On one hand, we are in a candidate centric market. The candidates are empowered to move around, change jobs, get a pay rise and seek their purpose. On the other hand, there is a massive shortage in skills. Technology is speeding the way the world is moving constantly and so the skills needed change rapidly too. Company culture is important, more important than ever, and most organisations know it – but do we get the employee appreciation strategy right though? Those organisations that are on the exciting journey of designing their company culture understand the power of a robust and well thought people strategy. Employee Appreciation is a fundamental part of who we are, we need to ask ourselves: how do we start celebrating our employees? 

Say thank you. This is so important- this is why we need to create an employee appreciation strategy. We want to be grateful! Yes – we get paid, but also – we deserve to be rewarded and appreciated for what we do. Taking the time to say thank you, amplify those success stories and communicate and reward gratefulness in the business, goes a long way! Ensure your CEO or Founders communicate the message of kindness and gratefulness when achieving global goals.

Celebrate your business with meaning. We all love traditions, most founders have one – not superstitions, those are not cool! They tend to be about the first day of business, some achievement, a hobby, how they got the idea… Ensure those traditions are shared and familiarise with your teams. Take the time to celebrate and make an event and a milestone around it. Ensure you keep the dates clear in the calendar and consistent! We want our employees to look forward to the day and wanting to celebrate. 

Define the dates that matter. When we start defining the milestones for the year, we often look inwards and focus too much on the company milestones. However, the importance of focusing on the employee experience is massive! Define important milestones for your employees from day one: onboarding, probation period, 1st performance review, birthday, work anniversary, overachievements, internal promotion, lateral moves, 5th work anniversary… a decade in the business!! Define which dates you want to celebrate and ensure you have a system in place to be fair across all regions and be able to automatise those processes. For example, get your HR system to send out a happy birthday automatic email! Or use Slack to push notifications for work anniversaries.

Design your editorial calendar. It sounds like something a marketer would say more than an HR professional, right? Well, yeah! But HR needs to take a couple of lessons from the marketing team and ensure you have a clear yearly plan with all the days you wish to celebrate will make your life easier. International pizza day, bring your dog to work, international girls in science day… you name it. Together with the business milestones and all the extra employee dates – you will have enough reasons to celebrate throughout the year! 

A little communication never harmed anyone. P&C needs to learn to communicate better and more! So much work goes into what we do but we at times lack knowing how to share it internally. Send calendar invites and placeholders for the important dates on time to give your employee the time to join. Ensure you have a clear communication tool plan in place and define when you use which tool: email for policies, slack for informal news, social selling tool for external content. Work with marketing and partner with the global P&C team to adapt to the needs of each region. When we share with our employees the what, “what are we doing on a certain date” bring in the why! There is not enough time to explain why we are gathering and why certain dates are important for the business. It will help your employees feel engaged and have a sense of belonging.

 Go social. Go big! Social media is a double edged sword – I know. It can go wrong, I know. But done right it can make the whole difference. Train your employees to understand the difference between social media tools, be savvy on how to communicate and use hashtags. Prep social media and external comms FAQ documents before each big event and offer office hours for employees to ask questions about what can and cannot be shared. Take the lead, get in a photographer on the day and ensure your social media manager is part of the activity showing content on the spot! Sharing what we do on social media is part of the puzzle, but remember to be true to your company’s reality. Employees talk, Glassdoor is open for anyone to read and review. Active and passive candidates take the time to research your brand – be truthful, help your candidates by sharing a realistic story line so that expectation are met!

Social connection fully digital. This one is hard to get right. I have yet not found a response to this pushing issue! How do we ensure our new employees feel connected with the brand if they were hires and onboarded 100% remotely! We might not want to have a gig-economy cultural approach to our business – but actually the opposite, give people a real sense of belonging. As much as we have digital tools that bring us close like zooms call and many new tools bringing immersive experiences I think the adoption will vary massively depending on culture and geography. My gut feeling tells me that employee resource groups could be a great way to ensure we connect on a personal level with other. Give time to create those groups, give a budget and amplify their successes and vision! We need to expand the development and understand our employees want to make an impact, learn new things and feel connected to other through their vision of the world.