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6 Ways to Show Your Employees Your Appreciation



If you’re a pet business owner that’s struggling to hire and retain the people you need, your “dream team” might actually seem like a fantasy. The truth is, there are only two things standing between your dream team and your real team: culture and communication. 

There are several ways to identify a culture and communication problem, and they might include: 


  • Your employees are disgruntled
  • Your team is disengaged
  • Your people aren’t communicating
  • Your managers are overwhelmed
  • You have trouble hiring and keeping employees 

How do you solve a culture and communication problem? 

It all boils down to employee appreciation. 

Here are six tips for business owners looking to transform culture and communication problems into the foundation that will attract and keep the team of their dreams: 

1. Empower your employees with clear, consistent expectations.

Imagine sitting down to build a new piece of furniture only to find that the instructions are completely useless. Some steps are missing, some are outdated and it keeps referring you to other instruction manuals. Maybe you persevere and build it anyway. It’s possible, but probably not. Chances are, you’ll return the item and never look back.

When you give team members a job to do without providing clear, consistent instructions, you are opening a door to employee dissatisfaction. 

Show love to your employees by setting them up for success. Create ordered task lists, write clear, accessible standard operating procedures, use to-do list apps and establish a process for finding assistance.

2. Check in and connect. 

We all want to be valued and understood. A simple “How are you doing?” goes a lot further than you’d think. But of course, it’s never so simple. 

Check in and connect with your team on a big scale with a quarterly employee satisfaction survey. Once your results come in, take the time to review them. Let your team know you reviewed them. Then—and this is really important—do something about it. 

There will always be a few outliers, but if a lot of good employees are frustrated about the same thing, you have an opportunity to fix your company culture.

3. Pay attention to where your employees excel.

We can all remember working at a job that felt like a dead end. Are you still with that company? Likely, the answer is no.

People stay when they feel valued and fulfilled. If you want to keep your dream team, make sure they feel their potential is recognized at work. 

Take notice of the unique ways in which each employee excels. The employee who writes amazing emails might enjoy writing your newsletter. The person who gets the job done right every time might like to become a trainer. Have an artsy type? See if they want to help with your social media. What about a numbers guy? Ask them to build out new spreadsheet trackers.

Find out your team members’ talents and passions; put them to use, and they will feel valued and fulfilled when they come to work. 

4. Tell a story that gets people excited.

This step requires getting clear on your brand’s message. You have to know who you serve, what need you fill, where you’re going to take your clients and how you’re going to get them there.

Once you have that information, you can use it to tell a real page-turner of a story: one with adventure, suspense, battles against evil and a client who wins the day.

Once you have your story, invite your team members into it. After all, the client can’t win the day without their help. 

When your people are involved in a story they believe in, they will stick with you, no matter what new offer might come along. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this, I highly recommend Donald Miller’s 2017 book, “Building a Story Brand.”

5. Give employees the opportunity to grow with your company.

This is the only step out of the six that costs any money at all, but it is also a crucial step. Your business cannot grow without the help of your loyal team members.

When growth happens, employees take notice and expect that their benefits will grow with your business. When this doesn’t happen, they become disgruntled—fast. 
Make it a habit to adjust hourly rates, salaries, titles and benefits packages as you reach new profit targets. Do so mindfully in ways that protect your bottom line, but do make sure you do it. Your company culture will thank you.

6. Strive to show up as your best self.

Here’s the deal. You can do every single item on this list except this one, but if you show up to work stressed out every day, your company culture will suffer.
You are the key to the kind of employee appreciation that transforms businesses. When you take care of your own health and well-being, you show up for your brand as the kind of boss your team deserves.

So here’s your homework. For business-changing employee appreciation, find ways to set clear expectations, connect with your employees, pay attention, tell a story, grow your benefits with your brand and take care of yourself.

Your dream team will be your real team in no time. 

Liz Illg is a Phoenix-based entrepreneur and business consultant who operates on the core belief that you have a message worth sharing with the world. Illg is the owner and CEO of Puff & Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting. Building five brick-and-mortar locations in Phoenix has taught her exactly what it takes to get a vision out there and keep the momentum going. At Liz Illg Consulting, Illg empowers business owners with the clear, compelling internal and external messaging they need to get to the next level. From the systems and processes that keep your brand running to the story your clients hear about your brand, Illg is passionate about translating your vision into a message that works.Contact her at 602-708-3270, liz@lizillg.com or lizillg.com.

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