February 20, 2024 - Management


Employees Don't Want Your Pizza Parties

In management, acknowledging and appreciating employees' hard work has evolved significantly. While past methods like pizza parties, team outings, or gift cards might still hold some value, our modern workforce desires something more substantial. They want to feel valued through continuous support, recognition, and personal development opportunities, not just occasional perks like a $15 Tim Hortons gift card. Let's discuss how effective management and recognition programs can lead to a supported, motivated, and productive workforce.

By Jennifer Tracy, C.I.M., C.Mgr. | Chartered Managers Canada

Genuine Recognition

Employees want more than a token gesture of appreciation. Employees want genuine recognition of their hard work. Managers should be actively and regularly observing and acknowledging individual and team efforts. A personalized "thank you" note can go a long way in making employees feel valued and motivated.

Career Development and Growth

A job isn't just a job anymore; it's a significant part of an employee's life. Therefore, they must see progression opportunities rather than stagnation. Employees appreciate companies that invest in their future. By creating opportunities for growth and professional development, whether it's through skill-building workshops, mentoring programs, or clear paths for advancement, employers are more likely to retain talent.

Work-Life Balance

In a post-pandemic world where remote teams and technology make it harder to disconnect at home, the lines between work and personal life are increasingly blurred. Employees value an employer who understands and respects their need for work-life balance. Employees feel trusted and valued when employers offer flexibility in their work hours, remote work options, and comprehensive leave policies. It improves morale, and companies that foster a healthy work-life balance will enhance productivity and help reduce employee burnout.

Inclusive and Diverse Workplaces

Employees want a work environment that is inclusive and diverse. As the current workforce of Millennials and Gen Z vocalize the demand for more DEI-aware spaces (with support from their Gen X and Boomer counterparts), the future generation Alpha workforce (born in 2014 and later) will expect this as the norm. Employees seek companies that promote equal opportunities, celebrate diversity, and actively address issues related to discrimination and bias. When a workplace values diverse perspectives and experiences, it cultivates a sense of belonging and promotes creativity and innovation.

Social Responsibility

More and more, employees want to work for socially responsible and ethical companies. Potential recruits may consider a company's commitment to sustainability, community engagement, and charity before applying for a position or attending an interview. A company that establishes a voice in corporate social responsibility increases pride of association among employees and contributes to a positive public image.

A Safe and Healthy Work Environment

Mental health is a trending topic, but you cannot deny how much employee mental health can affect a working environment or corporate culture. Employees' physical and psychological health should be a top priority for employers. Employers should invest in workplace safety, stress management programs, and mental health support. These initiatives demonstrate care for employees' well-being and encourage productivity and engagement.

Open and Transparent Communication

Employees appreciate consistent and transparent communication from their employers (and vice versa), which means keeping employees informed about upcoming changes, sharing goals and objectives, and actively seeking (i.e. being receptive to) feedback. Reliable communication helps employees understand their role in the bigger picture and fosters mutual trust between management and staff.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

This might seem obvious, but competitive compensation and benefits remain a top priority for employees. Everyone wants to be compensated well for their work and receive benefits that cater to their well-being and future security, such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off. Companies offering attractive compensation packages are more likely to attract and retain top talent.

When our global workforce currently faces a high cost of living, stagnant wages, and job insecurity, management teams need to do more to demonstrate genuine appreciation for their employees than just provide the token pizza party or lunch out on the company's dime.

Employees want to be valued, developed, and supported in various aspects of their professional and personal lives. Effective management practices involve recognizing these needs and actively working to fulfill them. As the employment landscape evolves, businesses prioritizing these initiatives will find themselves with a motivated and committed workforce, higher productivity, less turnover, and a thriving workplace culture.

About the Author:

Jennifer Tracy is an employee of CIM | Chartered Managers Canada and holds the C.I.M. and C.Mgr. professional designation. She has worked for the CIM since November 2010 as Manager of Communication and Administration. She has worked in finance, legal and administrative roles in England and Canada. While she regularly assists with the production and editing of the bi-weekly newsletter and quarterly Canadian Manager magazine, this is her first time writing a submission for the publication.

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