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Blue @ Work

3 simple gestures of appreciation at work

79 percent of employees feel a lack of appreciation.

*This article was updated September 2020.

Turkey, ham and pie aside — the holidays shouldn’t be the only time you show your employees that you’re thankful for them.

It’s no secret that both you and your employees are spending most waking hours at work. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM®), the length of the average work-week External Site for a full-time employee is 47 hours.

When employees are spending this much time at work, it's crucial for your workplace to make sure they feel a sense of belonging, purpose and feel appreciated for their contributions. Currently, this isn't the case. According to, 2 out of 3 employees would quit if they felt they weren’t receiving enough appreciation or recognition. External Site

Among millennials, the number of employees who’d leave if they felt unappreciated or undervalued jumps to 76 percent. Millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce in 2020 and have a vastly unique set of characteristics and needs compared to prior generations.

Employee turnover is expensive, being thankful is free

With generational differences, shifts in leadership and shake-ups to company culture, showing your employees you’re thankful for them through the good and bad can be a difficult task to navigate.

To paint the picture, let’s say an employee is planning to leave the company. This employee has dedicated long days, nights and weekends to always get the job done — they go above and beyond for the work and the company. However, this employee didn’t feel appreciated or recognized for their hard work.

Lack of appreciation and recognition comes at a price tag for employers. For an employee earning a median salary of $45,000 to leave, it costs an employer $15,000 to hire someone new. This cost could be prevented if employers showed recognition and appreciation for the work employees do. Bonus: It's completely free of charge.

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The negative impact of an employee not feeling appreciated

53 percent of the American workforce is unhappy.

In 2017, American workers forfeited nearly 50 percent of their paid vacation.

Recognition is the #1 reason inspiring employees to produce great work.

79 percent of employees leave their job because they don't feel appreciated.


Three simple ways you can start showing your employees appreciation and recognition today

While it can seem difficult — even daunting — to know the perfect formula to show your employees that you’re thankful, it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider these three ways to show your employees thankfulness — we promise, your employees will appreciate you extending gratitude for their work.

  1. Hand-written notes.

    We live in an age where most people would rather send a text than pick up the phone, or write an email instead of face-to-face chat. One way a company can set themselves apart External Site? Crafting a simple, thoughtful thank you note. Length doesn't matter, just be generous, specific, prompt, succinct and personal like the example below.
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    Alexa, Fantastic job presenting your project plan recommendations to the sales staff yesterday. I admire your ability to persuade and inform people by showcasing your passions for all that you do. Keep knocking it out of the park. Here's to a successful project!

  2. Put rewards to work.

    It may seem like a such a millennial thing to do — especially since the cliche is that growing up, every millennial who participated in a sport received a trophy. But, it’s all about creating a better idea of when rewards are deserved. For example, after each quarter, you can treat your team to lunch, happy hour or a few hours away from the office for team-bonding activities. Meaningful rewards based on your employee population and organization size can go a long way in boosting morale and re-energizing your employees to stay engaged in the work they do.
  3. Put your needs first (and empower them to do the same).

    Long gone are the days where workers had a solid start and stop time at work. Now, employees are glorifying their 40-plus-hour work weeks. Your employees should never feel like they can’t take a sick day, use vacation time, or take a lunch break. Lead by example and show you care about your well-being, and your employees will follow suit.

"Well-being support will continue to be important to organizations as it is mission critical to their ongoing success,” says Julie Enga, employer health and well-being consultant at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “In fact, 74 percent of employees say well-being support makes them feel more appreciated.”

Demonstrate your appreciation: Invest in your employees well-being

The proof is in the numbers — making the investment in a holistic wellness program for your workplace can contribute to:

  • 41 percent lower health-related costs compared to employees who are struggling.
  • 22 percent more agility and resilience among your employees.
  • Employees being three times more likely to go the extra mile when employers care about their six elements of well-being.

At Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we know your business, and we have the insights and data on your employees that you may not have in-house. We can serve as an extension of your workforce and provide expertise in creating engaging solutions to meet the unique needs of your organization.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at Send Email.